The Raphael Trio in Concert

World-Renowned Trio Performs Mendelssohn Trios, Featuring the Salm Family Piano Saved from the Holocaust

Saturday, March 30; 7:30 PM


The world-renowned Raphael Trio will return to Sonoma County in a benefit performance for Congregation Ner Shalom. The Trio will play two Mendelssohn trios, both are well known and loved, brilliant and virtuosic: the Trio #1 in D Minor and #2 in C Minor.

This is the Raphael Trio’s second concert at Ner Shalom. This is an intimate venue and last year’s concert sold out. The concert celebrates Ner Shalom’s stewardship of a German-built Steinway baby grand piano, entrusted to Ner Shalom by David Salm, brother of the Raphael Trio’s cellist, Susan Salm. The instrument belonged to their mother Erna, a concert pianist in Germany. When the Nazis came to power, Erna Salm shipped her pianos to safety. Later she and her husband managed to escape and begin a new life in the United States. 

After the war, re-united with her beloved baby grand, Erna and her informative performances became a staple of Chicago’s musical life with the establishment of regular monthly “House Concerts”, a tradition from her life in Europe that she successfully brought to the American public.  She and her four children - the “Salm Ensemble” - were often featured in radio, on television and in the Chicago newspapers. Read more about the piano here.

One of the Salm children, Susan, became a concert cellist, touring internationally with her mother, performing as a soloist and chamber musician in the US and overseas. During her studies at the Juilliard School of Music she and her colleagues formed the Raphael Trio.

One of the foremost ensembles in the US and abroad, the Raphael Trio has been lauded nationally and internationally: in NY, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, London, Frankfurt, Vienna, Geneva: "One group stands out light years ahead of the rest: it is the Raphael Trio. The Raphael is extraordinary and it took about two seconds to find it out" (Boston) "This is the high-wire act of chamber music... precision, vitality, and uncommon union of spirit. And all without a net."(San Antonio) “The Raphael Trio gives new meaning to music.” (Vienna)  

The members of the Trio developed an immediate and personal connection to the community in Sonoma County: Naoko Tanaka, violinist of the Raphael Trio recalls, "I still remember the feeling of enthusiasm with the audience in the room and their smiles on their faces." Pianist Daniel Epstein said, "We look forward to revisiting our wonderful new friends in Cotati… what great memories of a warm welcoming audience!"

Cellist Susan Salm commented, "The intensity and warmth of that evening will remain with all of us for many years to come. I knew that performing with my mother’s Steinway baby grand would be emotional and reminiscent of my childhood and early professional years, and for that to be brought back to me in Ner Shalom’s welcoming and loving embrace was absolutely wonderful. My colleagues and I were moved in a way that was quite special for each of us, individually and as an ensemble. We tangibly felt everyone’s presence: their hearts were with us, and ours with them, and we all knew it was joyous, and serious, and happy, all at once.  Returning to this audience and in this space is something we look forward to, knowing it will once again be exhilarating!”

Ner Shalom’s Spiritual Leader, Reb Irwin Keller, added, “Ner Shalom is proud to be the home of Erna Salm's piano, and also the Sonoma County home of the Raphael Trio. It is also of note that the Trio is playing Mendelssohn. Felix Mendelssohn's grandfather, Moses Mendelssohn, was a very important figure in European Jewish history – his work ultimately birthed the progressive denominations of Judaism. The connections between the music, the players, the instruments and our history will be tied very tight that night.”

Impacted by Fire?

Thanks to a grant from the North Bay Wildfire Emergency Fund of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, and Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay, if you were impacted by the fire, we want you to enjoy these concerts regardless of your ability to pay. Just email us!

Note: Ner Shalom is a strictly scent- and chem-free venue. Please (please please please) be mindful.

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