Trio Cleonice Chosen

Trio Cleonice becomes the sixth ensemble in Professional Training Program

Trio Cleonice Chosen for NEC’s Prestigious Piano Trio Training Program

Group Formed at Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival Will Spend Two Years at Conservatory Under Guidance of Vivian Hornik Weilerstein

New England Conservatory has chosen Trio Cleonice to become the next ensemble in its prestigious Professional Piano Trio Training Program directed by Vivian Hornik Weilerstein.  Formed in 2008 at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, the Trio is comprised of violinist Ari Isaacman-Beck, cellist Gwen Krosnick, and pianist Emely Phelps.  Beginning in September, the group will spend two years doing intensive work with Weilerstein (see photo below) as well as other members of the chamber music faculty.  Established in 2002, the program seeks out exceptional ensembles that show the talent and commitment necessary to pursue a concert career. Trio Cleonice is the sixth group to be chosen.

In the group's short time together, Trio Cleonice has performed a broad and diverse repertoire, including trios of Mozart and Haydn, Beethoven’s two trios Op. 70, trios of Schubert and Brahms, and Tchaikovsky’s epic work for the medium. Trio Cleonice is also committed to performing contemporary music and has worked with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Richard Wernick on his Piano Trio, including premiering previously unperformed sections of the work.

As an Emerging Ensemble at Juilliard, the trio has presented frequent programs at the school, in Paul and Morse Recital Halls. In addition to these concerts, the trio has been featured on programs at the Society for Ethical Culture and Peter Jay Sharp Theater in New York City. In 2009, Trio Cleonice performed a series of monthly house concerts in New York to benefit Kneisel Hall. It was also invited to perform in the finals of the Coleman Chamber Music Competition in Pasadena, California and recently traveled to Germany to compete in the first International Chamber Music Competition Hamburg. Trio Cleonice has worked with Joel Krosnick, Laurie Smukler, Robert Mann, Mark Steinberg, Seymour Lipkin, Jane Coop, Joseph Kalichstein, and Ronald Copes.

Trio Cleonice lives and rehearses in New York, and frequently travels to perform and teach. Highlights of the 2010-2011 season include a week-long residency in October in Blue Hill, Maine, with performances at the Blue Hill Congregational Church and in local schools, a masterclass at Husson College in Bangor, and outreach in the Blue Hill area; a January tour in central Maryland; appearances on the west coast in collaboration with violist Meredith Crawford; and continued concertizing in New York and frequent outreach performances across the east coast. In expressing their aspirations for the Trio, the group has stated: “We talk often about creating community space for music—ways and places for educating people about music, allowing them to hear it in an unpretentious, warm environment, and for ongoing discussion between audience and performer.  We are devoted to the deepest level of exploration in our own playing, and communicating the joy of that exploration to every audience we can reach.”

Trio Cleonice takes its name from Cleonice, the local-centric Mediterranean bistro in Ellsworth, Maine. In between rehearsing and teaching, Isaacman-Beck, Krosnick, and Phelps take great pleasure in cooking together and in fine dining in New York and other cities where they travel.

Individual member biographies

Ari Isaacman-Beck, violin
Violinist Ari Isaacman-Beck, originally from Minneapolis, was the recipient of the second prize at the Sion-Valais International Violin Competition as well as the Joseph and Elsie Scharff Prize at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has performed frequent solo recitals in New York and throughout the Midwest, and appeared with the New York City Ballet Orchestra during the ensemble's 2010 New York and summer seasons. Prior to three summers at Kneisel Hall, Isaacman-Beck participated in the ENCORE School for Strings in Ohio.

Isaacman-Beck received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute as a student of David Updegraff, and his Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Ronald Copes. Isaacman-Beck is currently completing his Professional Studies Diploma at Mannes as a student of Mark Steinberg and Laurie Smukler 

Gwen Krosnick, cello
Cellist Gwen Krosnick, from Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, received her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees after completing the double-degree program at Oberlin College and Conservatory, where she majored in Russian Language and Literature and studied with Darrett Adkins.

Krosnick has premiered works written for her by Ralph Shapey (Prelude and Scherzando for Cello and Piano) and Richard Wernick (Suites No. 1 and No. 2 for Unaccompanied Cello).

She is an alumna of the Kronberg Cello Masterclasses, where she worked with Gary Hoffman, and attended the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove as a member of Ralph Kirshbaum's studio. She was the winner of the Cleveland Cello Society's Agnew Prize for Bach and participated as baroque cellist in a residency with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants.

Prior to her years at Kneisel Hall, Krosnick spent four summers at Greenwood Music Camp, where she returned as a counselor and assistant in 2010. Krosnick spent the 2009-2010 season as cellist in the Biava Quartet, concertizing and teaching across the United States. She has given masterclasses at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Peabody Institute of Music, and recently joined the faculty of the New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program as a chamber music coach.

Emely Phelps, piano
Pianist Emely Phelps, a native of Frederick, Maryland, received her Masters degree as a student of Julian Martin at the Juilliard School, where she also completed her undergraduate studies with Mr. Martin. While at Juilliard, Phelps was the recipient of the John Erskine Prize for academic and artistic achievement.

Phelps has been a prizewinner in many competitions, including the Beethoven Society of America Maria Fisher Competition, the Second New York Piano Competition, and the National Symphony Orchestra’s Young Soloists Competition.

In addition to her three years at Kneisel Hall, Phelps has spent summers at the Banff International Keyboard Masterclass, the Sergei Babayan International Piano Academy, and the Cliburn Institute at Texas Christian University. A devoted teacher, Phelps has taught on the piano faculty of the Geneva Conservatory of Music and maintains a private studio in Manhattan. She is currently the pianist for Joel Krosnick’s studio at Juilliard.

For further information, check the NEC Website.


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, Contemporary Improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Collaboration Programs, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music and jazz.

NEC presents more than 600 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, 106-year old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115