music makers

Jennifer and Raul Fauré, Beverly Road, have a good record of collaborating with each other in their 14 years of marriage, including raising two children. But that’s not all. This year, they are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their chamber music group, Fauré String Trio. The Faurés, with friend Olga Redkina, founded the trio in 2003 before moving to Mt. Lebanon in 2005  and claiming Old St. Luke’s Church in Scott as their practice center.

Not only do they collaborate, they balance. In between concerts, rehearsals and family commitments, each member of the group offers private lessons. They also host a weeklong chamber music summer camp.

Traditionally, chamber music is classical music performed by a small group of musicians, each with his or her own instrument. “Chamber Music comes from music to be played in the chamber of the kings palaces, a limited space for a small audience as well,” says Raul. In an orchestra, individual musicians can be drowned out by each other, but players can’t hide in a  chamber group.

Jennifer Fauré at String Chamber Music Camp
Jennifer Fauré at summer string camp

In 1998, Jennifer moved to Pittsburgh to play violin in a Carnegie Mellon University Orchestra. Around the same time, Raul moved to Pittsburgh from Chile with a full scholarship to study the viola at Carnegie Mellon. The two met when Jennifer offered Raul a ride to a symphony. Within a year, they married. While both studied for  masters degrees in music performance from Duquesne University, they met the third member of their trio: Redkina, Cochran Road, who had moved from Russia to study cello at Duquesne. The trio plays classical numbers along with modern pieces such as The Pink Panther theme and Moon River. Along with the covers, multiple composers have dedicated compositions to the group and asked them to premiere their pieces. For many of their concerts, the trio has invited artists from around the world to join them. Performances are free, but donations are encouraged. “As long as we enjoy what we do, we hope others do the same,” Raul  says. Last year the trio traveled to University of Minnesota for the New Music Festival to perform and lecture on the art of chamber music. The friends have also gone to Chile for a week to perform and intend to travel to Russia and Italy.

For one week every July, the String Trio pauses their traveling, performing and private lessons for the String Chamber Music Camp at Southminster Presbyterian Church. Fifteen students take part in the intense four days of chamber music study and then show off what they learned on the last day for a concert to family and friends.

Raul Fauré
Raul Fauré

“[Teaching is] a natural extension [of music], you want to share it,” Jennifer says.

The camp is a chance for students of different levels of talent to play together, says Jerry Cooper, grandfather of student camper Zachary Cooper Wik. The teachers expect commitment but still make the experience fun, says Wik, Sunridge Drive, adding that it’s exciting when the teachers challenge him because it means they believe in him.

The teachers “don’t correct but redirect,” Raul says. They give advice but let the students take charge, allowing them rise to the occasion and improve. “All [students] have ideas, get support from each other and challenge each other,” Redkina says.

The first half of the day, the students play in small chamber groups; the second half, they play as an orchestra. At the end of the day, the group has a reflection period. The camp allows the trio to spread passion for playing an instrument. Music is something the students can appreciate and love for the rest of their lives but also offers discipline, “I can see [their] minds working,” Jennifer says.

Camp photos by John Altdorfer