The Rady JCC Music 'N' Mavens arts program is thrilled to be featuring one of Canada's celebrated chamber ensembles - the Kang Mercer Park Trio – this Tuesday, February 3rd. Sara Krahn brings us the story.

Having worked together in various formations over the span of seven years, Judy Kang, Rachel Mercer and Angela Park have a natural musical connection on stage and they're excited to share it with a Winnipeg audience. The Trio is performing as a part of the Rady JCC Music 'N' Mavens series, making a special pit stop in Winnipeg in the midst of their Prairie Debut tour.

This pit stop will mark the second time that Rachel Mercer – the trio's cellist – has performed at the Rady Jewish Community Centre. Mercer was here in 2009 as a member of the Aviv String Quartet – a featured ensemble of the Israeli Concert Series put on by Karla Berbrayer (artistic director of Rady JCC Music 'N' Mavens). Mercer sincerely recalls the experience. "We were so well hosted. The people were all very warm – we loved the people. There was so much appreciation from both the organizers and the audience."
When creating a program, the Kang Mercer Park Trio strives to combine both traditional and contemporary classical works, featuring new music alongside fresh interpretations of more established repertoire.

"We look for variety when putting together a program, specifically choosing composers we are drawn to at the moment," says Mercer. "In our performances we strive to demonstrate that contemporary classical music can be anything – there is no single way of interpreting classical music."
Tuesday's program features Felix Mendelssohn's emotionally charged Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, a showy Passacaglia by Norwegian composer Johan Halvorsen, and a Sonata for Cello and Piano by Canada's own William Rowson (from Saskatoon). Mercer is partial to Rowson's music, describing it as "evocative, truthful and romantic."

For Kang, Mercer and Park, a good performance is one that succeeds in breaking down those barriers between the audience and the stage, whether it's through the ensemble's style of performance, or their choice of repertoire. It comes down to "creating those magical moments, in which communication with the audience is seem-less."

The trio significantly values the input of their audience. "It's a new and eye-opening experience with every audience," says Mercer. "Every audience has fresh ears and it's fascinating to hear what they heard – everything has a new interpretation."

The ensemble's approach to touring is full of excitement and optimism. "It's an opportunity to meet new people and see new places, specifically this huge, amazing country. As musicians we live in a little bubble, and a lot of the people we meet on tour have such a refreshing perspective."

This "refreshing perspective" is exactly what the Rady JCC Music 'N' Mavens arts program hopes to ignite in both its patrons and performers.
Catch the performance of the Kang Mercer Park Trio on Tuesday, February 3rd at 2 PM in the Berney Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at the door, $6 for members and $10 for non-members.


Sara Krahn is a freelance contributor to Classic 107. She is also a full time music student at Canadian Mennonite University.