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Great Plains Trio performs in Heath Recital Hall

  • Jeremy Starr, head of string studies at ESU, gives the introduction to the Great Plains Trio concert Saturday night. Dr. Martin Cuellar on piano, Dr. Jeremy Starr on violin, and Dr. Susan Mayo on cello performed in Heath Recital Hall on Aug. 23. (Nicholas Sumner)
  • The Great Plains Trio performs in Heath Recital Hall in Beach Hall at 7 p.m., Aug. 23 in Heath Recital Hall. (Nicholas Sumner)

The Great Plains Trio, also known as Emporia State’s faculty string trio, performed two large scale works, “Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas” by Astor Piazzolla and “Trio No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 49” by Felix Mendelssohn last Saturday at Heath Recital Hall.

“The first year we did the second trio, (“Mendelssohn’s Trio No 2. in C minor”) so this time we did the first one, which is much more well-known,” said Jeremy Starr, assistant professor of music and violin player in the trio.

The group had played all four of the Piazzolla seasons, just not all in one concert.

“Now we decided to perform all four,” Starr said. “It’s kind of like we’re completing ourselves.”

The Great Plains Trio was founded in 1976 at ESU and performed together for 21 years before disbanding in 1997. The current trio has been playing since 2012, performing about four concerts per season. The group features ESU music instructors Starr; Susan Mayo, celloist and cello instructor and Martin Cuellar, pianist and professor of piano.

“Their personalities really blossom on stage,” said Sarah Harrington, junior music performance major.

 Over the summer, the trio traveled outside of the Emporia area to Paraguay.

“There is a nationwide organization called Partners of America that partners American states with Latin American countries to facilitate exchanges, cultural, business (and) what not,” Mayo said. “Kansas is partnered with Paraguay.”

Mayo and Starr traveled to Paraguay last year to play some duo programs and do master program classes with students. As a result, they were invited back to play the Beethoven Triple Concerto this past summer.

While they were there, they worked with youth orchestras. There are several programs in both rural and urban parts of Paraguay for kids.

“Everybody is so involved and so happy to be a part of this. They have huge waiting lists in order to get into these orchestras so if you’re in there, it’s a big deal,” Mayo said. “(The kids) practice from when they get out of school at three until ten every single night… The current conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic is a product of that system.”

In the future, the Trio hopes their involvement in Paraguay will lead to students from those orchestra programs coming to ESU.

“We have a program here that’s called a performer’s certificate, where you can come for a year and study intensive English and just take music classes,” Mayo said.

The Great Plains Trio will perform the Beethoven Triple Concerto they played in Paraguay with the Emporia Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, Nov. 15 in Albert Taylor Hall.

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