Bearthoven [ \'bâr-toh-vən\ ] is a piano trio creating a new repertoire for a familiar instrumentation by
commissioning works from leading young composers. Karl Larson (piano), Pat Swoboda (bass), andMatt
Evans (percussion) have combined their individual voices and diverse musical backgrounds, coming
together to create a versatile trio focused on frequent and innovative commissioning of up-and-coming
composers. Bearthoven is rapidly building a diverse repertoire by challenging composers to apply their
own voice to an instrumentation that, while common amongst jazz and pop idioms, is currently foreign in
the contemporary classical world.
Bearthoven? exists in an era where music no longer fits into discrete genre categories. Audiences have
well trained ears attuned to aural cues and sonic associations, connecting pieces of music with our larger
conception of culture like never before. The current generation has access to an unprecedented amount
and variety of music, and these associations grow stronger and more developed with each technological
development. Larson, Swoboda, and Evans believe these developments raise interesting questions about
how contemporary chamber ensembles approach commissioning, programming, and marketing
strategies. Through their work in Bearthoven, the musicians strive to address these questions, developing
a new model for contemporary chamber groups in the 21st century.
Bearthoven’s? instrumentation, while a clear reference to jazz and pop idioms, is intended to serve as an
access point for the current listener. When commissioning new works, the trio invites composers to
explore their cultural relationship with the instrumentation, creating a dialogue between their
compositional voice and their own associations with the piano, bass, and percussion sound palette. This
approach is a provocative prompt for composers and provides the audience with a secure sonic foothold,
even in the most abstract compositions.