The Monte Piano Trio has performed in major concert halls such as Berliner Philharmonie, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall and Covent Garden in London, Daning Theater in Shanghai and the Romanian Atheneum. Their television and radio broadcasts have included BBC, WDR, CBS, DLF, SWR, TVR and Radio Clasica.
Formed in 2008 at the Musikhochschule in Frankfurt am Main, The Monte Piano Trio were subsequently invited to play at renowned festivals such as Schleswig-Holstein, Osnabrück, Mozartfest Würzburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommen, Heidelberger Frühling, Stift International Festival in Holland and Constella Festival in the USA. The trio’s engagements have taken them to Germany, USA, UK (including performances at the Wigmore Hall, Conway Hall and Kings Place), Italy, Spain, Sweden, Austria, Romania, Turkey, Holland and Brazil. They won first prizes at the Mirabent Competition in Spain and at the European Karlsruhe Competition in Germany and were also prize winners at several international competitions including Schumann (Germany), Maria Canals (Spain), Brahms (Austria) and Almere (Holland).
The trio is featured on the sound track of “Maestro”, a documentary film which explores the life of musicians through the eyes of Paavo Järvi. In 2015 they released their CD, “From a Tender Age”, in partnership with Genuin Classics. It was chosen as CD of the Month by Stereo Magazine, highly recommended (five stars) by Fono Forum and was featured in the “Klassik Stars” programme on Bayerischen Rundfunk (BR). The Monte Piano Trio’s second recording for the Genuin Label, “Triptych” was released in May 2017, featuring music by three female composers from three different countries and three different centuries: Clara Schumann, Amy Beach and Natalie Klouda, whose ‘Fantasy Triptych’ was commissioned by the trio in 2014.
In September 2019, the Trio was invited to give a series of three concerts at the George Enescu Festival in Romania, alongside many of the world’s leading orchestras and chamber groups, with one of their performances live-streamed and recorded for broadcast on Romanian National Radio.
Having received a Diploma with Honors from the Musikhochschule in Essen, the trio continued their studies at “Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia” in Madrid where they graduated with the highest honours. The Trio has received artistic guidance from Menahem Pressler, Günter Pichler, Ralf Gothóni, Dirk Mommertz, Ferenc Rados and Eberhard Feltz.
Monte Piano Trio Live – Brahms Piano Trio No. 2 in C Major, Op. 87 – Scherzo
Francesco Sica (violin) was born in Catania into a musical family. He studied at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Frankfurt with Priya Mitchell and Sophia Jaffé and at the Folkwang University of Arts in Essen with Dirk Mommertz. Francesco continued his studies at the renowned Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid with Ralf Gothóni, where he graduated with the highest honours. His musical development was enriched by masterclasses with Ivry Gitlis, Günter Pichler, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Ferenc Rados, Menahem Pressler, Eberhard Feltz, Stephan Milenkovich and Sergey Girshenko.
Francesco has won prizes at several national and international competitions including the prestigious Biennale di Violino Vittorio Veneto, Brahms Competition and Almere International Chamber Music Competition, and has performed extensively throughout Europe, North and South America. As a soloist, Francesco has collaborated on various occasions with the Podlaskiej Chamber Orchestra in Poland and Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto in Italy.
Francesco is a passionate chamber musician and has performed with Daniel Rowland, Priya Mitchell, Polina Leshenko, Julian Arp, David Cohen, Vladimir Mendelssohn and Katya Apekisheva amongst others in several European festivals.
The Italian cellist Claude Frochaux began his studies at the age of six at the Suzuki Talent Centre and continued his development at the Conservatory in Turin, where he completed his Diploma in 2003. He studied at the Musikhochschule in Frankfurt with Michael Sanderling, where he subsequently completed his studies with the highest rating in the soloist class. He has received artistic guidance from E. Dindo, P. Müller, M. Hornstein, J. Goritzki, the Altenberg Trio Wien, E. Feltz, M. Pressler and R. Gothóni at the Reina Sofia Music School in Madrid. Claude has won several national prizes at competitions in Italy and is the first prize winner of the Polytechnic Society and the DAAD Frankfurt. He has also played in numerous orchestras such as Bamberg Symphony, Spira Mirabilis, Midvest Ensemble, Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino and I Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano.
Claude is a passionate chamber musician and regularly plays chamber music with artists such as Priya Mitchell, Daniel Rowland, Vladimir Mendelssohn, David Cohen, Marianna Shirinyan, Polina Leschenko and Sharon Kam. Major festival appearances have included SchleswigHolstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommen, Osnabrück, Würzburg Mozart Festival, the Beethoven Festival in Bonn, Heidelberg Spring Festival and many others throughout Europe and South America.
The Romanian pianist Irina Botan won full scholarships to the Yehudi Menuhin School and to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
She has performed extensively in the UK in venues such as Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Covent Garden, Purcell Room, Cadogan Hall, Conway Hall, Fairfield Halls, St John’s Smith Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Snape Maltings, Millenium Centre, St James’s Palace and Windsor Castle. She has been broadcast on BBC Radio and TV and participated in the International Piano Series at the South Bank Centre. Irina is Founder and Director of the annual Highgate International Chamber Music Festival in London as well as Artistic Director of Kammermusikfest Sylt in Germany.
Outside the UK, Irina toured the Netherlands, Italy, France, Austria, Spain, Germany (including a recent performance at the Berliner Philarmonie), Romania , China, Japan and USA -where a performance at the World Bank in Washington D.C. was broadcast on CBS. In Paris, Irina played for the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights at the UNESCO Headquarters. In Romania she performed in venues such as the Romanian Atheneum, the National Radio Hall and Enescu Museum and has collaborated since the age of eleven with the National Radio Orchestra and the Bucharest Virtuosi. Irina has been frequently broadcast on TV and Radio in her native country.
As a chamber musician Irina has performed with musicians such as Ivry Gitlis, Alexander Baillie, Nicola Benedetti, Alina Ibragimova, Sophia Jaffé, Priya Mitchell, Daniel Röhn, Alexander Sitkovetsky, Vladimir Mendelssohn and Daniel Rowland. Irina co-founded the London International Players.
Irina studied with Irina Zaritzkaya, Ronan O’Hora and Naum Grubert in the UK and Holland. She has received guidance from Mstislav Rostropovich, Ida Haendel, Ivry Gitlis, Murray Perahia, Charles Rosen, Claude Frank at IMS Prussia Cove, Ralf Ghotóni and Günter Pichler.