Described by The Strad as "sensational" and "bewitching" and as "models of vibrancy and control" by Gramophone, the GRAMMY-nominated, Chicago-based Lincoln Trio —Desirée Ruhstrat, violin; David Cunliffe, cello; and Marta Aznavoorian, piano — takes its name from its home, the heartland of the United States, the land of Lincoln.
Formed in 2003, the trio has been praised for its polished presentations of well-known chamber works and its ability to forge new paths with contemporary repertoire. The group's reputation as a first-rate ensemble draws an eclectic audience of sophisticated music lovers, young admirers of contemporary programs, and students discovering chamber music for the first time. Bringing together performing experiences spanning the globe, each member is an artist of international renown. Violinist Desirée Ruhstrat has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe, appearing at the White House and performing on a live radio broadcast heard around the world with the Berlin Radio Orchestra; cellist David Cunliffe has performed with the BBC and Royal Scottish orchestras and toured as a member of the Balanescu Quartet; pianist Marta Aznavoorian has garnered critical acclaim for her engagements with orchestras and in concert halls worldwide including at Chicago’s Symphony Center, Washington’s John F. Kennedy Center, and the Sydney Opera House.
The trio has performed throughout the United States, including appearances at Carnegie's Weill Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Bryant Park Festival, Ravinia Festival, Green Center, Barge Music, Le Poisson Rouge, the Indianapolis Symphony Beethoven Chamber Music Series, University of Chicago, Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, and in Springfield, Illinois, where the trio was chosen to celebrate the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial with President Barack Obama. International engagements include performances throughout Europe, Asia, and South America.
Champions of new music, the Lincoln Trio has performed numerous compositions written especially for them, including premieres of seven trios by members of the Chicago Composers Consortium, an award winning work dedicated to the trio by young ASCAP winner Conrad Tao, a Chamber Music America Award commission with composer Laura Elise Schwendinger, and works by Stacy Garrop, Mischa Zupko, Janice Misurell-Mitchell, Ravinia-commissioned works for the Lincoln Bicentennial by James Crowley, Eric Sawyer, and Lawrence Dillon, and, most recently, a commission from Colombia, South America, for a Trio by renowned composer Juan-Antonio Cuellar.
Winners of the 2008 Master Players International Competition in Venice, Italy and recipients of the 2011 prestigious Young Performers Career Advancement Award, the trio’s 2016–2017 season includes performances throughout the US and Canada, with travels to Germany and South America, where they will tour throughout Colombia and Ecuador performing Beethoven's Triple Concerto.
Staunch proponents of music education, the Lincoln Trio has had residencies at the Music Institute of Chicago as well as San Francisco State University, the University of Wisconsin Madison, and SUNY Fredonia. The trio is currently Artist-In-Residence at Chicago’s MERIT School of Music.