The Liberty Theatre can add hosting the concert debut of a now Grammy nominated album to its belt of historic performances played on its stage.
The Hermitage Piano Trio, comprised of cellist Sergey Antonov, who has performed in Astoria as part of the Astoria Music Festival for over 10 years as well as with other ensembles, pianist Ilya Kazantsev and violinist Misha Keylin have been nominated for three Grammy Awards for their Rachmaninoff CD.
The nominations, all in the classical category, are for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, Best Engineered Album and Producer of the Year.
“We were hoping as much as we could to get nominated and to actually get three nominations for the first time, that’s amazing,” Antonov said via telephone from New York. “That’s a big deal for us all. We’re really honored.”
The album includes Rachmaninoff’s “Trio Elegiaque No. 1 in G minor,” “Trio Elegiaque No. 2 in D minor” and “Vocalise.”
The album, released this year, was recorded in 2017 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, by Reference Recordings and was produced by Victor and Marina A. Ledin and engineered by Keith O. Johnson.
The trio has been together in its current roster of players for the last four to five years. This is their debut album.
The album was nominated from over 300 CDs submitted. Other ensembles nominated include Christopher Rountree & Wild Up, PUBLIQuartet, Third Coast Percussion and the Attacca Quartet.
The trio decided to go all-Russian for their first CD as they all have Russian backgrounds.
“We think that we have a lot to say through the music of Rachmaninoff,” Antonov said.
He considers Rachmaninoff one of the greatest Russian composers.
Of debuting the album in Astoria in June, Antonov said it was a “Big deal for us. Waiting for that moment for a year and a half. To present the album and release it to the public is one of the heaviest moments for our trio.”
Dr. William Armington, a local neuroradiologist and arts supporter, who was at the June concert, said the group “melds together like Neapolitan ice cream.”
He also noted how emotion-filled the album is. The second “Trio Elegiaque” performed on the CD is an homage by Rachmaninoff to Tchaikovsky.
Armington has hosted the trio at his house when they play in Astoria and has hosted Antonov since he started performing in Astoria over 10 years ago.
Armington and his wife even traveled to Russia to see Antonov perform with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra at the Bolshoi Theatre.
“The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow Conservatory is his (Antonov’s) home stage, he considers it his home stage,” Armington said.
Antonov won the International Tchaikovsky Competition on that stage in 2007.
Antonov is very comfortable and honored to play in the trio. He grew up with Kzantsev in Russia and has known him since the third grade.
Antonov was originally invited to join the quartet by Keylin, who was one of the founders. Once a position was open for a pianist, Kazantsev was an obvious choice.
Antonov said he is working on plans with the Liberty Theatre to return to perform this June.
The Grammy Awards take place Jan. 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.