Ahn Trio

A contemporary take on the piano trio


AHN TRIO's TOP TEN MOST ASKED QUESTIONS answered from the past...

Q: How do you plan on making classical music more mainstream?

By remembering that it always has been mainstream.  By remembering that Mozart was the Justin Timberlake of his time.  Many classical music composers were so ahead of their time.  For example, Debussy didn't understand Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" at its premiere performance.  That once "Sarabande" was banned because it was considered too sensual and erotic.  We like classical music for its constant yearning for something newer, something more innovative, something more modern while we also love the wide range of its influences that are evident in its past literature.  We should celebrate all aspects of classical music and not be afraid to break out of a box, because that was never part of what classical music is about.

Q: How would you like listeners to classify your music?

We don't want anyone to classify our music.  We would rather they simply love our music for what it is.  Trying to define modern classical music is like trying to define modern art.

Q: What led you all down a musical path?

Lucia saw a piano in the kindergarten and begged our mother for a year if she could get piano lessons to learn to play the piano.  Once she started Angella and Maria also wanted to learn to play an instrument, but not the same.

Q. Did you dream of becoming a Trio?

While we were all at Juilliard, we never imagined becoming the "Ahn Trio." You never dream of working with your sisters your whole life!  We always thought we may end up in three different continents doing three very different things musically,  now we're only able to do that for vacations, sometimes!  Because we tour all year together, we often joke that we're not keen on sharing anything with eachother except our music, our mother, stage and food.

Q: Were your parents musicians?

We don’t come from a family of musicians, but our parents were very much interested in the arts and took us to many concerts, exhibits and dance concerts.  Our mother is a writer and our father is a businessman.

Q: Who were some of your influences growing up?

One always admires one's parents.  Ours lived through a war and its aftermath, knocked the dust off, stood up tall, and became successful people.  Our mother in particular forged new pathways and opportunities for women in South Korea, which took a great deal of courage and self-esteem.  Some others:
Maria: Jacqueline du Pre and Rostropovich's recordings and Myung Wha Chung, Yo Yo Ma, David Bowie, Modonna, Ryuichi Sakamoto. 
Angella says that as a little girl, her personal musical hero was Kyung-Wha Chung and also David Oistrakh, Michael Rabin, Yehudi Menuhin, Stephane Grappelli. 
Lucia: Rubinstein, Argerich, Glenn Gould, Radu Lupu and Keith Jarrett

Q: Explain your album, "Lullaby For My Favorite Insomniac" on SONY:

"lullabies fit for 21st Century insomniacs."

Every century has its own distinctive style of classical music, and our album reflects classical music in the 21st Century which, of course, is influenced by all different types of music in this modern era. We live in New York City and can't help but be inspired by all the exciting new music and art around us. Incorporating these elements feels like an entirely organic progression to us. We don't purposely set out to be rebellious, musically.

Lullabies are traditionally very simple and beautiful melodies that are small yet powerful in their emotional content.  A mother's love translated in a lullaby-her love for a child is incomparable.  In every culture this element is the same. We started by choosing lullaby-worthy material and then did "modern classical" treatments of them which for us meant creating something edgy but at the same time minimalistic since lullabies should always be simple.  "Primarily our ingredients were our acoustic instruments with some very, very subtle electronica elements and a few non-classical singers."
Lullaby for my Favorite Insomniac is "a reflective yet impulsive album", just a concept we wanted to explore, and it is very personal because it is the first album where we were involved in the whole production.

Q: Define each other in two words:

Pianist Lucia :  true bohemian
Violinist Angella :  charming spokesperson
Cellist Maria :  quintessential artist

Q. Do you fight?


Q. Who wins?

We take turns.  Each of us has time periods where one rules the other two and our dynamics constantly change in the group which makes it interesting.

Q. Favorite place where you have performed?

Hm, that's like asking us what would be our favorite dish in Korean food, it changes all the time. Too many to choose from,..Beijing, Istanbul, The White House, TED Women, Seoul, Prague, Carribbean Islands, Mexico, Sweden, Hawaii, Italy...we love them all.  Our tour has taken us to places like a little city in Southern Turkey where Mark Antony met Cleopatra and fell in love.  It is pretty special, although, If the audience is great, it could be anywhere and we have a great experience.

Can't live and play without: an occasional reminder of a quote fancied by Cocteau, "Angels fly because they take themselves lightly," which he borrowed from Chesterton.