2017 GRAMMY-Nominee for Best Small Ensemble Performance

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Thrilling. The Lincoln Trio communicated the joy of sheer technical ability, along with unanimity of phrasing and beautiful balanced tone . . . they are one of the best trios that I have ever heard.
— Classical Voice of New England



"Also from Cedille is 'Trios from Our Homelands,' a Grammy-nominated collection by the Lincoln Trio of three comparatively little-known 20th-century chamber works representing the countries of origin of the three member musicians. The rhapsodic pull of Rebecca Clarke's 1921 Piano Trio is set off by echoes of Khatchaturian in Arno Babajanian's folk-flavored Piano Trio (1952), and Frank Martin's jaunty 'Trio on Popular Irish Melodies' from 1925. The trio's lively and polished performances should win them many more admirers.” —Chicago Tribune

“The idea for this disc is a nice one: one composer from the homeland of each member of the group. This is a truly internationalist endeavor, and so it there is one piece by an English composer (Clarke—no relation—reflecting cellist David Cunliffe’s Plymouth origins), a Swiss composer (nodding to violinist Desirée Ruhstrat), and an Armenian composer (pianist Marta Aznavoorian)." —Fanfare Magazine

"The performance [of Rebecca Clarke’s Trio] is sensitive to Clarke’s highly imaginative writing, particularly as regards textures. There are big emotions on display here, and they are amply conveyed here, whether by Aznavoorian’s deeply resonant piano sound or the long, impassioned lines of the two string players. Ruhstrat’s upper register evinces a particularly attractive sweetness . . . Hats off to Aznavoorian’s sheer virtuosity, and to the power of her sound (losing not a jot of tone) at the higher dynamic markings." —Fanfare Magazine

" . . . The premiere [of Babadjanian’s Piano Trio] featured the composer at the piano, but what a line-up he was with: David Oistrakh on violin and Sergei Knushevitsky on cello. No pressure for the Lincoln Trio at all, then . . . Ruhstrat’s violin sings beautifully . . . There is huge sensitivity to the interactions between violin and cello here . . . The Lincoln Trio’s performance is a remarkable achievement, and one hopes it will win many friends for this composer." —Fanfare Magazine

"This is a terrific performance [of Frank Martin’s Trio] . . . full of life, and the perfect way to close this simply remarkable disc, that might as well have 'Want List' written all over it." —Fanfare Magazine

"[FOUR STARS.] The Lincoln Trio give shapely and impassioned performances of these three unfamiliar 20th-century chamber works. The Trio in F sharp minor by the Armenian-Soviet composer Arno Babajanian draws on folk styles, but the lyrical mood is close to Rachmaninov. The poetic, song-like violin solo in the slow movement is beautifully captured by violinist Desirée Ruhstrat, with warm support from David Cunliffe (cello) and Marta Aznavoorian (piano). Frank Martin’s Trio on Popular Irish Melodies is alive with rhythmically catchy, jazzy writing. Most elusive is the trio by Rebecca Clarke, a mix of dissonance and passion that seems to exist in a musical world of its own." —The Guardian

"Each [of these pieces] is fascinating in its own right . . . The Lincoln give [Martin’s Trio on Irish Folk Tunes] all the punch and vigour it deserves, but it is the poetry of their playing elsewhere in the program that really makes this disc." —Gramophone

"Both strings have sweet and manicured tone and intonation, yet plenty of fire without harshness in fortissimo passages . . . You're in good hands with these fine musicians." —American Record Guide

"I’m OK with a hint of nationalism every now and again, if it brings us a disc as fervent and imaginative as this new release from the Chicago-based Lincoln Trio. Titled 'Trios From Our Homelands,' it features three relatively little-known piano trios from the 20th century that deserve better acquaintance — and that get fine, fiery readings from these musicians. Pinning the respective nationalities of the composers to the heritage of the ensemble’s three members — violinist Desirée Ruhstrat, cellist David Cunliffe and pianist Marta Aznavoorian — is a useful gimmick. It allows for a potent account of the 1921 Piano Trio by the English composer Rebecca Clarke — marked by impassioned textures and fine-spun phrasing — and the 'Trio on Popular Irish Melodies' by the Swiss master Frank Martin. But perhaps the most striking revelation is the Armenian composer Arno Babadjanian, whose 1952 Piano Trio sounds fluid, inventive and robustly expressive." — Joshua Kosman, The San Francisco Chronicle

“Among the most irresistible chamber releases in aeons, and one that’s had me quietly whooping with delight . . . [The Martin is] funny, life-enhancing and frequently beautiful, given a barn-storming performance. Play the last two minutes at high volume and sensible neighbours will thank you. I love this disc. You will too." —The Arts Desk

“Perhaps the biggest ‘find’ is Rebecca Clarke’s dazzling Piano Trio (1922), a major work by any standard . . . the Lincoln Trio simply plays the bejesus out of it.” —Classics Today


“The playing is sensational.” —Strad Magazine

“The season began with a real sparkler, when the members of the Lincoln Trio showed us why they are among the brightest young stars in the area these days.” —St. Paul Pioneer Press

“Magnificently performed . . . a powerful indication of what the classical-music industry has in store for the future.” —Strings Magazine

“Incisive performances, vividly recorded” —Chicago Tribune

“Masterly finesse.”  —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Interpretive flair . . . a deliciously expansive performance.” —Strad Magazine

“Hidden Gems Of 2011: Great Classical Recordings You May Have Missed. . . [An] intriguing disc, beautifully played.” —The Observer, U.K.

“One of those moments in which you cannot imagine any other musicians take on this work.”  —Q2 Music, "Album of the Week"

“Full of energy, vigor, and excellent timing.” —AllMusic.com

“A memorable recording milestone . . . an alignment of stars.”  —Classical Voice of North Carolina

 “Deserving to be heard again and again.” —Review Audio Audition

“Assertive, imaginative playing with no technical limitations.” —International Record Review

“The Lincoln Trio plays at a level that would have been inconceivable a generation ago.” —Fanfare Magazine

Nominated for a 2017 GRAMMY Award, the Lincoln Trio has become Chicago’s most celebrated chamber ensemble. Praised for their "joy of sheer technical ability, unanimity of phrasing and beautiful blended tone," the trio takes its name from their home in the heartland of the USA. The Trio's polished presentations of well-known chamber works and their ability to forge new paths with contemporary repertoire has led to the group's reputation as a first rate ensemble, drawing an eclectic audience of sophisticated music lovers, young admirers of contemporary programs, and students discovering chamber music for the first time. They were the winners of the 2008 Masterplayers International Competition in Venice, Italy.

Each member is an artist of international renown. Violinist Desirée Ruhstrat has performed throughout the US and Europe, appearing at the White House and performing on a live radio broadcast heard around the world with the Berlin Radio Orchestra; cellist David Cunliffe has performed with the BBC and Royal Scottish orchestras as well as touring as a member of the Balanescu Quartet, and pianist Marta Aznavoorian has appeared with the Chicago Symphony and has performed at the Kennedy Center and the Sydney Opera House.

One of the hottest young trios in the business.
— Fanfare Magazine

Formed in 2003, the Trio has performed throughout the United States, including appearances at the Ravinia Music Festival, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven Chamber Music Series, the Lane Concert Series at the University of Vermont, Central Texas Orchestral Society, Columbus Chamber Music series, and a tour on behalf of the Ravinia Festival celebrating the Lincoln Bicentennial, including a kickoff celebration in Springfield, Illinois with President Obama. In Chicago they are frequent guests of classical radio station WFMT and have been featured on Arts Across Illinois TV, NEIU's Jewel Box Series, the Fazioli Concert Series, Music in the Loft, University of Chicago, Columbia University, Unity Temple and the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series. In 2011 the Trio toured throughout the United States and Germany, and, on behalf of the Ravinia Festival, Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

Champions of new music, the Lincoln Trio has performed numerous compositions written for them, including premieres of seven works by members of the Chicago Composers Consortium. Their CD, Notable Women, features works by Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winning composers Jennifer Higdon, Lera Auerbach, Augusta Read Thomas, Laura Schwendinger and Stacy Garrop for the Cedille label. Their performance of Pierre Jalbert's Piano Trio for Cedille Records was praised by The Strad magazine as "sensational."

A world class chamber group.
— The Whole Note