The ARK Trio

allison charney headshot
kajsa william-olssen portrait
reiko headshot

The ARK Trio was founded by soprano Allison Charney, cellist Kajsa William-Olsson and pianist Reiko Uchida, all full-time musicians, mothers of school-age children and dear friends who wanted to collaborate musically. Much to their surprise, they soon learned that their make-up of soprano, cello and piano is unique in classical music, as evidenced by the paucity of extant compositions available for their combination. All champions of new music in their solo careers, the ARK Trio, under the auspices of the PREFORMANCES ™ Chamber Music Collaborative, set about commissioning music from living composers. ARK RESOUNDING – the trio’s debut album – recorded during their residency at Macalester College – features works of three of those composers – Kim D. Sherman, Moshe Knoll and Michael Ching.

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About the Music

“A Prairie Diary” is a series of songs “rejected” from Kim D. Sherman and Darrah Cloud’s music-theater adaptation of Willa Cather’s first novel, “O Pioneers!” Originally written for piano, clarinet and baritone voice, Sherman transposed the cycle for Allison Charney, who recorded the cycle for the DSC label. Sherman since removed the clarinet, created a new part for cello and restructured the order of the movements for the ARK Trio.

“Simplicity” is written in the form of a mini-Cantata, and the cello part functions as a Basso Continuo, the standard accompaniment technique during the Baroque period. The many references to J.S. Bach are a musical equivalent of Thoreau’s “Back to Nature” ideology.
To paraphrase Wordsworth, we are bound by space and time, yet we still have intimations of immortality.

“The Wedding Song” with Hebrew text adapted from “Song of Solomon” and a translation by veteran actor of stage and screen, Jordan Charney was composed for soprano and string quartet to be performed by Allison Charney at her brother’s wedding and then included as the sixth song in Sherman’s cycle “Song of Songs” with text by Erik Ehn. This is the premiere performance of a new arrangement composed for the ARK trio. “Song of Songs” is dedicated to Lisa and Daniel Charney.

Franz Schubert’s songs are so perfect that they are hard to adapt without feeling like you might be defacing them. Michael Ching juxtaposes almost-reverential arrangements with aggressive reinterpretations or commentaries he calls “derangements” – a jumble of de-arrange, deranged, and French déranger (disrupt, disturb).

Hopefully Schubert is laughing, nodding, or humming along.

Click here to see complete composers’ notes, texts and translations.