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Innovative Ahn Trio Presents New Classical Style at Davidson

By Mario Prohasky '05

September 14, 2001
Contact: Bill Giduz 704/894-2244 or bigiduz@davidson.edu

Ahn Trio
The Ahn Trio

The Ahn Trio--three sisters who present classical music in a new and innovative way--bring their enthusiasm for live performance to Davidson College on Friday, September 21.

Their concert, which kicks off the college's 2001-02 Artists and Concert Series, will begin at at 8 p.m. in Love Auditorium of Chambers Building. Tickets are $10 for students, $20 for senior citizens, and $25 for the general public. For reservations, call 704-894-2135 Monday through Friday 2-5 p.m.

The three sisters, Lucia, Maria and Angella, were born in Seoul, South Korea. Maria and Lucia, who are twins, are two years older than Angella. The three of them journeyed together through the realms of music, developing their talents in early childhood. They all learned how to play the piano at the age of seven, and Lucia had mastered that instrument by age 13. Her sisters began playing different instruments. Maria studied the cello, and Angella the violin.

The three sisters became the Ahn Trio, and made their first public ensemble appearance on Korean television in 1979. They moved to the United States in 1981, and enrolled at The Juilliard School. They initially came to the attention of American audiences in a 1987 Time magazine story about "Asian American Whiz Kids." In addition, a performance at the Seoul Olympics gave a tremendous boost to their careers. The trio then won top prizes at the 1992 Alliance Northeast Competition for Chamber Ensembles, and at the Coleman Chamber Competition. They were also featured in media such as Vogue, GQ, Town and Country, The New York Times, and PBS.

The Ahn sisters' first recording was of pieces by Ravel and Villa-Lobos, and became a huge success. They then signed a record deal with EMI, and released a recording of trios by Suk, Dvorak, and Shostakovich. That recording won Germany's prestigious ECHO Award.

Their biggest success so far came through an appearance on the tremendously successful Bryan Adams "MTV Unplugged" album in 1997. It went platinum, and brought new audiences to classical music. That project led to the development of "AhnPlugged"--an album which typifies the excitement and energy of the Ahn Trio.

"AhnPlugged" presents classical music in a modern, alternative format. The trio plays music written by today's brightest composers in an amplified format, and explore not only new music, but new ways to hear and experience music.

"AhnPlugged" was presented for the first time in live performance at Columbia University's Miller Theater on Oct. 13, 1998, and has been reprised many times since. The sisters have also incorporated pieces from that album into normal recitals.

"Our main goal is to add people to our audiences, people who normally would not go to classical concerts," Angella Ahn said. "'AhnPlugged'" is absolutely let-go-of-everything and just listen to the music. We don't even have the specific pieces programmed. We just announce them as we go along."

The Davidson College Concert Series was created through an endowment established by First Charter National Bank in honor of the Coltrane family. It is funded by the endowment, the music department, and the College Union. Additional support is provided by the Friends of the Arts at Davidson, and Classical 89.9 WDAV radio is providing media sponsorship.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,600 students. Since its establishment in 1837, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News and World Report magazine. Davidson is currently engaged in "Let Learning Be Cherished," a $250 million campaign in support of student financial assistance, academic resources, and community life.

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