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Trios from Contemporary Chicago

"This release from the Lincoln Trio is the second of two releases devoted to music from Chicago, a city that has not generally been thought of as having a style of its own in concert music, but the Lincoln Trio makes a persuasive case…This release and its companion volume are highly recommended to those wondering about the musical legacy of the Second City".


BBC Music Magazine, March 2023 (4 stars)

"Cedille shares a selection of trios by five talented Chicago composers, including three world premieres. Okpebholo’s opener, City Beautiful, is just that, while Augusta Reed Thomas’s A Circle Around the Sun is typically riveting. Lincoln Trio’s performance is imbued with vitality." 

The Strad, March 2023
"…there’s music that’s far more convincing, delivered with the same insight and passion that the Lincoln Trio players apply to the works right across the disc… performances are unerringly persuasive, captured in close, warm sound" © 2023 The Strad

Colin Clarke

Fanfare, November 2022

"The music scene is clearly exciting in Chicago, if this disc is anything to go by; with impeccable presentation, this is a disc that will both stimulate and, beyond doubt, move any listener." © 2022 Fanfare Read complete review

Barry Kilpatrick

American Record Guide, November 2022

"[The music] is sturdy, energetic, and confident, and played that way by the Lincoln Trio". © 2022 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Michael Schulman

The WholeNote, September 2022

"My November 2021 WholeNote review of a CD containing trios by two Chicago composers praised “the vivid colours, dramatic expressivity and sensational virtuosity” of the Lincoln Trio, here returning with compositions by five living Chicagoans.

Mischa Zupko’s three-minute Fanfare 80, honouring the Music Institute of Chicago’s 80th year, exists in versions for orchestra, woodwind quintet and the Lincoln Trio. Rambunctious seven-and-11-beat measures create, writes Zupko, “a savage celebration.” © 2022 The WholeNote Read complete review

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, August 2022
"This is new, exciting: economically conceived music that gets directly to the heart of the matter with little or no prefatory exposition.

As presented by the Lincoln Trio consisting of Desirée Ruhstrat, violin; David Cunliffe, cello; and Marta Aznavoorian, piano, all these works, in one way or another, cut to the chase so deftly that they might be termed a new kind of “essentialism” if we must give it a descriptive name". © 2022 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review, July 2022

"The Lincoln Trio’s performances on a new Cedille CD are admirable throughout…

This [Sanctuary] work and Ran’s Soliloquy are the highlights of the CD; the other works have elements of interest, and everything on the disc is played with fervor and a high level of involvement…" © 2022 Read complete review

Trios from the City of Big Shoulders

Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, May 2021 | Read more

Jean-Yves Duperron, Classical Music Sentinel, June 2021 | Read more

Textura, July 2021 | Read more

Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International, August 2021 | Read more

Peter Burwasser, Fanfare, September 2021 | Read more

Richard Masters, MusicWeb International, August 2021 | Read more

John Dutterer, American Record Guide, September 2021 | Read more

Michael Schulman, The WholeNote, November 2021 | Read more

Audio Video Club of Atlanta, November 2021 | Read more

Chris Salocks, MusicWeb International, December 2021 | Read more

Jonathan Blumhofer, The Arts Fuse, December 2021 | Read more

David Hurwitz,, January 2022 | Read more



“This is an outstandingly well performed and recorded disc in which Bacon’s tenacious individualism meets Sowerby’s splendidly organised dynamism.”


Music Web International

“One of the year’s standout releases: full of wonderful music, all of it well worth getting to know, and played to the hilt.”


The Arts Fuse

“The Lincoln Trio . . . plays magnificently, with a remarkable combination of delicate interplay and robust tone. They are fine champions for this unduly neglected music.”


“The Lincoln Trio, consisting of violinist Desirée Ruhstrat, cellist David Cunliffe, and pianist Marta Aznavoorian, give their all, in performances of two great trios that are really in need of increased public exposure”

PHIL MUSE Atlanta Audio Club

Trios from our Homeland

The Observer - Fiona Maddocks - "impassioned"  - October 2016

San Francisco Chronicle

The Strad

The Gramophone

Other reviews:

"Other than her viola sonata, Rebecca Clarke's superb trio is her most recorded work. It's an excellent work and one that any lover of Shostakovich's chamber music will enjoy. It's evocative and tightly composed, united by a recurring fanfare motif, here buried sometimes in the texture, not as obvious as the Lion's Gate Trio I reviewed before (J/A 2015). Also, the rhythms of the final Irish jig are square, less sprung than the Lion's Gate. Still, it is a very good performance, just different: it's more patient and atmospheric, with less emphasis on structural clarity.

The trio of Arno Babadjanyan (1921-83) is his most recorded work. Heard blind, almost any listener would think it's by fellow Armenian Aram Khachaturian based on its rhythms and melodic contours, especially the vigorous and muscular finale that's straight out of Gayane or Spartacus. I is big-boned, brooding, and declamatory, piano redolent of early Rachmaninoff like his famous C-sharp minor Prelude. The slow movement is tender and singing, like Khachaturian shorn of his modernist dissonance. It's from 1952 but sounds more like 1892.

The album's title applies not at all to Swiss composer Frank Martin's Trio on Popular Irish Melodies, a charming and winsome piece reminding me of Grieg's late piano work Slatter. Its three movements set Irish folk tunes in gently dissonant 20th-Century harmonies. It's quite warm and approachable for a composer whose music, though colorful, is often cool and cerebral. Where Clarke's Irish jig is implied, Martin's Gigue finale puts the high-stepping tune front and center, as do the musicians.

The recording is powerful, clear, with honest balance among the players, the piano's bass notes well caught, full and resounding- essential for the beefy piano textures of Babadjanyan's trio. Both strings have sweet and manicured tone and intonation, yet plenty of fire without harshness in fortissimo passages. You're in good hands with these fine musicians and Cedille's excellent sound." 

 - American Record Guide. (January-February 2017)

Turina: Chamber Music for Strings and Piano

Online reviews of Turina Chamber Music for Strings and Piano:

Classics Today

Enjoy the

Notable Women

Already a phenomenal critical success, Notable Women has been recommended by the New Yorker Magazine's Alex Ross on The Rest is Noise as well as:

Naxos "Critics Choice January 2012"

WQXR New York "Album of the Week"

Guardian UK "Hidden Gems of 2011"

Zantion "Recording of the Month"

PDF reviews of Notable Women:

Strad Magazine 

Gramophone Magazine

International Record Review

Strings Magazine 

Other reviews:

"The Lincoln Trio takes the listener on a musical journey full of energy, vigor, and excellent timing ... In all, this album is a unique entity with works by talented women composers and a talented group of musicians who deserve to be lauded."


"This disc, their first full CD release, on the Chicago-based Cedille label is a revelation! This is a marvelous program and the Lincoln Trio performs brilliantly. They are wonderful musicians with a very clear and most gratifying commitment to contemporary music."

Audio Audition


"Hard to say who's most "notable": violinist Desiree Ruhstrat, pianist Marta Aznavoorian, cellist David Cunliffe, or the six composers featured on this excellent collection. The musicians, certainly, do their part, rendering the scores with masterly finesse, but the composers do the boundary-pushing. Jennifer Higdon's trio aims to evoke literal color, while Lera Auerbach's trio sets a new standard of personal expression. Also "notable" are works by Augusta Read Thomas and Joan Tower. Grade: A"

 - Zachary Lewis, Cleveland Plain Dealer music critic


"It’s a standard-setter for sure, displaying the technical polish and emotional depth of the Lincolns (Desirée Ruhstrat is a fast-fingered violinist, Marta Aznavoorian a soulful pianist and David Cunliffe a cellist whose polish gives way to moments of artful recklessness)." .....Higdon’s two-movement work is not only indicative of the composer’s uncanny, borderline synesthete ability to coax out a rainbow of yellow and red tones from her instrumentalists, but also the Lincolns’s flair for the same. It’s a work that has been recorded before with equally sharp players, but this particular blend is one of those moments in which you cannot imagine any other musicians take on this work and have it sound so complete. Here there’s no gender, just pure music."

Album of the Week, WQXR New York

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