When Trio 180 performs for the Sundays at Three series on Sunday, May 4, at 3 p.m., in Christ Episcopal Church, it should feel at home in such a sacred setting. That's because this chamber music ensemble is in residence at Old First Church in San Francisco.
Formerly known as the New Pacific Trio, Trio 180 actually spends most of its time in a more secular setting, The group is in residence at the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music in Stockton, Ca.
Violinist Ann Miller, cellist Nina Flyer and pianist Sonia Leong spend a lot of time performing and teaching in northern California, which also amounts to the launching pad for their frequent appearances at venues along the West Coast. The group has performed as far south as Guadelajara, Mexico.
As individual performers, their travel schedules take them across the United States and to many other countries. Miller has performed in places as far away as Mongolia and Ukraine. Flyer, who qualifies as a frequent flier owing to her extensive travel overseas, has served as principal cellist with orchestras in Israel, Norway and Iceland. Leong regularly performs in Canada, Europe and Asia.
Their upcoming trip to Columbia features a program ranging from traditional repertory into 20th-century music.
On the program are Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Trio No. 1 in E-flat major, Op. 1; Josef Suk's Elegie for piano, violin and cello, Op. 23; Robert Schumann's Piano Trio in D minor; and Astor Piazzolla's "Spring" from "The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires."
If they seem well-schooled in the history of classical music, it's because their own educational credentials are so extensive.
Miller, who received her B.M. from Rice University and M.M. and D.M.A. from the Juilliard School, joined the University of the Pacific faculty in 2008. Flyer teaches at California State University East Bay School of Music. Leong, whose own education included studying at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, teaches at the University of the Pacific.
Trio 180 is known in particular for its interest in contemporary music.
In their individual careers, Flyer has recorded CDs presenting music composed by Lou Harrison, Shulamit Ran and Allan Crossman; and Leong's former organizational affiliations include performing with Music Now, a new music ensemble in Sacramento.
Collectively, Trio 180 was given a Barlow Grant in 2006 to commission Chen Yi's first piano trio, "Tibetan Tunes."
The group also has commissioned and premiered works including Allan Crossman's "Icarus"; Jorge Liderman's Suite del Sur and "Sidewalk"; Derek Jacoby's Trio No. 2; Francois Rose's "Gently" and "Wild Rose Petals"; and Cindy Cox's "Wave."
And, in the current concert season, Trio 180 is doing a brand-new composition by Robert Greenberg. That commissioning spirit is what helps Trio 180 sound so fresh.
Trio 180 performs Sunday, May 4,at 3 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, 6800 Oakland Mills Road in Columbia. Tickets are $15, free for those under 18 accompanied by a paying adult. Call 443-288-3179 or go to http://www.sundaysatthree.org.