Trio Wanderer

Piano trio

Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabédian, violin, Raphaël Pidoux, cello, Vincent Coq, piano

Trio Wanderer’s stage-name is entirely appropriate.  “Wanderer” pays homage to Schubert and more widely to German Romanticism which is often imbued with the leitmotiv of the wandering traveler. These three French musicians are avid, openminded wandering travelers who explore the musical world, spanning the centuries from Mozart and Haydn to the present. Acclaimed for its extraordinarily sensitive style, almost telepathic mutual understanding and technical mastery, the Trio Wanderer is one of the world’s foremost chamber ensembles.

Called a “Wandering Star” by the Strad Magazine, the Trio performs on the most prestigious music stages: Musikverein Vienna, Berlin Philharmonie, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall, Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, Teatro alla Scala in Milano, Opéra of Pékin, Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, Place des Arts in Montreal, Herkulessaal in Munich, Library of Congress in Washington, Kioi Hall in Tokyo, Tonhalle in Zürich. They have also performed at major festivals including Salzburg, Edinburgh, Montreux, Schleswig Holstein, la Roque d’Anthéron, Stresa, Feldkirch, Granada, Osaka, Folles Journées de Nantes, Rheingau Musiksommer and Schwetzinger Festspiele.

In triple concertos, the Trio Wanderer has collaborated more than a hundred times with international orchestras such as Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, orchestras of Toulouse, Nice, Pays de Loire, Picardie, Pau-Pays de Béarn, Montpellier, Liège, Tenerife, Santiago de Chile, La Coruna, the Radio Symphonie Orchester in Berlin, Malaysian Philharmonia Orchestra, Württembergische Philharmonie, Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería, Sinfonia Varsovia, Grazer Philharmoniker Orchester, Nürnberger Philharmoniker, National Philharmonic Orchestra in Moscow, Stockholm Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre de Chambre de Genève, the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, under the baton of Yehudi Menuhin, Christopher Hogwood, James Loughran, François-Xavier Roth, Luis Langrée, Arie van Beek, Marco Guidarini, Ken-David Masur, Ion Marin,  José Areán, Charles Dutoit and James Conlon amongst others.

In addition to records for Sony Classical, Universal, Cyprès, Mirare and Capriccio, the Trio Wanderer began a collaboration with Harmonia Mundi in 1999. Twenty recordings have been issued since then: trios by Chausson, Ravel, Haydn, Shostakovich, Fauré, Pierné, Arensky, Tchaïkovsky, Copland, Saint-Saëns, Mendelssohn, Smetana;  the complete trios by Schubert, Brahms and Beethoven; Schubert and Hummel’s piano quintet; triple concertos by Beethoven and Martinù with the Gürzenich-Kölner Philharmoniker; and pieces by Liszt and Messiaen.

These recordings have received many awards and commendations: Choc of the year by Le Monde de la Musique, Editor’s Choice by Gramophone, CD of the month by Fono Forum, CD of the Month by BBC Music Magazine, Diapason d’Or de l’Année, Midem Classical Award. Their interpretation of trios by Mendelssohn was chosen as a standard reference by the New-York Times on the occasion of the bi-centenary of the composer’s birth, as was their interpretation of Schubert’s trio opus 100 in 2016 by the BBC, from amongst fourteen contenders. Their most recent recordings are devoted to the trios of Rachmaninov (may 2019) the Quintet op. 57 and Romances op. 127 of Shostakovich (August 2020). The next album will be dedicated to Schumann (trios op. 63, 80 & 110, Phantasiestücke op. 88, Quartet with piano op. 47, Quintet with piano op. 44).

With a particular fondness for contemporary music, the Trio Wanderer has premiered works by composers including Thierry Escaich, Bruno Mantovani, Frank Michael Beyer, Christian Rivet, Matteo Francescini and Philippe Hersant.

In addition to their numerous radio and television recordings (Radio France, BBC, ARD, Mezzo), the Trio Wanderer was the subject of a film made by the French-German television company ARTE, broadcast in June 2003. In 2017, for the Trio’s 30th anniversary, a book written by Olivier Bellamy, tracing the history of the Trio,  was published by Art3 Edition.

Acclaimed by the professional music world, the Trio Wanderer was awarded for the third time in February 2009 (previously in 1997 and 2000) a Victoire de la Musique as “Best Instrumental Ensemble of the year”.

In 2015, Trio Wanderer’ members were bestowed with the title of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et Lettres).

Trio Wanderer’s members all graduated from the Paris’ Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique. In 1989/90 they studied in Bloomington’s School of Music and New York’s Julliard School.  During this period, they participated in masterclasses with such masters as Jean-Claude Pennetier, Jean Hubeau, Janos Starker, Menahem Pressler from the Beaux-Arts Trio, and the Amadeus Quartet. In 1988, they won the ARD Competition in Munich and, in 1990, the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition in the USA. Their career quickly rose to major international heights and they have enjoyed many years of music-making at the highest level.


(…) The best to be had today when it comes to trios. Throughout the years, Wanderer trio have been able to shine thanks to their homogeneous, original sound, “physical” style and free interpretation of their repertoire.

Le Monde (France)

(…) The turbulent Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor has long ranked among Mendelssohn’s most popular chamberworks; accordingly, there is no shortage of recorded performances, including several by ad hoc supergroups. Few manage as exquisite a balance among instruments as that achieved by the Trio Wanderer on its 2007 CD, which also includes a compelling account of the Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor. Trio Wanderer’s playing in the Second’s demonic Scherzo will have you on the edge of your seat.

New York Times (USA)

(…) With each piece the “Trio Wanderer” found its own language and its own clear style. Their playing discipline is fascinating. The way the musicians draw different lines, the degree of intensity, the regulation of dynamics, how they emphasize or permit different voices get through whilst consciously taking into account the consequences upon the collective sound, and to top it all how they bestow the music with its individual breath: a sheer miracle.

Salzburger Nachrichten (Salzburg Festival – Austria)

(…) Wandering Stars – It was clear from the outset that the Trio Wanderer’s recital at the Wigmore Hall was to be very special. That no other artist that month came close to capturing the essence of music as this young French group did speaks volumes for the quality of its performances.-They have a near-telepathie musical sensibility. What so impresses about this group is its command of the emotional panorama of the music. In short, an awe-inspiring evening.

The Strad (UK)

(…) The Wanderers take us on an exhilarating emotional rollercoaster ride, with a wonderful sense of conversational repartee in the fast outer movements and rapt expressions of wonderment in Schubert’s sublime, songful slow movements. All three players are outstanding musicians.

The Times (UK)

(…) Such fusion of spirit and style is hard to find in a trio. All three artists contribute to the trio’s perfect homogeneity. Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabédian’s violin is superb, Raphaël Pidoux’s cello sings freely and Vincent Coq’s piano is faultlessly well-rounded and almost symphonic. The Trio stand out at once for their fullness of sound, power and youthful energy.

Diapason (France)

(…) It has been my lot to hear Haydn’s Piano trio No. 17 several times recently, but never with such supreme, sparkling generosity as at the well attended evening concert with the French Trio Wanderer (who are playing again this evening). The piano’s combination of soaring lightness and rhythmic intensity was matchless, the strings met in a slender but noble sonority where the cello elevated itself expressively beyond the purely supportive, and the balance was perfect. This jubilant experience was movingly rounded off by Schubert’s elegiac ‘Notturno’, moulded as in one piece with miraculously melting transitions.

Politiken (Denmark)

(…) The Trio’s qualities became obvious at once: a piano bursting with inspiring energy, a wonderfully intense and lyrical violin, and a cello with deep, full sounds. Their style can further be characterized by its typically French distinctness and airy lightness.

Nürnberg Zeitung (Germany)

(…) Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabédian is a wonderful violinist, elegant, sober – a born virtuoso. Raphaël Pidoux is a superb cellist with deeply moving and truly lyrical accents. As for Vincent Coq, he at once exhibits total musicality and breathtaking technical skills: three partners whose hearts have been keeping the same beat for eleven years.

Le Figaro (France)

(…) As an admirer not only of Saint-Saens’s chamber music but also of the Wanderer Trio’s previous releases, especially their Haydn and Shostakovich, I came to this recording with high expectations-all of which, I’m happy to say, have been exceeded. A dance-like elegance continually harassed by rhapsodic explosiveness best sums up these sparkling performances…

Gramophone (UK)

(…) In Graz’ Stephanensaal, they exhibited their remarkable technique and exceptional sonorous richness through a series of interpretations which were both intense and spirited. They will be remembered for their perfect stylistic simplicity, ceaselessly renewed inspiration and finely gradated dynamics. A priceless evening!

Neue Zeit (Autriche)