The Jacques Thibaud String Trio
March 26, 2000 Program
Violinist Jacques Thibaud (1880-1953) studied at the Paris Conservatoire from the precocious age of 13, graduating with a first prize in 1896. He began his career as a soloist, touring widely in Europe and the United States in the early 1900s, but he is most known for his trio playing with cellist Pablo Casals (1876-1973) and pianist Alfred Corto (1877-1962). The trio, formed in 1905, immediately became one of the premiere chamber ensembles and many of their recordings have become grammaphone classics. Thibaud continued to perform even into his seventies, and died in an airplane crash on his way to a concert in 1953.
Ernö Dohnányi (1877-1960) is considered to be one of the main forces in 20th century Hungarian music. Born in Pozsony (now Bratislava), he was educated at the Budapest Academy along with his childhood friend, Bela Barók. Dohnányi was renowned as a pianist, and his first major work, The Piano Quintet in C minor, had its premiere in Vienna under Johannes Brahms, and shortly thereafter he was acclaimed to be the greatest Hungarian pianist since Liszt. After a 10-year hiatus teaching in Berlin, Dohnányi returned to Budapest with the goal of raising his country's musical tastes. He was extremely active - he performed more than120 concerts in Budapest alone in the years 1919-21 - and served 25 years as the chief conductor of the Philharmonic Society. He resigned his post as head of the Budapest Academy in 1941, refusing to follow anti-Jewish legislation, and spent the war years in Vienna. He eventually emigrated to the United States and settled in Tallahassee in 1949, where he became pianist and composer-in-residence at Florida State University. He died in New York in 1960. His own compositions drew upon both classical and Romantic sources, and are characterized by a vivacious lyricism and a touch of humor. His works for chamber ensembles, including the Serenade in C played by the Jacques Thibaud String Trio on this week's program, are particularly well-regarded.