Capital Trio to perform music of Beethoven and William Matthews

Capital Trio

The Capital Trio: from left, Sölen Dikener, Hilary Cumming, Duncan Cumming ’93.

A piano trio punctuates Bates College concert offerings next month with the Capital Trio performing at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 6, in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St.

The concert is open to the public at no cost, but tickets are required due to limited seating and are available at For more information, please contact 207-786-6135 or

The Capital Trio’s program includes “A Book of Hours” by William Matthews, the Alice Swanson Esty Professor of Music at Bates, and Beethoven’s Piano Trio in D major, Op.70, No. 1 (“Ghost”). Also on the program is a tribute by Capital Trio pianist Duncan Cumming to the late pianist and Bates artist in residence Frank Glazer.

A review from the Kalamazoo (Michigan) Gazette described the Capital Trio as “convincing both as strong individual musical personalities and as a cohesive unit.” In addition to Cumming, the trio consists of violinist Hilary Cumming and cellist Sölen Dikener.

Written in the mid-1990s, “A Book of Hours” is a secular interpretation of the religious practice of holding a daily cycle of worship services. In six movements, “Hours” draws on inspirations as diverse as a catbird’s song, the jolt of caffeine, a tranquil twilight and the music of French-Canadian fiddlers and jazzman Thelonious Monk.

Cumming, a member of the Bates class of 1993, studied with Glazer during his time at Bates, and later wrote a biography of the elder musician. Glazer, who died in January at age 99, was musically active until this winter. During the Capital Trio concert, Cumming will perform the first piece he studied with Glazer, Schubert’s Impromptu in C minor, Op. 90, No. 1.

Taking its nickname from a slow movement that the All Music Guide describes as “strangely scored and undeniably eerie-sounding,” the 1808 Beethoven trio is a product of his so-called Middle Period and is one of his best-loved compositions for the piano trio format.

The Capital Trio began as the Cecilia Piano Trio in 1997. Founding members Cumming and Dikener were surprised to discover at their first rehearsal that their teachers, Glazer and Paul Tortelier, had performed together in Paris and Boston almost 70 years earlier, and the young performers immediately became friends.

Violinist Hilary Cumming joined the group in 1999. Their first compact disc recording on Albany Records was issued in 2011: A Book of Hours: Music of William Matthews. Of this recording Fanfare Magazine wrote, “The Capital Trio plays throughout with clarity, precision and manifest musicality…”

Duncan Cumming, a member of the faculty of the University at Albany, has performed concertos, recitals and chamber music concerts across the United States and in Europe. A review in the Portland Press Herald describes his playing as “technically flawless… thoughtful, deliberate and balanced, without a wasted gesture or any histrionics.”

Born in Maine, Cumming graduated Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors from Bates. He has premiered and recorded new works for solo piano, violin and piano, and piano trio.

Hilary Walther Cumming also teaches at Albany. Previously she served as concertmaster of the Cape Cod Sinfonietta and the Andover Chamber Orchestra, and has performed as soloist with these ensembles as well as others including the Boston Symphony Orchestra. A versatile artist, she is comfortable in many styles including classical, baroque and Irish traditional music.

Dikener performs and teaches in the U.S. and in Turkey, where he is the director of the international summer music academy and chamber music festival Akademi Datca. In the recording studio, Dikener has premiered cello works by Turkish composers for the AK Muzik and Yesa labels.

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