Pianist Anna Polonsky, clarinetist David Shifrin and cellist Peter Wiley are the musical trio performing this Saturday at the Seligman Performing Arts Center in Beverly Hills.

Featured photo courtesy of Steve Riskind

Members of the Polonsky-Shifrin-Wiley Trio have an important bond with one of the composers whose music they are about to perform in a concert hosted by the Chamber Music Society of Detroit.

Pianist Anna Polonsky, clarinetist David Shifrin and cellist Peter Wiley studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia as did composer Nino Rota, known for scoring famous films, such as Romeo and Juliet and The Godfather.

When the three appear Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Seligman Performing Arts Center in Beverly Hills, they will be playing a Rota sonata along with two pieces by Debussy.

“The big piece in the program is by Brahms,” says Polonksy, who attended Interlochen Arts Camp and Interlochen Arts Academy.  “The Clarinet Trio in A minor, Op. 114 is a monumental work and a seminal piece for the chamber music repertoire.”

The trio, which formed in 2018, will be making the group’s Michigan debut.

“We had played in different combinations over the years, and we thought we had wonderful chemistry and a musical compatibility,” says Polonsky, who also appears as a soloist and with other groups. “We have similar musical sensibilities and enjoy working with each other very much.”

Polonsky, 41, has toured across the United States, Europe and Asia and has appeared with the Guarneri, Orion and Shanghai Quartets among other chamber music groups. She has also worked with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Emanuel Ax and conductor-violinist Jaime Laredo.

At the encouragement of her parents, both professional musicians, Polonsky began studying the piano at age 5 in Russia. Pianist Nina Polonsky and violinist Leonid Polonsky moved the family to the United States when their daughter was 12 and already experienced in professional performance.

With a wide-ranging repertoire, Polonsky has participated in concerts with Jewish content.  Most recently, she focused on the music of contemporary Jewish composers.

“I feel a definite camaraderie with the culture of the Jewish diaspora,” she says. “My grandparents spoke Yiddish, and I  know some Yiddish. Yiddishisms feel like home to me.”

Polonsky also has special sentiments for Interlochen.

“I was in love with Interlochen,” says the pianist, who lives outside New York City. “I think if I had not gone there in high school, I would not have auditioned for Curtis. I wouldn’t have had the ambition to do that.

“Interlochen inspired and propelled me on my musical career path.  I owe it a lot in my life.  I have many friends who have been my classmates at Interlochen. They’re all professional musicians, and it’s nice to have a common bond.”

The Polonsky-Shifrin-Wiley Trio will perform 8-10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Seligman Performing Arts Center in Beverly Hills. Trio members will give a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m., introducing their group and repertoire. $13-$66. (313) 335-3350. Chambermusicdetroit.org.

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