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Lark Piano Trio takes top prize in UK-wide music competition

A Royal Conservatoire of Scotland trio has won first prize in a prestigious nationwide chamber music competition.

Lark Trio – violinist Emma Baird, cellist Helen LaGrand and pianist Anna Michels – took the top spot in the Cavatina Intercollegiate Chamber Music Competition, held at Wigmore Hall in London.

The competition features the finest chamber musicians from music schools all over the UK and supports young musicians in the early stages of their professional careers. This year, the trios performed Beethoven’s Piano Trio in E flat Op.70 No.2.

Professor Andrea Gajic, Head of Strings at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “Many congratulations to Emma, Helen and Anna on winning first prize at the Cavatina Intercollegiate Chamber Music Competition.

“The competition attracts some of the best young musicians from across the UK so it’s a wonderful achievement and testament to the trio’s exceptional musicianship. We are thrilled for Emma, Helen and Anna and incredibly proud of their success.”

Lark Trio follows in the footsteps of the Resol Quartet, who won first prize and the audience prize at the competition in 2021.

The trio formed during their postgraduate studies at RCS, where they are mentored by Alison Wells and David Watkin.

Emma and Helen are studying on the Master of Music Performance degree while Anna is an accompanist and improv coach at RCS, faculty at St Mary’s Music School, and a 2023 graduate of RCS’s Artist Diploma programme.

The trio has won the Governor’s Chamber Prize, the Mary D Adams Prize for Chamber Music, and second prize at the Dunbar Gerber Chamber Music Competition at RCS.

They were selected to participate in the Wye Valley Chamber Music Festival 2023 and have been accepted as an ensemble of the Hans Keller Forum 2023/24.

Most recently, they were awarded third prize at the intercollegiate Piano Trio Society Competition held at the Royal Academy of Music.

They have a passion for unearthing the hidden treasures of the piano trio repertoire, with a focus on living composers and female composers.

They have also found immense joy in the practice of both free and classical improvisation, and their improvised performances include a Lecture Recital with David Doland in March 2023 and a collaboration with RCS BA Modern Ballet dancers as part of the RCS Piano Festival.

Lark Trio also advocates for educational programmes at home and overseas. Anna is part of the keyboard department at St. Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh while Helen is an organiser and teacher for a non-profit educational programme for Nigerian musicians. Emma is an ambassador for the Benedetti Foundation, through which she has led multiple workshops.

The trio is also part of the Live Music Now Scotland team, where they connect with audiences that may not often be exposed to classical repertoire.



Watch Lark Trio perform at Wigmore Hall from 3:49:34