piano trio

Vienna Piano Trio Availability    

April 1 – 10, 2022

“One does not know where to begin with the praise. With the incredible reaction speed of the two strings, David McCarroll and Clemens Hagen, their crystal-clear articulation combined with warmth and homogeneity in the ensemble?  Or with the sovereign pianism of Stefan Mendl, who succeeds in his part, which at times is more difficult to sparkle as well as to hold back than that in the concertos, even when Beethoven’s extremely dense textures in the bass make this almost impossible on a modern piano? 

“That the phrasing is incredibly subtle goes without saying, but  it allows for the felicitous poetry of the slow movements.  It is phenomenal how the small crescendi bring the variation theme of Op 1/3 to full bloom, or how the rugged accents in the Menuet  and the Prestissimo are thrown out by the three without even a one-hundredth of a second difference.”

Klassik Heute

“Wonderfully brilliant, strikingly refined and imaginative interpretations.” 

—Die Rheinpfalz

“…finesse, unerring unity and deeply thought-through interpretations… The Vienna Trio’s playing fed the soul for a united musical vision and a deep dive into the message behind the notes.” 

The Washington Post

“…one of the most exquisite ensembles that today’s classical music scene has to offer.”    

— ARD-2

“The Vienna Piano Trio’s liquidity, marvelous shaping and sexy classicism in no way compromised the vigor–even the occasional bullishness–of the musical utterance.”     

— The Strad

“… phenomenal and skilled phrasing…”     

— Fono Forum

“Tonal suavity... clearheaded stylishness.”    

— Cleveland Plain Dealer 

“Three masters of soft dynamics... unusual clarity and elegance.”

— Frankfurter Allgemeine

What the critics say:

Winner Echo Klassik 2010, 2017; Opus Klassik 2020

David McCarroll, violin | Clemens Hagen, violoncello | Stefan Mendl, piano

Vienna Piano Trio

Live performance at 92nd St. Y, NYC


Long established as one of the world’s leading chamber ensembles, and perennially fresh in its artistry, the Vienna Piano Trio was founded in 1988 by the Viennese pianist Stefan Mendl. His partners are the Californian violinist David McCarroll, a member of the trio since 2015, and the Austrian cellist Clemens Hagen, who joined in 2018. 

Together, the players embody the ensemble’s continuing commitment to bridging the traditions and practice of Europe and America. This philosophy stems from the trio’s early years and its mentoring by such ensembles as the Trio di Trieste, Haydn-Trio Wien, Beaux Arts Trio and the Guarneri and LaSalle quartets, and by the violinists Isaac Stern and Jaime Laredo. 

Both sustaining and expanding the repertoire for piano trio, the ensemble complements the masterworks of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries with new works, the product of collaborations with such leading contemporary composers as Friedrich Cerha, Georg Friedrich Haas, György Kurtág, Johannes Maria Staud and Jörg Widmann. 

Since the 2006/07 season, the Vienna Piano Trio has had its own subscription series at the Vienna Konzerthaus and has been a regular visitor to the world’s major concert halls (such as Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona, Konzerthaus Berlin, Wigmore Hall London and Cité de la Musique in Paris) and festivals (such as the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, Wiener Festwochen, Mozartwoche Salzburg, Grafenegg, Rheingau, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Flanders, Aix-en-Provence, Prades-Casals, Kuhmo, Princeton Summer, Chautauqua and Caramoor). 

In North America the group has appeared, among others, in New York City (Lincoln Center, Weil Recital Hall, Frick Collection), Washington, DC (Library of Congress, Kennedy Center , National Gallery), as well as in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Mexico City. 

Upcoming engagements include their concert cycle at the Vienna Konzerthaus and a performance at the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg, with an emphasis on Beethoven and, in a series at the Vienna Konzerthaus and London’s Wigmore Hall, the piano trios and string sonatas of Brahms, among others. In 2020 the trio will also tour the USA, visiting—among others—Philadelphia (Kimmel Center), New York City (92nd St. Y), Houston (Rice University) and Costa Mesa (Segerstrom Performing Arts Center). 

The Vienna Piano Trio’s extensive prize-winning discography on the Naxos, Nimbus and MDG labels embraces the complete piano trios of Brahms, Dvořák, Saint-Saëns, Schönberg/ Steuermann, Schubert, Tschaikovsky and Zemlinsky, as well as works by Beethoven, Haydn, Ravel, Schumann and others. The ensemble’s 2019 release offers the Ravel and Chausson piano trios—upcoming will be a recording of Beethoven’s Archduke and trio Op. 1, No. 3. 

The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music has described the ensemble’s Schubert as “outstanding in every way … wonderfully fresh and spring-like... true chamber-music-making by a beautifully matched team,” while its Dvořák led The Washington Post to write of “a rapport that makes the performance feel like a conversation among friends, and a high level of technical precision… an almost transcendent experience.” 

David McCarroll plays a 1761 Gagliano violin and Clemens Hagen plays a Stradivari cello from 1698. 

(This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions or additions, unless expressly authorized by artist management.)


More what the critics say:

“…the trio played with dramatic, nuanced phrasing, and an alluring blending of voices.” 

— The News-Gazette, Urbana, IL 

“Is there something new to be heard? Absolutely! Seldom can the trios of Op. 8 (in the revised version of 1889) and Op. 87 be experienced as breathing so freely and with such ease. Much of it is due to the phenomenal and skilled phrasing of this ensemble.” 

— Fono Forum (Brahms) 

“Their virtuosity had no limits and their aural palette was extensive as they captured the balance of youth, exuberance, and wisdom of age; this was piano trio playing that would be difficult to surpass.” 

— Waikato Times, New Zealand 

"…after the Haydn I felt like jumping for joy, I felt like shouting ‘Hurrah, there is a group for me in the universe that plays like this…’ ” 

— Elizabeth Kerr, Reviewer, New Zealand Radio

“To Brahms’s Piano Trio No. 3 in C Minor (1886), the threesome brought a soundworld dense yet permeable. Passionately grappling with the later master’s grand emotions with generous portamenti and wider vibrato, the players surged with waves of yearning and consolation. If there is such a thing as a Viennese style, it paraded past us with corsets unlaced. Mendl’s arsenal included rippling Donau shimmers as well as symphonic ferocity. Yet his intellect kept, as Grillparzer might have said of Beethoven, alles in ordnung.” 

— Boston Intelligencer

“Once again the Vienna Piano Trio shows that it is world-class among trios.”   


— Naxos Direct 

“It can be hard for a European music ensemble to compete with American independence. The Vienna Piano Trio, a well established and refined ensemble of musicians based in Austria, came to Princeton last Thursday night on the cusp of the 4th of July holiday weekend to present a concert of wide-ranging chamber music. Accompanied at times by the sound of nearby fireworks, the Trio nevertheless captivated a full house at Richardson Auditorium, and demonstrated a diverse performance skill set in music which crossed nearly a century and a half.” 

— Town TopicS (Princeton)

“…superb musicianship from this internationally acclaimed ensemble…” 

— bachtrack (Southhampton, UK)

“If you were to poll the world’s music lovers as to who today’s most eminent Piano Trio might be, the Vienna Piano Trio would probably come in first." 

— Ottawa Citizen 

“The fine line between agility and poetry of interpretaton that exists here is of such importance that one can only advise anyone to listen to this recording with great care. This recording is very special and cannot be described adequately with words…” (Beethoven) 

— The Listener 

"Chamber Music at its finest!" 

— (Erlangen)

"Rarely, at least to my ears, has chamber music of the 18th and 19th centuries sounded so boldly chic and engagingly modern." 

— The Morning Call - Lehigh 

"The Vienna Piano Trio is an exciting and eminently artistic group that plays with high intensity, and the result is total satisfaction." 

— Daily News (Palm Beach)

"Thursday's performance was ...endowed with the considerable degree of elegance for which this ensemble is famous." 

— Ottawa Citizen

"It is not only the phenomenal precision and the perfect teamwork that grip us here but also and above all a passionate and highly musical interpretation." (Haydn) 

— Pizzicato 

"...the ensemble plays to an exacting standard..." 

—Vancouver Sun

"It would be difficult to recall hearing a piano trio as energetic and technically polished as the Vienna Piano Trio was on Sunday.”

— The Morning Call - Lehigh

"With astutely judged tempos and gracefully elegant phrasing throughout, these highly polished interpretations manage at the same time to convey an almost spontaneous enjoyment of the music." (Haydn) 

— BBC Music Magazine 

"The Trio devoted the second half of the program to an electrifying performance of Schubert's Trio in E flat. As in the Mozart and Schumann works, the musicians used contradictory expectation as a kind of mining tool. Tempos, for example, were brisk, and phrasing tended toward aggressiveness, qualities that could easily have plowed over Schubert's uncommonly rich melodies. But instead, the same clarity that illuminated the Mozart put Schubert's melodies in high relief, just as the hint of grittiness in Mr. Redik's playing gave the performance a breathing, organic quality." 

— The New York Times

“The arts season is still young, but the Houston debut of the Vienna Piano trio will be one of the events elbowing its way to be ‘best of the year.”….The performance of works of Haydn, Ravel and Schubert were fresh, lively, and insightful. The music-making was infused with anticipation and excitement. The ensemble sound was impeccably balanced and colorful. The players could have been encountering the music for the first time.” 

— Houston Chronicle

"The performers' absolute synchronicity, their interpretation, and their unobtrusive technique enhanced each work, while violinist Wolfgang Redik and cellist Matthias Gredler drew gorgeous tones of pure pleasure from their Guadagnini instruments." 

— Seattle-Post Intelligencer

"...The phenomenal Vienna Piano Trio... succeeded in putting together an unusually interesting collection of seldom heard works by the three composers so important to the 1900 Vienna: Mahler, Zemlinsky and Schoenberg. ... secure intonation, paired with finely-tuned and flowing articulation, is ideal for the complex expressivity of this music. .. the warm, full-blooded and at times energetic tone of these musicians makes the compositional riches of these works with their harmonic loops and abrupt color changes come to a full bloom." 

— Bayrischer Rundfunk-Bayern 4 Klassik

"The evening ended with an agonizingly beautiful version of Schubert’s Trio in B-flat, Op. 99. Their performance reached heights of anguished ecstasy at times, relieved by a joyous abandon that was truly Schubertian. There are many ways to play this piece; the Vienna opted for tonal ebullience born of gently caressing every note." 

— The Washington Post

"I have heard the Vienna Piano Trio on each of its visits here, and can say without hesitation that we find ourselves in the presence of one of the best ensembles of violin, cello and piano of today." 

— La Presse, Montreal

"Those who have experienced the Vienna Piano trio live do know what it means to return home from a concert charged with new energy, even feeling electrified." 

— Rondo

"Its playing marries subtle tonal control with a true chamber-musical give and take ...abiding impression of rare lyrical tenderness....has a dreamlike delicacy that no rival performance quite matches. … 

I suspect that when I want to hear the B-flat Trio, this fresh, intensely poetic Viennese performance will now be first off the shelves." 

— BBC Music Magazine

"The performances were extraordinary. Every phrase of Schubert was shaped and colored with a clear sense of direction and purpose. The Beethoven was crisp and impetuous. Throughout the concert , the group’s taut control was the foundation for complete freedom of expression." 

— San Antonio Express-News,

“…the Vienna Piano Trio’s liquidity, marvelous shaping and sexy classicism in no way compromised the vigor—even the occasional bullishness—of the musical utterance." 

— The Strad

"…all the technical facility and expressive incisiveness to become the Beaux Arts Trio of the 21st century." 

— The Baltimore Sun    

"...tonal suavity and clearheaded stylishness... they immerse themselves in a score and project the substance in a rainbow of nuances... Ah, Vienna. The piano trio that bears your name is nurturing a distinguished tradition." 

— Cleveland Plain Dealer

"This youthful ensemble have rapidly established themselves as one of the finest chamber groups on the international circuit." (Beethoven, "Classical Album of the Year") 

— London Times

"One of the world’s leading ensembles of violin, cello and piano." 

— The Washington Post

"This disc has been impatiently awaited after the Vienna Piano Trio’s releases of Dvorak, Beethoven, and most recently, Haydn trios. And, with the ensemble’s skill at drawing the listener in to eavesdrop to a high-powered conversation among friends as impressive as ever, it is no disappointment." 

— The Times, London

"…unrivalled performances, with daring, tonal allure and musical intelligence to spare." (Mendelssohn) 

— BBC Music Magazine 

"Three masters of soft dynamics…Gestures and ensemble work of this group were marked by an unusual clarity and elegance." 

— Frankfurter Allgemeine

"This is a jewel of a recording." 


— American Record Guide

"These beautiful performances should revive even the most jaded listening palate." (Beethoven) 

— BBC Music Magazine 

"A delight from start to finish…I could hardly believe that these performances could be surpassed, for they seem to encapsulate every aspect of the music to absolute perfection." (Beethoven) 

— CD Classic 

"… a rapport that makes the performances feel like a conversation among friends… they make the moody folk-flavored "Dumky" an almost transcendent experience." 

— TheWashington Post

“… an extremely harmonious ensemble… that leaves nothing to be desired: intensive in coloring, direct, full of elan , however never unpolished or rustic or superficial." 


— Fono Forum 

"…playing of real intensity and commitment matched by absolute technical reliability." 

— The Strad

"On Wednesday, the Vienna Piano Trio gave a concert which made this ensemble not only the revelation of the 1995 Festival, but also one of the wonderful discoveries of the Quebec musical scenes in recent seasons." 

— Le Soleil (Quebec)