Fan Mail - "What the people say"
COMMENTS FROM PRESENTERS
It was a privilege and a pleasure to host the Merling last night. Our audience absolutely loved you and your reading of the Beethoven and Brahms was technically and musically superb. And of course the Piazzolla had our crowd gasping. I was a bit surprised that a few of our people hadn't known his work and so you made new fans of the tango in addition to making real believers in the piano trio.
Truthfully, the superb balance, the beautiful intonation and the exquisite and virtually unnoticeable blend as lines passed from the violin to the cello are technical details that may not make for after concert conversation, but the are the essence of the quality that you bring to the concert hall. And by the way your piano playing wasn't bad either.
Bottom line, it was just plain fun, and the clarity and appropriateness of your comments from the stage also went a long way to putting our audience at ease with the whole program.
Thank you for playing for us, thank you for making great music, and please keep doing it for many more years. We hope to hear you again in the near future.
John Ashton, President, Fairmont Chamber Music Society
I am so glad you enjoyed yourselves! Our audience adored you all! We've had verbal comments of "this was the best concert yet!" - and "GET THEM BACK!"
Julie Hardin, Executive Director, InConcert Sierra
We very much enjoyed the concert you gave. I have heard nothing but positive things regarding your musicianship, artistry, and the fantastic program you performed. Our students were inspired by your performance; enjoying your artistry, interpretation, intelligent programming, and commitment to the performance. Thank you so much!
Prof. Chuck Chandler, Shorter University Guest Artist Series
I wonder how many in your audiences have commented on your stunningly uniform intensity so evident in the way you "go at" music? Having closely watched many of the stars in the musical firmament – beginning with Toscanini and Horowitz in 1943(?) - I at once discovered among the Merling Trio a "symbiosis of ecstasy" I'd never seen at work in a musical ensemble. You're simply different from all the others. Naturally, each of you appears to be as struck by and as charmed by and as disciplined by each composition as might be hoped for. However – you go about your playing as though the music was occurring to you while you do it. It's as though, in watching and listening to you, I had plumbed the very soul of inspiration, needing to remind myself constantly that someone else had written the notes you were playing. You absolutely do not come across as three people playing someone else's music. Surely, I'm not the first to notice that. It appeared that you were responding with unbridled astonishment to the brilliance of each composition as though for the first time. I can pay you no greater compliment. Your years of practice and agonizing over the composers' intentions presented your audience with an immediacy and freshness of interpretation that is excessively rare. O, to be one of your students.
I don't like writing effusive reviews because readers are apt not to take me seriously but there's no other way to write an honest review of your work. Equally mesmerizing are your faces and body language, the media through which you so generously share your excitement and sense of wonder. The composers you've chosen would bask in "the Merling treatment". Thanks a lot. Come back any time.
PLEASE don't let the idea of recording the Ravel Trio slip your mind. With that CD, I could die happy.
It was a pleasure and delight to hear you perform on Friday night. The trio played so well, musical, wonderful ensemble, the works. Thanks for your teaching as well in the masterclasses. I only heard great comments from the students and faculty.
Prof. Adam Ballif
I'm so glad I got to hear the Ravel; you and your colleagues really knocked it out of the ball park! I know firsthand how difficult it is to get the balance, ensemble and colors just right on this unique work. I couldn't imagine a better, more convincing performance than the one you presented.
The students and I also appreciated your spirited, positive and constructive comments at the piano master class. You heard a broad range of abilities and styles; everyone benefited from your grace, humor and spot-on technical and musical insights.
I'm also enjoying your Postcards in e and Classical Surroundings CDs. What a treat to hear such varied repertory, all masterfully performed. You and your colleagues are a wonderful asset to your university and the music world at large.
Prof. Arthur Houle
I'm sure you know how much we appreciate your music. I had many people tell me how perfect you are. For me, I wish there had been a way to capture your performance. How does one do that? The beauty and the joy, the moments you all gave us, are heard in minds and believed in hearts. You brought us something which will sustain us in bleak moments. Thank you, Susan, Renata and Bruce.
The Merling Trio communicated the beauty of the music with such great technical care and emotional intensity, that I was enraptured. One moment melded perfectly into the next...truly organic...beautiful moment after beautiful moment! You made friends here, and I hope we will meet again sometime.
Thank you for all you, Renata and Bruce gave us. We are enriched.
Justine Estes, Black Hills Chamber Music Society, October 2009
The Merling Trio performed with standing ovations at the 15th Annual Suttons Bay JazzFest, adding a new dimension to the scope of presentations at JazzFest as they explored the dynamic intersection where Classical, Jazz, and Tango converge! They were fabulous, and their ensemble work was impeccable. Giving a sumptuous musical performance, they performed selections from their critically acclaimed CD, 'Music of Astor Piazzolla and Frank Proto'.
Piper Goldson, Suttons Bay Jazz Festival, July, 2007
Thanks so much for your wonderful appearance here last Sunday. I was very pleased with your programming. The Haydn was simply grand, and the timbre and precision both elegant and stylistic. The Piazzolla pieces were a wonderful surprise, and refreshing to hear. What pizazz! Of course the Dvorak simply flowed, gushing with sonic delights that flowed so effortlessly, coupled with artistic excellence. Verbal comments were well presented, and equally received. I'm sure you could tell that our audience loved every minute of the concert. Their comments, to me, expressed not only thanks for your presence, but delightful expressions of being exposed to this genre. Thank you for your contributions, not only during your 2 hours at Nardin Park, but for what you bring to audiences near and far.
Mel Rookus, Director, Music at Nardin Park
Your performance here at the Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts was one that will be long remembered by a devoted and appreciative audience. It was rewarding for us to observe such an enthusiastic audience...your program was an exciting choice of repertoire played with flawless technique and flare. We feel you are now part of the Dogwood family of entertainers and we are very pleased to have brought the Merling Trio to our community. Perhaps, you will come again to the Dogwood Center for another performance and master class.
Thanks, again...it was lovely! With all best wishes,
Diane Yonker, Program Manager
Thanks again for the wonderful concert last Friday. You played to rave reviews--everyone has been very positive in their comments. I even heard how wonderful you were from people who were not in attendance!
Thomas Davis, Director
The Merling Trio delivers a fantastic performance. If you have come for traditional or contemporary you will be impressed with their understanding and interpretation of the pieces they play. This trio really makes their audience feel that they have been let in on a best-kept secret that they should tell everyone about.
Jennifer Fair Margraf, Director, Sturgis Council of the Arts
Thank you very much for your performance the other evening! I have received many wonderful comments about your playing and it has really inspired some of the students to continue to improve their playing. It is always great to see that when it happens! The trios playing was incredible.
The musicality and communication between the three of you was impressive and it has given me more examples for me to show the students. You clearly demonstrated that music is not just about notes and rhythms and that you must react to the music for the music to come alive. Thank you!
It was a joy to hear and work with you and I look forward to doing it again!
Adam Davis, Director of Orchestras, Hudsonville High School
I still think of your concert here. It was so amazing and wonderful. I can hear your music in my mind today as I recall that excellent show.
I have been the Director for the Valentine Area Arts Council for quite a few years now and have seen many artists come and go. We have had lots good performances, all above average I would say, but there have been only a few that I would classify as superb and yours was among what I consider as our greats.
I am an admirer of talent that has been perfected but it is in the sharing of that talent, giving away what one has been given that I admire most of all. You did that with such style and passion and I was carried away by such a gift.
Yes it was just that, a gift to me.
I never properly thanked you for that but do so now. That performance was one that has lingered. Somehow your music and your passion for it touched my soul. Thank you for that, for a beautiful moment in time and for sharing it with me, with all of us. It was truly lovely.
Anne Quigley, Director, Valentine Area Arts council
“As we expected from your previous visit, Margaret and I were very impressed with the Merling Trio performance here on April 28, 2007. What a magical blending of piano and strings, highly skilled, wonderfully expressive playing, full richness in sound -- a true essence of chamber music.”
Bill and Margaret Lindberg, Lindberg Farm Chamber Music Series, Huntsville, Alabama
“I want to say ‘thanks’ again for the beautiful music you shared with our community and for the wonderful workshops you provided for area students. You did a remarkable job performing and teaching the elementary students and the evening performance was beautiful!”
Joyce Bloemendaal, Orange City Arts
“Thanks for the excellent concert with the Trio. It was a great program that was played marvelously.”
Prof. Tim McGarvey, Northwestern College
“Wow! That was incredible! Your concert was the perfect introduction to chamber music for the Music 1500 students, and it gave them a great first look at Brahms. Thank you so much for your talents and your kindness to share them with this class. Please pass on my gratitude also to Mr. Chan—he was fabulous.”
Dr. Daniel Jacobson, Western Michigan University
“Our front-of-house manager said ‘All the audience came out with signs of satisfaction on their faces…’ Congratulations! AND THANK YOU for making this such a successful event for us. It was very exciting and gratifying to hear you perform my work with expression and sense of purpose.”
Dr. Jeffrey Hoover, Illinois Central College
“Thank you all for our performance, and the audience loved having you. Hopefully again, soon!”
Gale Laubach, St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts
“Just a quick note to say bravo again for your performance on BPI’s Faculty Artist Series. Your full concert experience was a treat for our patrons and your performance was dazzling by all reports. Bravo, and thank you all again for your artistry.”
Anders Dahlberg, Bullock Performance Institute
“My thanks to you, The Merling Trio, Tom Knific, and Frank Proto. Students really had a rare treat when we attended the recital/presentation at our school.
I have heard so many positive remarks and comments from the teachers and students about the performance. Definite highlights were the opportunity of hearing your group perform the new composition by Frank Proto, the jazz piece played by Frank Proto and Tom Knific, and hearing all of you talk about your instruments and performing. Students will never forget hearing Mr. Proto talk about composing. You all have a great ability for relating with the students.
When artists, such as yourselves, share your gifts with the students it really helps to greatly promote the arts to our young people. Thanks again, for giving of your time and talents toward this cause.”
Dennis Burchett, Music Teacher, Kalamazoo Christian West Elementary School
“It was a delight to work with you! The Merling Trio Concert at the Owatonna Arts Center was wonderful. The selections and the brief commentary about the pieces and composers made for a very intimate and friendly experience. It was a delight to see your sensitivity to the music and each other as the music was performed, truly a very enjoyable evening of music. Thank you for sharing your time and talents with Owatonna.”
Silvan Durben, Director, Owatonna Arts Center
“Thanks for your performance and workshops. I heard nothing but glowing remarks about your interaction with all of the students here. Doug Langston, at Westside Elementary, was very careful to juxtapose the words ‘passion’ and ‘grace’ when describing your presentation there. I empathized with him, because I felt those elements were strongly present in your Thursday evening performance, too.”
Prof. Cliff Ganus, Harding University
“Thank you again for giving us such an exciting and inspiring concert. You played with such warmth and conviction and marvelous attention to nuance and detail. It was truly a delightful evening of music.
I especially appreciate your warmth and generosity in relating to our students. The afternoon lecture presentation was excellent. Thank you for discussing the diplomacy involved in working together and its application to everyday life. It was fascinating to watch you communicate with each other as you played.
We are much the richer for your having been with us. Your students are most fortunate to have you as their teachers. Thank you again for a wonderful musical experience.”
Prof. Georgia Wellborn, Union University
“I hope that you share our feeling that your Vivace concert was a major achievement. I’ve had a stream of wildly enthusiastic conversations with people who were in our audience that night. People have remarked that they heard beautifully worked out interpretations, very excitingly performed, which served up the ‘musical essence’ of each work. There has been praise of styles, the overall musical sensitivity, the energy, the moving effect of the Shostakovich Trio, and the ‘loaded’ content (and exuberant ending) of the wonderful Brahms Trio No. 2. A number of people have said that the concert illustrated the argument that there is no substitute for live chamber music, well performed. Your appearance was one of the finest moments in Vivace’s 24 year history.”
David Kreger, Birmingham Temple Vivace
“Your performance on our concert series was spectacular—awesome! Everyone loved the Merling Trio. I never had so many calls the next day from concert-goers saying what artists you were and how much they enjoyed your selections.
I, too, thought the audience was very appreciative and responsive. And this to a program that was mainly classical. A friend of mine said that during the Schubert Trio, there was no moving around, no fidgeting in the seats—just very rapt attention and enjoyment.”
Juanita Scharnweber, Marine City Concert Series
“Just a quick note to thank you, Bruce, and Renata again for the outstanding performances that you gave in Gainesville. I have heard nothing but outstanding and glowing praise about your concert.”
Jack Howorth, Gainesville Pro Musica
“Thank you again for the two wonderful performances in Chicago! The performance on Northeastern Illinois University’s Jewel Box Series was excellent and the concert at Montgomery Place showed how well you connect to any audience. Your music was truly special and I appreciated how versatile you each were in adapting to different concert environments. You captivated each audience with your musicality and passion for the music.”
Christie Vohs, Northeastern Illinois University
“On behalf of the Cultural Arts Committee of The Ohio State University at Marion, I would like to express our appreciation for the outstanding performance your trio gave for our Five Nights on Campus series. It was exciting, passionate, and masterfully presented. Everything we expected and much more! It truly was one of the very best programs we’ve had since the inception of Five Nights.”
Karen Ream, Ohio State University at Marion
“I wanted to tell you how much we all enjoyed the concert presented by the Merling Trio on the Chamber Music Series of the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association. The program was excellent, comprising very ‘approachable’ music from quite different eras.
I have observed over the last few years that our audiences really enjoy an informal atmosphere and hearing comments from the artists. Thus, you had them on your side from the start with the introductions each of you made during the concert. The enthusiastic applause during the concert should have told you how much everyone enjoyed the concert. I had many requests after the concert to invite you back sometime. Thanks for a delightful evening.”
Joe McGrory, Oak Ridge Civic Music Association
“A mere thank you seems inadequate for the beautiful performance you gave at the MMTA State Convention. The Merling Trio is truly world class! The master class was delightful and so very informative for the entire group. Your artistry, sensitivity, and skill was the highlight of the convention.”
Eileen Keel, Vice-President, Michigan Music Teachers Association
“Thank you for a wonderful evening, it turned out just as I had hoped. The music was glorious, your trio was so very personable, the audience was so appreciative. It was a grand beginning for us as far as I am concerned and you folk made it so, Thank you.”
Tom Lowry, Carnegie Center for the Arts
“The Merling Trio performed a brilliant program for the Michigan Music Teachers State Convention. I was extremely gratified to hear the many fine comments from the teachers and students from throughout Michigan about this unique and exciting concert. For the remainder of the convention, scores of teachers, students, and parents made it a point to thank me for arranging these wonderful programs. All said that the Merling Trio was the highlight of the convention.”
Jerome Stasson, State String Chairman, Michigan Music Teachers Association
“Let me say again what a treat it was to have the three of you here to perform for us. I hope that you enjoyed doing the concert as much as the audience enjoyed hearing you. I heard many fine comments from our patrons regarding your performance.”
Prof. Dan Vander Linden, Silver Lake College
“Thank you for coming. The Merling Trio was an inspiration to our students, both in the performance and in the master class!”
Dr. Jon Ensminger, Northland Baptist Bible College
“Thank you all so very much for agreeing to perform on the Milwood Series. It was a delightful afternoon and I sensed you were enjoying it too. Your music was lovely and your presence kind and gracious.”
Carl Doubleday, The Milwood Series
“The program was beautifully designed, just the right kind of music and length, and your playing was magnificent!”
Gerald Lehmann, Marshall Friends of the Arts
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COMMENTS FROM CONCERT PATRONS
Thank you for last night's performance in Durango. My roommate gave me a call and said, hey, there is a trio playing up at the college, want to come check it out? That's all the information I had before entering the little theater. I was blown away by all of your playing. It was great to see three people play such incredible music. I can't say that I listen to classical music often but I Loved every bit of the performance. Thank for coming to our tiny little town of Durango.
Brandon Brashers, Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO
Your performance at Western State College was one of a kind for me. There are many minor, but significant, influences that happen throughout life, and the concert was one of mine. As a performer I understand the feeling of inspiring people, and I thought I would let you know that you reached me. I'm sure I'm not alone, either.
Brendan Kohler, Western State College, Gunnison, CO
Your recital was awesome!!
Thank you for giving me inspiration to continuing practicing!!!
Sandra, Mesa State University, Grand Junction, CO
Please forgive me for not staying for the reception--despite what you all might think, the reception was definitely the least important part of the evening for me! I enjoyed every second of the concert, from beginning to end. I know you've told me some of the anecdotes about the trio's travels, and they were very funny to read.
Such a wonderful concert----I have to say, I thought your playing in the Dvorak was absoloutely gorgeous--from beginning to end. The main reason I didn't stay was that from the first notes of the Dvorak I started weeping!! Not sad, not happy---it just hit a deep chord in me--truly, something in that piece awakened my abiding sense of musical emotions....anyway I kept wiping away my tears throughout the piece and the thought of making social chitchat was impossible. But I did want to let you know how much I loved the concert.....
The Merling Trio is the new Beaux Arts Trio!! Your performance at Chamber Arts North in Glen Arbor, MI on 08/22/08 was absolute Perfection!!! Your Piazzolla, Mozart, and Dvorak were Fabulous!!!
Piper & Harry Goldson
Thanks for the beautiful performance on Friday, February 15, 2008! It was absolutely perfect for my community college audience. And everyone enjoyed meeting you at our home afterwards. Hope the rest of your Colorado tour was enjoyable.
Kevin Garry, Front Range Community College
My daughter is a 6th grade violin player...this is her first year. I had never been to a concert like I went to on Tuesday. The kids all did so wonderfully and it was so wonderful to see how the kids got better year by year, but to see you all play your wonderful music was breath taking. I have never seen anyone play anything live that close before...the way Susan sways at the piano was brilliant, and Bruce, your passion in your face and your expressions were priceless. I found myself swaying back and forth and feeling the music!
I hope my children grow to play even a little like the 3 of you. Kudos to you on a wonderful performance! Thanks for showing the children what it takes and what is possible with determination!
Amy Hall, Hudsonville, MI
I just got in the door from the most enjoyable concert I've been to in a while! While I've always been astounded at the beautiful playing in the Antioch Piano Series, I discover that if you add two or more instruments and true musicians to the piano, the result is something which mere words cannot describe. I myself am a musician (trumpet, piano, bassoon), and love the complexity of the classical styles of music. The heart-wrenching violin solos seemed to engrave themselves into my mind, along with the sublime cello and piano solos. The history that was given before each section of music was interesting, and helped give the music more depth. Thank you!
Robert Worrell, Yellow Springs, OH
I really enjoyed your concert last night. As I told you afterward, Mozart is my favorite and this is the first time I've ever liked anything Shostokovich. It was a beautiful and haunting piece. And the tangos were great. The "Classical Surroundings" CD is superb. I've been playing it all day! You all are SO talented and you blend so well. Hope you'll come back soon.
Jo Lindamood, Canton, OH
BRAVO!!! Your performance was incredible!
Sandra VanderRoest, Kalamazoo, MI
“It was such a privilege for me to hear your truly marvelous performance. Each time I hear the Merling Trio, I am spellbound. What a demanding program you picked! The Grier piece by itself seemed to me to be inordinately challenging. The Shostakovich was as sublimely played as any Shostakovich I had even heard played by anyone at anytime. Thank you all so much for a truly splendid evening.”
Dr. Timothy Light, Kalamazoo, MI
“My wife and I want to thank you folks for a wonderful afternoon of music. I’d never heard the Dumky so attractively played. I’ve always wondered why it didn’t hit me more strongly since my grandparents on both sides were Czeck. Now it fits right in. Over the years, we’ve found that it often takes a special group to get at the heart of a piece. Thank you for that and for the Piazzolla, whom we’d never heard before.”
Bob and Joyce Manyik, Charleston, WV
“All three of you have a love for your music: you play together not because it is your job but because it is your desire. Your performance was beautiful in every way.”
Patricia Spears, Olivet, MI
“The concert was like a breath of heaven for me. The expert playing of all of you combined to create an awesome performance.”
Linda Fassett, Kalamazoo, MI
“Just a note to say how much I enjoyed your concert here in Athens last Sunday. Thanks for introducing me to Piazzolla.
The Mozart was splendid and the Shostakovich was very moving. Hearing it performed live just days after his death was an experience. I especially Renata's introduction.
Thanks again for your performance. I feel blessed to have heard your wonderful music.”
Lou Davidson, Athens, Alabama
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