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Publication Date

Fall 10-10-2008

Year of Release



The Capital Trio began as the Cecilia Piano Trio in 1997, named not only for the patron saint of music but also the cellist's daughter, who was two years old at the time. Founding and current members Duncan Cumming, piano, and Solen Dikener, cello were surprised to discover at their first rehearsal that their teachers, Frank Glazer and Paul Tortelier, had performed together in Paris and Boston almost 70 years earlier and the young performers immediately forged a musical bond of friendship. Violinist Hilary Cumming joined the group in 1999, and they gave concerts and master classes from New England to the Midwest. They were featured as soloists with orchestra in Beethoven's "Triple Concerto" and dedicated themselves to commissioning and performing new works in addition to performances of standard trio repertoire. A review from the Kalamazoo Gazette, Michigan, described the trio as "convincing, both as strong individual musical personalities and as a cohesive unit."

At the suggestion and encouragement of former Dean Joan Wick-Pelletier, the new trio at UAlbany was established, and they have taken on a new name to reflect their new incarnation in New York. Having held rigorous summer residencies in the past, at Bates College in Maine and Kalamazoo College in Michigan, they are pleased to be rekindling this passion and commitment to the art of chamber music at the University at Albany.

Duncan J. Cumming, now in his third year on the faculty of the University at Albany, has performed concertos, recitals, and chamber music concerts in cities across the United States as well as in Europe. The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Merkin Hall and Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City, and the Wallenstein Palace in Prague, Czech Republic are among the concert halls in which he has appeared.

This past September be lectured and performed as part of "Focus on Frank Glazer: A Mini-Festival," which he organized and hosted at the University at Albany. Two days later he performed with Frank Glazer to a packed house at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston, Maine, a concert which opened the new season there. In October a brief but intense New England tour included six recitals in four days. The next week he had his first performance with the University at Albany Orchestra, playing the Grieg Concerto in A minor, Op. 16. In the spring he travels to Massachusetts and West Virginia for recitals in addition to his concerts in New York. A recent review from the Portland Press Herald describes his playing as "technically flawless... thoughtful, deliberate and balanced, without a wasted gesture or any histrionics rather like Rachmaninoff.''

Born near the Canadian border in Presque Isle, Maine, Cumming graduated Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors from Bates College in 1993, where he studied with Frank Glazer. He frequently collaborates with Mr. Glazer in double concerto, two piano, and four hand repertoire; in 1997 they performed all the solo works of Brahms in a series of concerts commemorating the centenary of the composer's death. In 1994 he received a full scholarship from the European Mozart Foundation and participated in intense chamber music study and performance at the European Mozart Academy in Prague. Upon his return to America he studied with Patricia Zander at the New England Conservatory, where he received his Master of Music degree in 1996. In May of 2003 he graduate with the Doctor of Music degree from Boston University, where his principal teacher was Mana Clodes Jaguaribe and his dissertation advisors were John Daverio and Martin Amlin.

In 2002 Cumming joined the faculty of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute where he continues to teach, coach chamber music and perform as Assistant Director of the Young Artists Piano Program'. From 1994-2006 he was a member of the faculty at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He has lectured, given master classes, and served on juries for competitions in addition to his performing and teaching. Known for his innovative and carefully constructed programs, Cumming often presents informal commentary to the audience on the music he plays. He has commissioned, premiered, and recorded new works for solo piano, violin and piano, and piano trio. He performs frequently with his wife Hilary, violinist and head of applied music at Concord Academy in Massachusetts. With the cellist Solen Dikener they make up the Capital Piano Trio, the new ensemble in residence at the University at Albany. Duncan and Hilary have two daughters, Lucy Rose and Mairi Skye.

Violinist Hilary Walther Cumming is currently on the faculty at the State Umversity of New York at Albany. She is concertmaster of the Cape Cod Sinfonietta and she has been heard as soloist with this ensemble as well as with the Reading Symphony, Concord Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. A versatile artist, she is comfortable in many styles including classical, baroque and Irish traditional music.

Ms. Cumming graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University in Chicago Illinois where she studied with Gerardo Ribeiro. In 1991 she moved to Bloomington Indiana and earned a Master of Violin Performance degree under the tutelage of Franco Gulli in modern violin, and Stanley Ritchie in baroque violin. Upon graduation she was awarded a Fulbright grant, and she spent the 1993-4 year in Copenhagen, Denmark, studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music with Peder Elbaek and Marta Libalova and traveling monthly to Paris for lessons with Sylvie Gazeau.

Ms. Cumming has participated in concerts from South America to the former Soviet bloc, and continues to be active in performances across the Northeast USA. Her most recent compact disc recording is available from AFKA Records.

Sően Dikener continues his music career in the USA and in Turkey; as a cello professor at Marshall University and as music director of the international summer music academy and chamber music festival Akademi Datca.

The artist performed in the US, Turkey, Germany, Austria and France as a recitalist, chamber musician and soloist with orchestras. As a dedicated chamber musician, Dikener shared the stage with Shangai String Quartet; as well as performed several groups. Since 2002 he plays with Fontana Piano Trio.

In recording studio, Dikener premiered the cello works by Turkish composers for Albany Records and AK Muzik labels. His first CD was released in 1998 and it is available at His other CD is dedicated to the music of Ilhan Baran (2002). A dedicated teacher Dr. Dikener established the annual Ohio Valley Cello Festival in 2003 to gather cellists for a festive cello day. During his tenure with Kalamazoo Symphony as principal cellist, he had the opportunity to play with most prestigious musicians.

He began his cello studies at the age of eight and attended the State Conservatory of Music in Ankara, Turkey in the class of "Highly Gifted Students". Following his college graduation at the age of 18 he worked with Prof. Tobias Kühne in Vienna, Austria, and became an assistant to legendary Paul and Maud Tortelier in Nice France where he also worked with Frieder Lenz and Michel Lethiec. He obtained his chamber music "perfectionnement" degree in Nice.

Mr. Dikener immigrated to the United States in 1992, and completed his cello studies at Louisiana State (MM) and Michigan State (DMA) Universities. His teaching experience includes fulltime professorships at Central Michigan University and Hacettepe University (Turkey) and as director of Crescendo Academy in Michigan.


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Marshall University Music Department Presents the Music Alive Series, featuring, Capital Piano Trio