Interview With Nikolaus Resa of Berlin Piano Trio

Chios Music Festival was inaugurated in Summer 2017 in Chios island and every year is making an active comeback with a diverse programme and new collaborations. The artistic direction of the festival bares the signature of Olga Holdorff Myriangou and Eleftherios Veniadis.

The Winter Edition of Chios Music Festival will take place from 16-18 February 2023 and will host the Berlin Piano Trio.

The Berlin Piano Trio founded in 2004 as “Berolina Trio” and established as one of the leading piano trios by its passionate playing and warm sound. Authenticity and true chamber‑musical dialogue touch the listeners emotionally. Numerous international prizes and audience awards demonstrate the ensemble’s unique quality.

The trio consists of pianist Nikolaus Resa, violinist Krzysztof Polonek and cellist Katarzyna Polonek. Besides their chamber music activity, the Berlin Piano Trio’s musicians are academic lecturers, regularly invited to lead masterclasses.

AthiNEA is a communication sponsor of the event and I had the pleasure to talk to pianist Nikolaus Resa about music, Greece, and the way a musical trio manages to work it out.

Nikolaus, do you want to share your little story? How did you meet and how did you decide to play together, 18 years later?

Krzysztof Polonek, our violinist, and I both grew up as children of violists of the Berliner Philharmoniker, so we often met at concerts or the yearly Easter Festival in Salzburg. Also, we visited the same class of music theory as young students in Berlin when we were about twelve years old. When he and Katarzyna asked me to join the trio, I didn’t think twice!

Aside from musical virtuosity, what is the unique characteristic that each one of you brings to the ensemble as a person, even in terms of the everyday process? And to be more specific, is someone the quiet strength? Does someone else make the arrangements for the concerts?

Oh, so many questions! We like to keep our little secrets, as much as we can: Katarzyna Polonek brings a lot of emotion, I do most of the travel organization. And Krzysztof is concertmaster of the Berlin Phil, isn’t that enough?

On what criteria do you choose your repertoire? Do you agree for example about your favorite composer?

The piano trio repertoire is enormous, considering the number of true masterpieces written for the formation. Yes, discussing how to combine them effectively is an important part of our work as an ensemble, but we all agree that they all deserve to be played at some point. Usually, we try to combine works from different periods in one program, or to highlight different ideas from the same period.

Have you visited Greece before as a tourist or in a professional context?

We have never been to Greece as a trio. But we know Athens and some other places from concerts or vacations. However, Visiting Chios will be the first time for all of us!

I assume you have come up with the repertoire for the Chios Music Festival. Will you share it with us?

At the Chios Music Festival, we will play two of these masterpieces: Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio N.1, an early highlight of German Romanticism, and the famous “Dumky” Trio by Antonín Dvořák, which combines alternating slow and fast parts with much melancholy and soul into six very entertaining movements. Of course, we have a few more surprises in store for the audience!

What other genre of music or musician do you listen to as a secret pleasure (maybe rock, maybe Bruce Springsteen, or Arctic Monkeys?) and what instrument do you love besides your own?

I really love listening to Cuban salsa music! The precision of an excellent percussion combo is just fascinating. And besides the piano, I really like the sound of the oboe.

Nikolaus, thank you very much. Looking forward to meeting you in Chios

Thank you very much on behalf of all.


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