Since the official formation of the instrumental music program at Belmont Hill in 2004, the quality and variety of the performances put on by the musicians have been steadily increasing. This trend is best typified by the Belmont Hill Chamber Society (BHCS). President George Hu stated that “the initial purpose of creating the society was to push classical music further into the limelight of Belmont Hill music. Two years after the founding of the society, I think that it has promoted/increased classical music’s presence at Belmont Hill, especially since we have three extant groups on campus now: two trios and a piano duet.” These three ensembles are the Belmont Hill Piano Trio, the Brandenburg Trio, and the Piano Duet.
The Belmont Hill Piano Trio is the oldest and most established active chamber group on campus, consisting of pianist George Hu, cellist Spencer Kim, and violinist Austin Kwoun. Formed during Mr. Fiori’s sabbatical year and coached by Mr. Glenn, the Belmont Hill Piano Trio earned the reputation of being the flagship ensemble for the music program as a whole, with Dr. Melvoin likening the three musical wizards to “All-Americans”. Their standout ability as a group led them to perform for distinguished audiences such as Professor Mia Chung-Yee from the Curtis Institute of Music, Harvard Dean of Admissions William Fitzsimmons, and the Belmont Hill Corporation. Individually, each member of the trio is an exemplary musician. Cellist Spencer Kim was selected to perform in the 2014 National Honor Orchestra, as well as the 2012 and 2013 Foulger International Music Festivals. Austin Kwoun most recently won the Category C at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School Concerto Competition and has also performed at famous locations such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Finally, pianist George Hu has attended the International Institute for Young Musicians and has performed in locations such as Paris, Vienna, and Budapest for distinguished professors such as Gabor Eckhardt of the Liszt Academy.
This excellence in music is continued by the second trio, the Brandenburg Trio, consisting of pianist Armin Thomas, violist Didier Lucceus, and violinist Andrew Kaneb. As Hu said, “the new members of the society have also contributed immensely to the society’s ongoing expansion by forming a second trio. Each of them is a fantastic musician, and collectively they bring a new dynamic to the society as a whole.” Pianist Armin Thomas was a finalist in the 2015 A Ramon Rivera Piano Competition and will perform internationally in a 2016 tour to Germany. Violist Didier Lucceus had the opportunity to study with Carol Foucher at the Conservatoire Regional de Bretagne in France where he spent the 2015-16 year and is a member of the 2015-16 Center for Development of Arts Leaders. Violinist Andrew Kaneb is a member of the Youth Symphony Orchestra at NEC and will tour internationally in 2017. He has also been contacted by developers for his musical expertise in helping to make the music app Cadenza. The Piano Duet is an amalgamation of the pianists from both trios that provides joyous and lighthearted music to audiences, such as Schubert’s Marche Militaire in D major and Strauss’s Radetzky March. All three groups coordinate their efforts to create a thriving classical music scene at Belmont Hill.
As for future plans, they look promising. “I am very optimistic about the program next year, hopefully we can replace the outgoing seniors that have been a foundation for the program”, said Hu. In the meantime, the BHCS is hosting a benefit concert for local orphanages on 26 May and would like people to attend.