Maksim Shtrykov, clarinet
Anita Balázs, cello
Misuzu Tanaka, piano
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TRIO CONFERO was founded in 2018 by clarinetist Maksim Shtrykov as a logical continuation of his quest on bringing the superb yet seldom performed chamber music repertoire for clarinet to the larger audience. The musical journey began in 2012 when, together with his partner Japanese pianist Misuzu Tanaka, they formed the Shtrykov-Tanaka Duo and began touring the country garnering an impressive record of instant re-engagements. At this moment the duo is probably the most popular touring clarinet-piano ensemble in the US.
Confero is a Latin verb that means to bring together, unite and contribute, and this is precisely what Trio Confero’s mission statement was set to be when three musicians united in one pursuit to bring together the unjustly rarely performed repertoire for clarinet, cello and piano, arguably, one of the most beautiful chamber music combination there is. The magnificent works written by such giants as Brahms, Beethoven, Bruch, Faure and Glinka truly are a testament to this statement.
The Trio comprises of three exceptionally talented musicians clarinetist Maksim Shtrykov, cellist Anita Balázs and pianist Misuzu Tanaka – prizewinners of many international competition and graduates of world’s most prestigious music academies – The Juilliard School and Yale School of Music.
MAKSIM SHTRYKOV Clarinet: Already an acclaimed artist in his native Belarus, clarinetist Maksim Shtrykov is quickly gaining renown as an artist of profound musical sensibility and a performer of remarkable charisma. Recently hailed by the Lucid Culture for “clarity that’s viscerally breathtaking” and “effortless…quicksilver legato” Maksim continues to win over audiences with his profound musical sensibility and flawless technique. As the recipient of the Artists International New York Debut Award, Mr. Shtrykov presented his solo debut recital at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in April 2007.
Since his orchestra debut recital at age 14, Mr. Shtrykov has appeared as a regular guest soloist with the Belarusian State Symphonic Orchestra and the Belarusian State Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Shtrykov is a first prize winner of the Belarus National Woodwind Competition and a prizewinner of Dymtro Bida International Woodwind Competition in Ukraine. Mr. Shtrykov is also a two-time recipient of the Presidents’ Foundation Award “Young Talents of Belarus.” He has performed recitals and chamber music concerts in such major halls as the Polish Baltic Philharmonic, the Belarusian State Philharmonic, Izumi Hall in Osaka, Miller Theatre at the Columbia University and Baruch Performing Arts Center.
Maksim Shtrykov actively performs both as a recitalist and with various chamber music ensembles. As a founding member of the Chamber Trio “Reflection”, Mr. Shtrykov is a winner of the International Johannes Brahms Chamber Music Competition in Poland, where he was awarded First Prize and the Special Award for the best performance of a work by Brahms, and a prizewinner of the International “Gaetano Zinetti” Chamber Music Competition in Sanguinetto-Verona, Italy. A passionate advocate of clarinet music, Mr. Shtrykov regularly tours throughout the United States with acclaimed pianist, Misuzu Tanaka, as members of the Shtrykov-Tanaka Duo.
Highlights of the 2014-2015 season have included concerts at St. Croix Landmarks Society’s Candlelight Series, Frederick Collection Historical Piano Concerts (Ashburnham, MA), and Summer Stars Classical Series (Ocean Grove, NJ). In the 2015-2016 season, Maksim Shtrykov can be heard with concerts and master classes at the Starlight Tea Concert Series (Lancaster, PA), Music Matters Series at La Grua Center (Stonington, CT), Shorter University’s Guest Artist Series and Tuesday's Music Live Series, America's largest luncheon concert series in Augusta, Georgia to name a few.
Maksim Shtrykov holds a degree of Master of Music from The Juilliard School, where he had been a scholarship student in the studio of Charles Neidich.
ANITA BALÁZS, Cello: Hungarian cellist, Anita Balázs, was born into a musical family and started her music studies at the age of 5. From early childhood, she has been giving concerts in Europe and taking part in international festivals and masterclasses in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Croatia, France and Switzerland with professors such as Heidi Litschauer, László Fenyő, Philippe Muller and Wolfgang Boettcher as well as participating in national and international competitions with excellent results.
In 2004, she took part in two international cello competitions: the Antonio Janigro International Cello Competition in Porec, Croatia and the Augustín Procházka International Cello Competition in Slovakia both in which she won second prize. In 2005, she received third prize at the Alfredo e Vanda Marcosig International Competition and the same year she also received first prize at the Antal Friss National Cello Competition for young cellists in her home country. In 2006, she received first prize at the International Cello Competition in Liezen, Austria and also, the second prize and special prize at Antonio Janigro Competition in Croatia.
She is invited every year to participate in the "Les Pianos Folies du Touquet" piano festival in Le Touquet, France as soloist and chamber musician among world-famous pianists such as Boris Berezovsky, Nikolai Lugansky, Benjamin Grosvenor or Andrei Korobeinikov.
In 2008, she participated in the János Starker National Cello Competition in Hungary, where she won the first prize and also the Grand Prix of the jury. From the age of 12 she has been invited to play as soloist with famous Hungarian and European orchestras and conductors such as Andras Ligeti, Izaki Masahiro, Gábor Werner and Tamás Gál.
At the age of 17 she was admitted to the Franz Liszt Academy of Music of Budapest, Hungary in the class of Laszlo Mezo (Bartok Quartet) where she obtained both her Bachelor's and first Masters degree. She made her debut at the Carnegie Hall in January 2016.
In 2012, she continued her studies under Prof. Philippe Muller in France, attending two schools at the same time in Hungary and France. She holds an Artist’s Diploma from Montclair State University where she studied in the class of Nicholas Tzavaras (Shanghai Quartet).
From Fall 2017, she has been studying at Yale School of Music in the class of Aldo Parisot, working towards her Master of Musical Arts degree.
MISUZU TANAKA, Piano: Hailed by international press for her "dizzying speed and sensitivity" Today’s Zaman (Turkey) and “exceptionally high technical level” General-Anzeiger Bonn (Germany), Misuzu Tanaka has established herself as an artist of remarkable individuality with a rare combination of poetic sensitivity and breathtaking virtuosity.
She has performed in prestigious concert venues throughout the world, from the Gewandhaus in Leipzig and Mozart’s Museum at Villa Bertramka in Prague to Alice Tully Hall in New York. Misuzu Tanaka is also a respected regular performer for Music from the Frederick Collection, a leading North-American venue for performance on historical instruments. Misuzu Tanaka has achieved notable success in international competitions, receiving prizes and awards in the International Janáček Competition, Poland International Piano Festival Competition and the Daniel Rutenberg Chamber Music Competition. Enjoying an active solo career in the U.S., she is among the country’s brightest emerging stars.
Her recent debut album which was recorded live on the Concertant Classics label, “Misuzu Tanaka in Concert” features works by Leoš Janáček and J. S. Bach, two composers who have been a constant source of her musical inspiration. The 2018-19 season brings two new releases: a second piano recital album “Preludes, Reflections, Resonances” in which she further explores music of Janáček as well as music by Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff, and a debut album “Epilogues” with clarinetist Maksim Shtrykov, which focuses on four clarinet sonatas, which are the last works of three leading composers – Johannes Brahms, Camille Saint-Saëns and Francis Poulenc.
Her 2018-19 season highlights include concerts in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai as a part of her China tour with her partner clarinetist Maksim Shtrykov; in the US she will appear on the Aptos Keyboard Series (CA), Ridotto Classical Concerts (NY), Black Hills Chamber Music Society (SD) and Red Scarf Society of the Performing Arts (CA) among others.
Highlights of the past seasons include a concerto debut at the Amadeus Festival (MT) with the Festival Orchestra under the direction of maestro John Zoltek as well as recitals at Chamber Music Society of Maryland, Fairmont Chamber Music Society (WV), Cedarhurst Chamber Music Series (IL), California State University Sacramento Piano Series, Distinguished Artists Lecture and Concert Series (CA), Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts (IL), Pro Musica in San Miguel de Allende, Chamber Music Society of Maryland and Ridgecrest Chamber Music Society (CA).
An avid small-ensemble collaborator, Misuzu Tanaka has appeared with prominent artists including James Dunham (Cleveland Quartet) and members of the National Symphony Orchestra. In 2012, together with her artistic partner and critically acclaimed clarinetist Maksim Shtrykov, she began touring throughout the United States as the Shtrykov-Tanaka Duo. Her latest chamber music project is Trio Confero (clarinet, cello, piano). The group will begin touring in 2019-’20 season as a part of the celebrated touring agency roster - Live On Stage.
Born in London, United Kingdom where she began her piano lessons at the age of five, she then continued her studies in Japan and in the United States with Martin Canin at The Juilliard School. Her Masters and Doctoral degrees are from University of Michigan where she was a full scholarship recipient studying with Logan Skelton and devoted much time to the study and performance of the works of Leoš Janáček, which led to further studies with Miroslav Brejcha and the late Ivan Moravec in the Czech Republic.