Trio Gaia Names New Pianist, NEC Alumna Ariel Mo ’20, ’22 MM, ’24 GD

Trio Gaia
Photo: Laurie Swope

Pianist and NEC alumna Ariel Mo ’20, ’22 MM, ’24 GD has been named the newest member of Trio Gaia, NEC's most recent graduate piano trio in residence. Mo succeeds Andrew Barnwell ’20, ’23 MM, ’24 GD, who leaves the group to pursue other projects. 

Trio members cellist Yi-Mei Templeman ’20, ’23 MM, ’24 GD and violinist Grant Houston ’20, ’23 MM, ’24 GD are delighted to welcome Mo, who has previously stepped in for the group at teaching and performing engagements, as an official member. 

Trio Gaia
Photo: Laurie Swope

Regarding this news, Houston shared: "For both Yi-Mei and myself, it's been a highlight of our lives building Trio Gaia with Andrew. There's really no way to describe the bond we've shared and the adventures we've had over the last six years, and we're wishing him the best on his next journeys. With Ariel joining us, we couldn't be more thrilled for the next chapter of the trio. We've loved working with her in the past and are so lucky to have found in her a musical partner who is so engaging, imaginative, instinctive, and forward-thinking. It's exciting to be bringing the new Trio Gaia to stages in the fall, and we know listeners will love her just as much as we do."

"I'm very excited to be joining Trio Gaia, whom I have admired for so many years both for their uniquely warm and dynamic musical presence and their commitment to a diverse array of composers, styles, and audiences," said Mo. "Playing with Grant and Yi-Mei always feels instantly weightless, so connected yet free, and I'm so looking forward to our performances together this fall." 

Mo, who studied with piano faculty members Bruce Brubaker and Stephen Drury at NEC, has performed in venues including Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall, Residenz Munich, and the Cutler Majestic Theatre, as well as The Lilypad, An Die Musik, and Spectrum NYC. In May 2023, with support from an Entrepreneurial Musicianship grant, she created WATERx, an interdisciplinary concert and art installation that examined our irrevocable relationship with water through the dual lenses of psychology and ecology. 

Mo will begin her DMA studies in Keyboard Performance at Cornell University this fall. She will also present a four-day festival at Cornell commemorating Charles Ives' 150th anniversary. Other upcoming projects include a new solo piano work by Dongryul Lee and a residency at Avaloch Farms with violinist KJ Macdonald.

Formed in 2018, Trio Gaia aims to offer dynamic and relevant experiences inside and outside the concert hall. The trio has won several competitions, including first prize at the 2022 WDAV Young Chamber Musicians Competition. Recent performances include appearances at the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, Davidson College Concert Series, and internationally in Osaka, Japan. They have played in various locations in the US and Panama and attended summer festivals like the Chamber Music Workshop of the Perlman Music Program and Yale’s Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. In the 23/24 season, they debuted at the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, Harvard Musical Association, and the Shouse Institute of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival and received a Creative Residency at the Perlman Music Program. The trio's mentors include NEC faculty members Vivian WeilersteinDonald Weilerstein, and Kim Kashkashian

Explore Trio Gaia's upcoming season. 

Playing with Grant and Yi-Mei always feels instantly weightless, so connected yet free, and I'm so looking forward to our performances together this fall.
Ariel Mo ’20, ’22 MM, ’24 GD