Delphi Trio—violinist Liana Bérubé, cellist Tanya Tomkins, and pianist Allegra Chapman—is known for its riveting, heartfelt performances that offer audiences new and engaging perspectives. With critically-acclaimed careers in diverse musical styles, the three women of Delphi combine their voices to create fresh interpretations of beloved classics, champion new and forgotten composers, and curate wide-ranging thematic programs. Delphi Trio is committed to presenting works by female composers alongside the classic piano trio repertoire. In their music-making, the Trio priotizies vulnerability and risk-taking, creating performances that are infused with spontaneity, humor, and joy.
Since its inception in 2010, Delphi Trio has performed across the United States, Canada, and Europe. The Trio has been in residence at Old First Concerts in California (2011-12), the Dakota Sky International Piano Festival in South Dakota (2011-13), Avaloch Farm in New Hampshire (2016, 2018), and the Banff Centre in Canada (2012). Concerts of note include Chamber Music Ashland, the Morrison Artists Series, the Orlando Festival in the Netherlands, Festival Terra Sem Sombras in Portugal, Dumbarton Concerts, Harry Jacobs Chamber Music Society, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Oakland Symphony, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, and others. They have premiered works by William Bolcom (Piano Trio, 2014), Sahba Aminikia (Shab o Meh, 2014; Deltangi-ha, 2012), Danny Clay (Circle Dash, 2020), and Patrick Castillo (ephemera, 2020). The Trio will be premiering a new triple concerto by Clarice Assad in 2022.
The Delphi Trio is devoted to mentoring the next generation of musicians. In addition to masterclasses and chamber music coaching, the trio offers school audiences presentations that encourage students to access their own emotional intelligence and awareness through music. Delphi enjoys teaching masterclasses as a group and has recently given classes at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Pre-College as well as St. Mary’s College of California. The Trio members are on faculty at the Crowden Center for Music in the Community, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Pre-College Division, St. Mary’s College of California, and Sonoma State University.
The Trio’s 2018 album, Triptych, is available on the MSR Classics label. Violinist Liana Bérubé, cellist Tanya Tomkins, and pianist Allegra Chapman are based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Delphi Trio is represented worldwide by Ariel Artists (www.arielartists.com).
Lili Boulanger – D’un Matin de Printemps
Fanny Hensel (née Mendelssohn) – Trio in D minor, Op. 11
Gabriela Frank – Four Folk Songs
- Intermission -
Clara Schumann – Trio in G minor, Op. 17
For centuries, women composers faced not only a remarkable lack of societal and personal support, but outright discouragement; even women who were raised with a high level of musical education were often forbidden from continuing to publish their works once grown and married. This program showcases some revelatory music of two of the most well-known women composers of the Romantic era, Fanny Hensel (née Mendelssohn) and Clara Schumann who persevered and even flourished against all odds. The expressive depth of Lili Boulanger and the lively and colorful music of noted contemporary composer Gabriela Frank bring us through the 20th century to the present, celebrating the amazing progress and freedom women now enjoy.
Robertsbridge Codex – Estampie
Patrick Castillo – ephemera
Haydn – Piano Trio in E Major Trio, Hob. XV:28
- Intermission -
Beethoven – Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 97, “Archduke”
As we emerge from a global pandemic, we find ourselves in a liminal time, between things. This program explores music’s power to make sense of change while also embodying it. We begin with the earliest surviving piece written for keyboard—an estampie from the Robertsbridge Codex. The medieval tones bring us straight into brilliant composer Patrick Castillo’s ephemera, commissioned for Delphi during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 California wildfires. After establishing these two opposite ends of musical history, we discover a buoyant, exploratory work from Haydn, the 18th-century innovator who turned the piano trio into a substantial genre. Finally, Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio brings us into a new musical era, much as it ushered in a new period of life for Beethoven after the loss of his hearing—it was the final piece that he performed in public. In his break-through exploration of the piano trio genre and the beginnings of his later style, Beethoven takes us through a range of states from warm nobility to slapstick humor, existential struggle to eternal peace, ultimately ending in a joyous celebration of life.
J.S. Bach – Trio Sonata in E minor, BWV 528
Clarke – Piano Trio
- Intermission -
Ravel – Piano Trio in A minor
Who wins competitions and why? How do composers’ reputations change over time? So many of the composers we think of today as wildly successful faced tremendous failure during their lifetimes. J.S. Bach was rejected from multiple positions and struggled to free himself from smothering job contracts, in one case resulting in his imprisonment. At the time of his death, his music was considered old-fashioned. Ravel entered the prestigious Prix de Rome competition over five consecutive years, but never won. His final loss resulted in a public scandal and investigation. British-born composer Rebecca Clarke contended with misogyny and competition losses, yet managed to achieve significant recognition at the height of her career, becoming relatively unknown only later in life. She is just now taking her rightful place among history’s great composers. This program begins with an example of the earliest “piano trio”- the Trio Sonata in E minor, originally written for organ, by J.S. Bach. Clarke’s deeply moving 1921 trio and Ravel’s thrilling 1914 trio are inspired by an earlier age, but reflect the tumult, dreams, and hopes of the early 20th century. Today these three winning works belie the struggles these composers faced in their careers.
Khachaturian – Berceuse
Tailleferre – Piano Trio
Reena Esmail – Saans (Breath)
- Intermission -
Tchaikovsky – Piano Trio in A minor, Op. 50
Music connects us in so many ways - to home, to each other, to our communities. In this program, three composers draw us briefly into their captivating worlds before we enter the epic journey of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio. Aram Khachaturian’s Berceuse rocks us in a lullaby that invokes melodies from the composer’s Armenian homeland while embracing the musical traditions of his adopted country, Russia; Germaine Tailleferre’s Piano Trio grabs us with soaring melodies and imaginative colors, reflecting her life in the 1917 French society of musical salons; written as a wedding present for her close friend, Reena Esmail’s romantic Saans (Breath) melds elements of North Indian classical music with the rich sonorities of the piano trio. Finally, inspired by his own personal relationships - a dear friend’s death and the encouragement of an enigmatic patron upon whom he was so dependent - Tchaikovsky’s monumental Piano Trio connects us with our own humanity as only music can do.
Duration: 45 minutes
An interactive, family-friendly performance for all ages, this program combines musical performance with visual art in a game-like format that allows viewers to join in on the music making.
Using graphic notation, a unique way of writing sounds in the form of artistic images, Circle Dash consists of a series of animated “video scores” conceived by composer and educator Danny Clay that lead participants on a journey through a variety of musical landscapes.
Audience members are invited to perform along with Delphi Trio using objects not traditionally considered instruments - no musical experience necessary! Along the way, audience members will learn about the basic building blocks of musical composition and explore the process of interpreting and performing music in a hands-on, interactive way. Presentations ofCircle Dash can be done in person or online.
Circle Dash is a Delphi commission and an ongoing project.Danny Clay, Composer
Danny Clay is a composer and teaching artist whose work is deeply rooted in curiosity, collaboration, and the sheer joy of making things with people of all ages and levels of artistic experience.
Working closely with artists, students, and community members alike, he builds worlds of inquiry, play, and perpetual discovery that integrate elements of sound, movement, theater, and visual design. Children's games, speculative systems, cognitive puzzles, invented notation, found objects, imaginary archives, repurposed media, micro-improvisations, and happy accidents all make frequent appearances in his projects.
Recent collaborators include Kronos Quartet, Eighth Blackbird, Third Coast Percussion, Volti, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, Wu Man, Sarah Cahill, Phyllis Chen, and printmaker Jon Fischer. His work has been performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (SFCMP), Ensemble Dal Niente, and has been presented by the deYoung Museum, San Francisco Performances, the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts at the Minnesota Street Project, the Grey Area Foundation for the Arts, the Meaney Center for the Arts in Seattle, and university programs throughout the United States. Learn more about Danny at www.dclaymusic.com.
Delphi Trio is passionate about sharing knowledge and educating young artists. All three members of the Trio are devoted teaching artists who feel strongly about the importance of sharing and passing on knowledge to the next generation. In this offering, the Trio works together to coach chamber music, or separately to coach individual instrumentalists on solo or sonata repertoire. The Trio is also available to offer panel discussions and lectures on a variety of topics, including career building, historical performance practice, arts administration, ensemble dynamics, practice psychology, and more.
The members of Delphi Trio love connecting with their audiences on and off the concert stage. In the Q&A and Post-Concert Chat options, the Trio will collaborate with the presenting host to facilitate a formal dialogue between the Trio and the audience. This conversation may consist of the Trio answering audience members’ questions, or delving into discussion topics such as the Trio’s musical upbringings, ideas about particular works, instruments, or anything else that might be of interest. In the Meet & Greet option, the Trio will attend an informal post-concert reception where they can meet and talk with audience members directly. The availability of this option is contingent on appropriate mask policies being enforced.