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Black Oak Ensemble
January 30, 2024
Black Oak Ensemble

Desiree Ruhstrat, Violin   Aurélien Fort Pederzoli, Viola   David Cunliffe, Cello

Johann Sebastian Bach: Aria from the Goldberg Variations

Gideon Klein: Trio

Stacy Garrop: Repair the World (Tikkun Olam)

Henri Tomasi: Trio à Cordes

Vittorio Monti: Czardas

The Black Oak Ensemble won the American Prize for Chamber Music in October 2023, and their latest CD release, Avant l’orage, a double album of French string trios, reached #1 in the Billboard Classical Charts in July 2022.

Praised for its “insightful, committed and masterful performances” (Classics Today 10/10) and “fierce eloquence” (London Times), the Black Oak Ensemble is one of the most innovative and exciting chamber ensembles on the international stage.

Violinist Desirée Ruhstrat and cellist David Cunliffe are members of the acclaimed, Grammy-nominated Lincoln Trio, and violist Aurélien Fort Pederzoli was a founding member of the ground-breaking, Grammy-nominated Spektral Quartet.

Black Oak’s début album on Çedille Records, Silenced Voices, is dedicated to Jewish composers, most of whom lost their lives during the Holocaust. It has been featured in Gramophone and Strings magazines, and on BBC Radio 3, The Violin Channel, and Sirius XM. In 2022, the ensemble released their second recording on the Cedille label, “Avant l’orage,” a double album of French string trios from 1926-39, including several world premiere recordings.

International tours have taken the Black Oak Ensemble to Amsterdam, Geneva (a special performance dedicated to human rights), the Everlasting Hope Festival in Terezin (in honor of composers persecuted and murdered by the Nazis during the occupation of Prague), Paris, Grenoble, Lyon, Rennes, Corsica, Prague and Athens.

In the U.S. they have appeared at the Newport Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Chicago Cultural Center, Art Institute of Chicago, Latino Music Festival, University of Oregon, and many other venues. They made their début at the Newport Music Festival in 2022.

Passionate advocates of new works, Black Oak has commissioned and premiered string trios from renowned composers such as Michael Nyman, Conrad Tao, David Ludwig, and others.

Black Oak is an ensemble-in-residence at the New Music School in Chicago and the Ravinia Festival’s El Sistema program.

The ensemble is named for the black oak, one of which stands in Desirée and David’s front yard.

The Black Oak Ensemble appears by arrangement with Lisa Sapinkopf Artists,