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Music faculty release debut CD with major recording label

September 26, 2013
ChiaroscuroTrio-web
The Chiaroscuro Trio. From left: Dr. Yuko Kato, Dr. Aurélien Pétillot and Dr. Elizabeth Pétillot.

EAU CLAIRE — Two members of the music faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire released their trio's debut CD of contemporary American works this past July.

"New People," from Albany Records, features works for voice, viola and piano, as performed by the Chiaroscuro Trio. The trio is composed of contralto Dr. Elizabeth Pétillot, violist Dr. Aurélien Pétillot and pianist Dr. Yuko Kato. The Pétillots are lecturers of music at UW-Eau Claire.

"It was a really big deal for us to work on the CD," Aurélien Pétillot said. "Releasing a CD is a major accomplishment for any musician, so we knew we had to do it right and be at the top of our game. We really enjoyed the whole process, from selecting the works, to holding the final product in our hands."

Works on the CD include "The Rain is Full of Ghosts" by Daniel Powers, "Front Porch Poems" by Jonathan Santore and "New People" by Michael Colgrass. The group commissioned two works for the album, "Erotica" by Rob Deemer and "Jabberwocky" by Graham Reynolds.

"With 'New People,' the trio seeks not only to contribute new music to the repertoire and to engage a wide array of listeners, but also to broaden, if not challenge, the stereotypes and expectations connected to classical music, and to demonstrate the large scope of what 'classical music' encompasses," Aurélien Pétillot said.

The Chiaroscuro Trio is the only professional chamber ensemble that is dedicated to the unique combination of voice, viola and piano. "Chiaroscuro" is an Italian term for the opposition and interactions between lightness and darkness.

"The trio purposefully selected works that are very different from one another, and that deal with conflicting yet congruent aspects of life: laughter, love, lust, loss and longing," Aurélien Pétillot said.

When deciding where to record the CD, the group specifically chose Austin, Texas. The Pétillots studied at the University of Texas at Austin, and they lived in the area for close to 10 years.

Aurélien Pétillot said they wanted to record "amidst the sounds of neighborhood chili cookouts, stray cats in rut, frolicking squirrels, customized low rider trucks, airplanes flying overhead and children playing in the streets, so the music would surreptitiously seep into the outside world, while the hubbub of urban life would find itself interwoven in the fabric of the music."

He also said the trio has a close connection, which directly impacts the quality of their music.

"I don't believe people can make music together if they don't like and respect each other," he said. "We work very well and very openly together, and we absolutely trust each other. Our connection and our complicity as a trio are part of what really makes our performances particularly engaging and accessible."

The CD can be streamed on Spotify, downloaded from iTunes or purchased either online at Albany Records or Chiaroscuro Trio's website, or locally at the Volume One store.

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OJ/DW


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