Swiss ensemble Trio Nota Bene consists of pianist Lionel Monnet (from Isérables), cellist Xavier Pignat (from St. Maurice) and violinist Julien Zufferey (from Chippis – all three towns within the Canton of Valais). The young musicians received their diplomas in chamber music (Patrick Genet’s class) from the Lausanne Conservatory in 2000. They earned their virtuosity diplomas the following year and have perfected their playing in studies with the Trio Wanderer (who praises their “astonishing musical maturity”) in Paris since 2003.
The trio participated in master classes with Roberto Szidon at the Sion Summer Academy and with Menahem Pressler (Beaux-Arts Trio, New York) in Basel. They also benefit from professional coaching with musicians such as Patrick Genet (Sine Nomine Quartet), Christian Favre (Schumann Quartet), Jean Balissat, Raphaël Wallfisch, Thomas Grossenbacher, Shmuel Ashkenasi (Vermeer Quartet), Christian Ivaldi, Claire Désert, and Emmanuel Strosser.
Composer Henri Dutilleux considers Trio Nota Bene “an ensemble of the highest level and great nobility”, and the trio also enjoys the support of the Swiss Global Artistic Foundation, led by artistic director Geoffrey Simon.
The musicians earned a place in the finals at the 11th International “Carlo Soliva” Competition (2004) in Casale Monferrato (Italy) and won first prize at the International Chamber Music Competition in Hellevoetsluis-Rotterdam (Netherlands). The ensemble was also awarded the Prize for Cultural Achievements from the Canton of Valais in 2005. In february 2008 the trio won first prize at the 28th Prix Géraldine Whittaker in Neuchâtel.
The Trio Nota Bene performed the Swiss premiere of the Trio Tropical by Roberto Sierra under the composer’s direction at the Tonhalle in Zurich. They also performed Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the Zurich Camerata. The Trio Nota Bene regularly performs at numerous festivals including the Sine Nomine Festival in Lausanne, the Flâneries musicales in Champéry, the Zinettiadi in Verona, the Music Festival in Les Haudères, the Hellevoetsluis Festival in the Netherlands and the Festival du Petit Théâtre du Château de Martigny in Poisson (France). The ensemble also performed with violinist Pierre Amoyal at the Festival Les Sommets du ClassiquE. The trio was the ensemble in residence at the Festival International de la Roque d’Anthéron as well as at the Folle journée in Nantes (2007). Following this event, producer Jean-Pierre Amann invited the three musicians to participate in the broadcast “Pavillon Suisse” on Radio Suisse Romande-Espace 2. Jean-Charles Simon and Patrick Lapp, the two hosts of radio program “Aquaconcert” on RSR-La Première, collaborated with the trio when they provided banter to accompany a memorable concert at the Théâtre de Valère in Sion. The Trio Nota Bene was also invited by maestro Shlomo Mintz to perform with him at the International Festival in Sion/Valais in 2007.
For 2008 the trio is already committed to a number of engagements, including the performance of a Russian program at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on the 26th of April. In August, the trio will be in Champéry as ensemble in residence at the festival “Les Rencontres Musicales” performing concerts and hosting workshops throughout the event.
The trio’s first recording – together with various other instrumentalists – on the VDE-Gallo label featured chamber music by Swiss composer Jean Daetwyler. Their second album, dedicated to Russian trios (Rachmaninov, Arenski and Chostakovitch), represents the ensemble’s debut recording for Claves. They are currently working on a third recording featuring Swiss composers Raff, Martin, Honegger and Bloch (Claves).