"Truly, this is exquisite music, exquisitely played and exquisitely recorded, and it is definitely recommended to all..."   -Fanfare Magazine

A dazzling, colorful trio of soloists, the members of ENSEMBLE SCHUMANN – Thomas Gallant, Oboe, Steve Larson, Viola, and Sally Pinkas, Piano, present works by their name-sake Robert Schumann, as well as by Brahms, Saint-Saëns, Loeffler, Poulenc, Shostakovich and others. Gallant, Larson and Pinkas have each performed at notable venues, including Lincoln Center, the Frick Collection and Carnegie Hall in New York City, Jordan Hall in Boston, Wigmore Hall in London, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the festivals at Tanglewood, Ravinia, Lucerne, Spoleto and Mostly Mozart. Performing together since 2005, Ensemble Schumann has been featured at the prestigious Da Camera Series in Los Angeles, at the Clark Art Museum in Massachusetts and on Live From Fraser on WGBH- Radio in Boston.

​Recent seasons have included performances for the Stockton Friends of Music in California, Mount Vernon Museum of Art and Principia College in Illinois, Cornell College in Iowa, Auburn Chamber Music Society in Alabama, Washington University Chamber Series in St. Louis, Young Auditorium in Whitewater, Wisconsin, and Strathmore Hall in Maryland, Big Arts on Sanibel Island, The Forum in St. Thomas, and appearances in Iowa, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Georgia.

Ensemble Schumann's recordings on the MSR Classics label have received high praise in such publications as Gramophone, Fanfare, and Audiophile Audition. 

Short Bio Thomas Gallant

Thomas Gallant is a First Prize Winner of the Concert Artists Guild International New York Competition and one of very few musicians ever to win the competition as an oboe soloist.  His performances have taken him to David Geffen Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Morgan Library and the Frick Collection in New York City, to Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, to the Spoleto Festival in Italy, and to the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center.  He has appeared as guest soloist with the Kronos Quartet at the Ravinia Festival and has collaborated with flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal, with Cuarteto Casals from Spain, the Colorado, Tesla, Calder and Lark Quartets, Cuarteto Latinoamericano and with the Adaskin String Trio.  Recent and upcoming performances include a concert of solo and chamber music works for the oboe at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC,  tours across the United States as soloist with Camerata Bariloche from Argentina and the String Orchestra of New York City performing concerti by J. S. Bach and Vaughan-Williams as well as tours of Europe and China.

Thomas Gallant is dedicated to performing neglected and contemporary works for the oboe and has given the New York premieres of works for oboe and strings by Berio and Penderecki as well as the Washington, DC premiere of Elliott Carter’s Quartet for oboe and strings. He is a member of the trio Ensemble Schumann and the Artistic Director of the chamber music group Frisson.  He lives in New York City.

Long Bio Thomas Gallant

Considered by many to be the most difficult of all the musical instruments, the oboe is often called the “ill wind that no one blows good.”   Oboist Thomas Gallant is one of the world’s few virtuoso solo performers on this instrument and he has been praised by The New Yorker magazine as “a player who unites technical mastery with intentness, charm and wit.”

Thomas Gallant is a First Prize Winner of the Concert Artists Guild International New York Competition and one of very few musicians ever to win this competition as an oboe soloist. His solo and chamber music performances have taken him to David Geffen Hall, Weill Recital Hall and the Frick Collection in New York City, to Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, to the Spoleto Festival in Italy, and to the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center.  He has appeared as guest soloist with the Kronos Quartet at the Ravinia Festival and has collaborated with flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal, with Cuarteto Casals from Spain, the Colorado, Calder, Tesla and Lark Quartets, Cuarteto Latinoamericano and with the Adaskin String Trio.  Notable performances include a concert of solo and chamber music works for the oboe at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and tours across the United States as soloist with Camerata Bariloche from Argentina and the String Orchestra of New York City performing concerti by Bach and Vaughan-Williams. Upcoming concerts include tours of China and Europe.  Gallant is dedicated to performing neglected and contemporary works for the oboe and has given the New York premieres of works for oboe and strings by Berio, Penderecki and Holst as well as the Washington, DC premiere of Elliot Carter’s Quartet for oboe and strings.  He is a member of the trio Ensemble Schumann and Artistic Director of the chamber music group Frisson based in New York City.  

Thomas Gallant was born into a large working class family to a Portuguese mother and French father outside of Boston.  When he first brought home an oboe from the local band program his family was rather disappointed as they did not know what an oboe was and asked him to “go back to school and return it for an instrument like all the other kids play such as the trumpet or clarinet”. After initial successes at a young age he stopped performing for many years and only in recent years has he returned to performing “the ill wind that no one blows good”.   Thomas Gallant lives in New York City.

Thomas Gallant

Photo: Travis Curry

Thomas Gallant

Photo: Travis Curry

Short Bio Steve Larson

Violist Steve Larson’s playing has been described as "supercharged, clear-headed, yet soulful" (Boston Globe). He has performed with the Adaskin String Trio since 1994, and with the oboe, viola & piano trio, Ensemble Schumann, since 2005. The Adaskin’s complete String Trios of Beethoven was hailed by Gramophone as “riveting” and “intoxicating,” while Ensemble Schumann’s Romantic Trios was described by Fanfare Magazine as making “some of the most blissful sounds this side of nirvana…exquisite music, exquisitely played.” 

Larson and his wife, violinist Annie Trépanier, perform together as a duo and as members of Connecticut-based Cuatro Puntos Ensemble, renowned for its dynamic playing and for using music as a stimulus for social change. Cuatro Puntos’ activities have included partnerships with local arts and social organizations, concerts in South America and Europe, and exciting collaborations with artists and organizations from Turkey, Afghanistan, Iraq, the UK, and India.

Larson is a former member of the Alcan Quartet and Avery Ensemble, and has performed as a guest with groups such as the Emerson Quartet and the Lions Gate Trio.  Originally from Saskatchewan, he won second prize and the special award for his performance of the commissioned work at the 1997 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition in the UK. He is Principal Viola at the Wintergreen Festival in Virginia, and is a Senior Artist Teacher at The Hartt School (University of Hartford), where he has served as Chair for Strings and Chair of Chamber Music. Visit www.violinviolaetc.com for more info.

Long Bio Steve Larson 

Steve Larson's performances have been described as “electrifying” (Journal of the American Viola Society), while the Montreal Gazette has praised his "singing tone, eloquent phrasing, expressive dynamics and flawless intonation," and the Boston Globe called his playing "supercharged, clear-headed, yet soulful." He is a Senior Artist Teacher at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford, where he has taught since 1998 and has served both as Chair for Strings and Chair of Chamber Music.

Larson has performed extensively as the violist of the Adaskin String Trio since 1994, and with the oboe, viola & piano trio, Ensemble Schumann, since 2005. The Adaskin’s landmark recording of the complete String Trios of Beethoven for Musica Omnia was hailed by Gramophone as “riveting” and “intoxicating”, while their MSR Classics release of the two piano quartets by Gabriel Faure with pianist Sally Pinkas was enthusiastically welcomed as “splendid,” “worth celebrating” and “ferociously gorgeous.” Ensemble Schumann’s Romantic Trios recording (also on MSR Classics) was described by Fanfare Magazine as making “some of the most blissful sounds this side of nirvana. Truly, this is exquisite music, exquisitely played.” 

In addition, Larson and his wife, violinist Annie Trépanier, perform together as a duo, at the Wintergreen Festival & Academy in Virginia (where Larson serves as Principal Viola and Chair of Viola), and as members of Cuatro Puntos Ensemble, a group renowned for its dynamic performances & recordings as well as its dedication to using music as a stimulus for social change & cultural awareness. Cuatro Puntos’ activities have included partnerships with local arts and social organizations, concerts in South America, England, & Germany, and exciting collaborations with artists and organizations from the US, Turkey, Afghanistan, Iraq, the United Kingdom, India, & South Africa. Previously Larson & Trépanier also played together as members of Avery Ensemble for twenty years, presenting a regular concert series and releasing several critically acclaimed recordings.

Larson has performed as a guest with groups such as the Emerson Quartet and the Lions Gate Trio, is a former member of the Alcan String Quartet and has performed with orchestras such as the Montreal Symphony and National Arts Center Orchestra. Originally from Regina, Saskatchewan (Canada), Larson holds degrees from McGill University, l’Université de Montréal and The Hartt School. At the 1997 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition in the United Kingdom he won second prize and received the special award for his performance of the commissioned work. He studied violin with Ernest Kassian, Elman Lowe, Howard Leyton-Brown, and Mauricio Fuks, viola with Jutta Puchhammer and Steve Tenenbom, and chamber music with members of the Emerson and Orford String Quartets. He plays an exceptional 17-3/8 inch viola made by Helmuth Keller in 1981. Visit www.violinviolaetc.com for more information.

 

Steve Larson

Photo: Susan Wilson

Steve Larson

Photo: Susan Wilson

Short Bio Sally Pinkas 

Following her London debut at Wigmore Hall, Israeli-born pianist Sally Pinkas has garnered universal acclaim as soloist and chamber musician. Among highlights are performances with the Boston Pops, the Aspen Philharmonia, New York's Jupiter Symphony, and the festivals at Marlboro, Aspen, Rockport, Pontlevoy (France), Havana (Cuba) and HCMC Conservatory (Vietnam). In 2019 she made her solo debut with the Bandung Symphony in Indonesia, and appeared in recitals in Spain and Brazil. Pinkas tours regularly as member of the Hirsch-Pinkas Duo (with her husband pianist Evan Hirsch) and Ensemble Schumann, and with the Adaskin String Trio. Other recent collaborators include the Apple Hill String Quartet, Cuarteto Latinoamericano and the UK’s Villiers Quartet.     

Praised for her radiant tone and driving energy, Pinkas' extensive discography includes music by Mozart, Schumann, Fauré, Debussy, Gaubert, Martinů, Shapiro, Pinkham and Wolff for the MSR, Centaur, Naxos, Toccata Classics and Mode labels. Her most recent CD release of Sonatas by Shostakovich and Bridge was hailed as “A mandatory purchase for all pianophiles: two major works, in performances of utter power… ideal melding of strength and emotional pliancy…” by Fanfare Magazine. She holds performance degrees from Indiana University and the New England Conservatory of Music, and a Ph.D. in Composition from Brandeis University. Pianist-in-residence at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College, she is Professor of Music at Dartmouth's Music Department.

Long Bio Sally Pinkas

Following her London debut at Wigmore Hall, Israeli-born pianist Sally Pinkas has garnered universal acclaim as soloist and chamber musician.  Among highlights are performances with the Boston Pops, the Aspen Philharmonia, New York's Jupiter Symphony, and the festivals at Marlboro, Aspen, Rockport, Pontlevoy (France), Havana (Cuba) and HCMC Conservatory (Vietnam). From a first-ever performance of Beethoven's ‘Emperor’ Concerto in Indonesia, to premieres of George Rochberg's monumental ‘Circles of Fire’ for two pianos in Russia and Nigeria, and a revival of rarely-heard 19th-century Filipino Salon Music in its birth city Manila, Pinkas commands an unusually large repertoire, which she shares enthusiastically with young pianists through masterclasses and workshops.

Praised for her radiant tone and driving energy, Pinkas' extensive discography includes music by Mozart, Schumann, Fauré, Debussy, Gaubert, Martinů, Shapiro, Pinkham and Wolff for the MSR, Centaur, Naxos, Toccata Classics and Mode labels. Her 2021 CD release of the Piano Sonatas by Shostakovich and Bridge (her so-called ‘Pandemic Project’) was recently hailed by Fanfare Magazine as “A mandatory purchase for all pianophiles: two major works, in performances of utter power… ideal melding of strength and emotional pliancy…”.

Pinkas tours regularly as member of the Hirsch-Pinkas Duo (with her husband pianist Evan Hirsch) and Ensemble Schumann, and with the Adaskin String Trio. Other frequent collaborators include the Apple Hill String Quartet, Cuarteto Latinoamericano and the UK’s Villiers Quartet.  Recent pre-pandemic travels took her to Spain, where she made her recital debut in Madrid and Barcelona, and back to Brazil with the Hirsch-Pinkas Duo.  Upcoming plans include tours of China with both Ensemble Schumann and the Hirsch-Pinkas Duo, and a CD release of works by American composer Miguel del Aguila with Cuarteto Latinoamericano.   

Sally’s principal teachers were Russell Sherman, George Sebok, Luise Vosgerchian and Genia Bar-Niv (piano), Sergiu Natra (composition), and Robert Koff (chamber music). She holds performance degrees from Indiana University and the New England Conservatory of Music, and a Ph.D. in Composition from Brandeis University. Pianist-in-residence at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College, she is Professor of Music at Dartmouth's Music Department.  She lives in Medford, MA, with her pianist husband, two cats and three pianos, and is an enthusiastic gardener and hiker.

Sally Pinkas

Photo: Susan Wilson

Sally Pinkas

Photo: Susan Wilson