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Ahn Trio: Sisters to perform for Bemidji Concert Series

The Bemidji Concert Series is presenting the Ahn Trio, featuring sisters Maria, Lucia and Angella, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Bemidji High School Auditorium. Submitted Photo

The Ahn Trio members recall many memorable performances, but the best experiences are sharing music in a variety of venues.

"When my sisters and I played for Lincoln Center Out of Doors, it was pouring rain and hundreds of people stood holding their umbrellas listening to us," said Angella Ahn in a telephone interview. "But there are so many memorable experiences like playing for thousands at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey or the Maui Cultural Center in Hawaii. It isn't the size of the audience, because we play in large halls and smaller places; it is the experience of having people share our music with us."

The Ahn Trio - sisters Angella on violin, Lucia on piano and Maria on cello - will perform in Bemidji at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, at the Bemidji High School Auditorium. They will bring with them a blend of classical, fusion, new age, jazz, rock and whatever other genre they choose to play for the Bemidji Concert Series.

"We are living in an interesting time for young classical musicians, and we are exploring different styles," said Angella. "We have friends like award winning composer Kenji Bunch who composed a complete suite for us for latest CD, 'Lullaby for my Favorite Insomniac,' or jazz guitarist Pat Metheny who composed a song for us that we will play at our concert in Bemidji."

The sisters, identical twins Lucia and Maria and Angella, were born in Seoul, Korea, where Lucia's kindergarten teacher told their parents that she couldn't leave the school room piano alone. Her parents let her take piano lessons. Angella and Maria soon started to take music lessons as.

"We came to the U.S. in our early teens because our parents wanted us to have a diverse educational experience, and we are very thankful," said Angella.

The sisters continued their musical education at Juilliard in New York City, a place they still call home, and were featured by TIME magazine in 1987 in a cover story about them as "Asian-American Whiz Kids."

In 2003, they were selected by People Magazine as three of the 50 Most Beautiful People, a title that led them to be featured in Vogue and GQ magazines and they later posed in ads for the GAP and Anne Klein.

The Ahn Trio is known for the ability to eradicate the walls that exist between art forms by partnering with the David Parsons Dance Company, Pat Metheny art installations, pop singers and photographers. But they have never left their classical roots behind. Their recordings of Ravel and Villa-Lobos trios were named "one of Ravel's best and never played better" by Audio Magazine and EMI's CD of trios by Dvorak, Suk and Shostakovich won Germany's ECHO award.

An appearance on MTV in 1997 on "Unplugged" led to their album, "Ahn-Plugged," and more recently, they performed at the Czech Grammy Awards with Tata Bojs. They travel all over the world to play to diverse audiences in all musical categories.

"Now, we are working on a CD based on the music of Brazil," Angella said. "It's a new project and we will premiere it at a concert at the end of February. We would love to work with a classical ballet company in the future for music and dance complement each other. It is an exciting time for all of us!"

Tickets are $5 for students in elementary, high school and college and $20 for adults and are available now at the Bemidji State University Music Department, Lueken's North, Tutto Bene and at the door.

This performance is part of the Bemidji Concert Series which will offer three concerts this spring: The Ahn Trio, Doc Severinsen and El Ritmo De La Vida on Feb. 28 and violinist Midori on April 8. The supporting organizations are the BSU Department of Music, Bemidji Pioneer, Paul Bunyan Telephone, Villa Calma Bed and Breakfast and the BSU Student Activity Allocation Committee. For more information call 755-2915.