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Get to Know Trio Continental

Posted February 18th, 2019  |  By A4A.admin

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CSMA welcomes Trio Continental for a free concert in Tateuchi Hall on Saturday, March 2 at 7:30pm.  They will be performing works from famous female composers to celebrate Women’s History Month. 

We spoke to Dawn Walker, Trio Continental’s flutist and CSMA faculty, to learn more about her and what the audience can expect from their performance in Tateuchi Hall.

Dawn Walker, Flutist

How did you begin playing and performing music?

When I was a toddler, I sat and listened to the Bird theme from Peter and the Wolf and fell in love with the music.  My father would sit me on his knee and show me melodies on the piano but my formal music training didn’t start until I was 10 when I started the flute.  I worked really hard from the beginning.  When I was 16 and we moved to New England, I got a great flute teacher to show me how to make a great sound and work on technique.

Tell us about a great music teacher you had.

I studied for a short time with Frances Blaisdell.  She was the first woman to go to the Juilliard school.  I remember playing the Chaminade Flute Concerto for her and she was very complimentary.  I paid her with a check and went on my way.  About three days later she sent me back the check with a heart cut out of the middle of it!

How often do you practice or rehearse?

I practice flute every day for at least an hour and often two hours.  When I rehearse chamber music like this concert music,  I work with the group about six times in preparation.  Each practice session is about 2 1/2 hours.

What advice do you have for young, aspiring female musicians?

Young, aspiring female musicians (like any musician) should follow their passion and don’t let anything block their goals.  In music, there isn’t a “gender” issue for the most part like other professions.  The one thing I would say is that the goal should be about coming up with a creative outlet that you enjoy.  I don’t think you can always count on a “monetary” goal.

Tell us a little bit about Trio Continental?  What brought you together?  Do you perform together regularly?

The Trio Continental was formed as three friends who enjoy working together.  We have several performances scheduled together in 2019.  I began with a collaboration with Liz Prior, who is from South Africa.  We have worked together as extra musicians with the SF Opera and SF Ballet orchestras.  We performed quite a few concerts in the last few years.  Last year, we decided to ask Aileen (who was born in the Philippines) to join us for the “all women’s” concert.  We had both worked with Aileen before and loved her playing.  In terms of the name,  I am from the US, so we thought of a group name based on the fact we are from “three continents” and settled on Trio Continental.

What can the audience expect during the performance in Tateuchi Hall?

The audience can expect a wide variety of repertoire in the one hour concert.  There are eight pieces that are each 5-7 minutes each.  We will do an introduction to each piece to give some idea about the background of the composers.  I played for about 8 years with the Women’s Philharmonic, an orchestra that was prominent in the 1990’s and the group premiered a lot of music from both the 19th and 20th century by women composers.  Many of the composers are names the audience will recognize and much of the music is romantic.

What makes this performance celebrating Women’s History Month special to you?

The more opportunity we have to bring important women to the forefront is valuable!  There are many great musicians who were never recognized in their lifetime.  Doing a concert like this is a wonderful opportunity to bring some of these great composers’ music to audiences.

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