For a musician who has been the principal cellist with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the assistant principal cellist with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, picking a career highlight might be a tough thing to do.

Not for cellist Natasha Brofsky, however.

As the newest member of the Peabody Trio, she says without hesitation that playing with this group has been the high point of her career.

"I'd always heard about (the Peabody Trio)," Brofsky said during a telephone interview from her home in Colorado. "They're well-known here, and I've always admired their work. We got together because a cellist I knew from England recommended me for the position, so I auditioned with them last year.

"They are incredibly inspiring."

The trio, featuring violinist Violaine Melançon, pianist Seth Knopp and cellist Brofsky, will perform on Wednesday, March 28, as a part of the Chamber Music Society series. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Libby Gardner Concert Hall on the University of Utah campus. Tickets are available through ArtTix at 355-ARTS (2787), or 1-888-451-ARTS, or at the door. The group also plays March 29 in Provo and March 30 in Logan.

"We work really hard on the repertoire," Brofsky said, "sort of taking the pieces apart and putting them together. I've really been challenged in every way to musically look at things in different ways and to analyze pieces a different way.

"I've never had a group that had the luxury of playing things several times. We get to play these programs in different cities, and so we're constantly reworking our ideas and trying things in new interpretations."

Husband-wife duo Knopp and Melançon founded the Peabody Trio in 1987 after playing a recital together in Quebec. The group launched its international career in 1989 after winning the Naumburg Chamber Music Award and currently stays busy performing internationally, as well as serving as full-time faculty and ensemble-in-residence at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Md.

Brofsky said the main emphasis of the group is to get to each composer's distinctive style. "We really try to get into the composer's musical language and expressions, to come as close as we can to what the composer was trying to say."

The program in Salt Lake City will include pieces by Beethoven, Ravel and Shulamit Ran. "We're starting with the Shulamit Ran 'Soliloquy,' which was written for our trio in 1997. The piece is loosely based on a tragic, mysterious story about two lovers. The woman is given by her parents to another, so the man dies of sorrow. But the strange part about is that his spirit comes back to haunt her and sort of takes over her body. It's a really emotional, expressive and mysterious piece, and I really enjoy playing it. It's very interesting and very beautiful."

In addition, the group will play a Ravel Trio "written just before the outbreak of the first World War. It's one of his greatest pieces. It's just perfect in form, with its French harmonies and colors and a very special sort of rhythmic language that he uses."

Brofsky said the last piece on the program will be the Beethoven Archduke Trio. "It is one of the best-loved trios. It's one of the best pieces for our combination and one of the most famous. It's very grand in its form, it's quite long and the melodies are very expansive. He performed this piece himself for its first performance, and it was his last performance before he gave up because he was losing his hearing."


E-mail: rcline@desnews.com