Desirée Ruhstrat, Violin / Aurélien Fort Pederzoli, Viola / David Cunliffe, Cello

Desirée Ruhstrat, Violin / Aurélien Fort Pederzoli, Viola / David Cunliffe, Cello

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Silenced Voices includes the world premiere recording of wartime survivor Géza Frid’s early Trio à cordes, Op. 1, an inventive work infused with Hungarian folk music influences. Composer-cellist Paul Hermann’s Strijktrio, a forward-looking, cosmopolitan work from the early 1920s, shares its melodies among all three instruments. Dick Kattenburg’s youthful Trio à cordes was praised in a 1938 concert review for its “remarkable mastery and a very personal style.” Gideon Klein’s Trio for violin, viola and cello is notable for its treatment of a Moravian folk song that serves as the theme of its middle movement. Hans Krása’s Tánec (“Dance”) is a five-minute whirl of dancelike episodes framed by the sonic evocation of trains. His Passagalia is more somber, with its own train motifs, while its companion Fuga bears shades of Germanic and Czech influences and occasional grotesque touches. Sándor Kuti’s Serenade for String Trio brims with Hungarian folk music and piquant chord clusters. His Franz Liszt Academy classmate, conductor Sir Georg Solti, later proclaimed that Kuti “would have become one of Hungary’s greatest composers.”




Aurélien's mother, a history teacher, who comes from a Sephardic family has devoted her life to bringing awareness to the Holocaust.

One of her proudest endeavors was bringing students every year on a teaching voyage to Prague, Budapest, Krakow, Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Terezin.

In the spring of 2016, Desirée and David came back from Budapest, Hungary with some string trios they had found in a local shop, these pieces were among them. These works are fantastic works of art and, through their darkness, are incredibly human and ultimately uplifting.

That such music could be written in these conditions is a testament to the resilience and faith of these artists.

Black Oak recently concluded recording these composers in their debut album Silenced Voices for Cedille Records, to be released in 2019. The ensemble is committed to sharing this music with the Chicago Community at large, in collaboration with not only Synagogues but also educational centers, and the rest of the world.

Our hope is for this project to speak for those who were so brutally silenced during the Pogroms, the Exiles and the Shoah. Ordinary people suffered, artists suffered, their voices needed to be heard.