A trio comes together, bringing Fort Collins a local and cultural touch

Story by Brooke Poulson

The Graduate Piano Trio was formed at CSU in fall 2016, bringing together some of the many remarkably talented musicians at Colorado State. The trio members come from places all around the world, which brings a unique and cultured prospect to the recital happening on April 19 at 7:30 p.m.

The trio consists of graduate students Frangel Lopez Cesena, violin; Julius Hochmuth, cello; and Sicong Zhou, piano. They will perform various solo, duo and trio combinations, including Maurice Ravel’s Duo for Violin and Cello. The program also includes Dvorak Dumky’s Trio No. 4, Bohuslav Martinů’s Duo No. 1 and Three Nocturnes by Ernest Bloch.

Cesena, the violinist in the trio, described what he is most excited about. “Playing the Dvorak and Martinu pieces, they are some of the most important pieces ever written,” he said. The members decided together what was going to be played at the recital.

Practice schedule

The trio spends about three hours rehearsing twice a week. and attends coaching once a week under the guidance of Professor Barbara Thiem. Preparation for the recital began in January, with each member spending a selected amount of time rehearsing outside of group each week. Preparation for the trio members means more than just playing their instruments; Zhou, the pianist, explained what he does to be fully prepared while working as a trio. “To make sure I can know the music well, I started to prepare the pieces of the recital starting last winter break, including practicing my piano part and analyzing other instrument parts as well,” he said.

Cesena brings his musical talent to Fort Collins from La Paz, Mexico. He began his musical journey at the age of 9 years old, not by his own choice.

“I didn’t want to play, it just happened.” Cesena said when asked how he started playing the violin. After 15 years of playing, it seems to have worked out for the best. Frangel admits that as a child he had a record of bad behavior, and when his family did not know what else to do with him, they put a violin in his hands. His aunt started taking him to violin lessons, where the instructor was concerned because Frangel was a rare left-handed player. Despite the doubts, it seemed inevitable that Frangel was meant to play the violin.

‘Exciting and challenging’

Zhou, the pianist, is from China and started playing the piano when he was only 3 years old. He was lucky enough to have his own mother as his first teacher; she teaches piano at a university. Sicong has accompanied many other instruments before, such as violin, viola, cello, clarinet and more, but this is his first experience playing piano in a trio. “It is exciting and also challenging for me, since piano trio is an art for three musicians. That means only by knowing each other well can we be a real team,” explained Zhou.

Being raised in Fort Collins, cellist Hochmuth brings a touch of local roots to the group. He has played cello for 11 years, initially starting with piano. The local school district provided the option for all students to learn an instrument, which is how he began his music career in sixth grade. What was once a simple academic opportunity now fills Hochmuth’s days.

“Classical music is a form of expression that involves equal amounts of logic and feeling; the highly logical construction of the musical form allows for the elevation of emotion,” he states. “The most important aspect of a performance is the composer, and as performers, we must strive to make our performance align with the composer’s wishes. Even though these composers have been dead for extended periods of time, their music can allow us to feel their passions.”

The three performers will surely combine passion, diversity and expertise into one, so don’t miss out on seeing this unique trio come together for a great recital on April 19 at the University Center for the Arts.


Tickets for the performance are no charge for Full-fee paying CSU students, $1 for youth (under 18), and $12 for the public. Tickets are available at the University Center for the Arts (UCA) ticket office in the UCA lobby Monday through Friday, 3:30-5:30 p.m. and 60 minutes prior to performances, by phone at (970) 491-ARTS (2787), or online at www.CSUArtsTickets.com.

More information

For a full event calendar, more information, and to sign up for a free event e-newsletter, visit UCA.Colostate.edu. For an in-depth look behind the scenes of everything happening at the University Center for the Arts, read The Green Room digital magazine. Sign up for free at issuu.com/coloradostateuniversity_uca.