Washington Post

January 25, 2002

Claremont Trio: Women On the Rise

One way to distinguish between Emily and Julia Bruskin is by the musical instrument they play; Emily is a violinist, Julia a cellist. Otherwise it would have been difficult to tell the identical twins apart when they performed Wednesday evening at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

They are two-thirds of the Claremont Trio, alongside a first-class pianist, Donna Kwong, and they gave an excellent performance in the museum's Women in Music series.

The program opened with Beethoven's Trio No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 1, a work designed to support the young composer's claim to be the best pianist in Vienna. This gave Kwong a chance to display some brilliant technique, but she played with consideration for her colleagues, who filled their supporting roles gracefully.

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich is a violinist, and her Trio put the strings in the spotlight. The Bruskins played it with an almost telepathic rapport.

They have been coached by the composer, as might have been guessed from the finely wrought detail and dramatic insight they lavished on this technically demanding, emotionally rich music.

The program concluded with Dvorak's Trio No. 3 in F Minor, a feat of lyric melodies and dance rhythms that received an inspired performance. For an encore, the Claremont played a Mendelssohn scherzo with exactly the right lightness and agility.

The Bruskin twins are still very young, students at Juilliard and Columbia, but they could create a sensation in a few more years, when they have been seasoned by experience.

—Joseph McLellan