While their name derives from Schubert's song Der Wanderer, D. 493, and their sympathies lie with German Romanticism in general, the Trio Wanderer has performed a broad range of works lying outside the Germanic sphere, including compositions by Smetana, Dvorák, Saint-Saëns, Debussy, Bartók, Martinu, Copland, Messiaen, as well as contemporary composers. Of course, this popular piano trio has lived up to the spirit of its name, too, with regular performance of works by Beethoven, Hummel, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms, and other German Romantics, not to mention those who augured Romanticism like Haydn and Mozart. What is unusual about the group is it is French, not German, and it performs music with a keen sense for its idiom, whether German, French, Czech, American, or whatever. The Trio Wanderer has performed at the world's most prestigious venues, from Milan's Teatro alla Scala and London's Wigmore Hall to Washington's Library of Congress and Tokyo's Kioi Hall. It has made recordings for a variety of labels, including Sony Classical, Harmonia Mundi, Le Chant du Monde, Capriccio, and others.
The Trio Wanderer formed at the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in 1987. The members of the Trio were students there: Vincent Coq (piano), Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabédian (violin), and Raphaël Pidoux (cello). Though each had already received advanced training, its most important studies in chamber music came in the years 1987-1991 under Jean-Claude Pennetier, Janos Starker, and Menahem Pressler.
In 1988, Trio Wanderer won the Munich-based ARD Competition and two years later captured first prize at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition in the United States. It quickly gained an international reputation and began touring across Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
Probably its most important early recordings were the Mendelssohn trios (1995) and the Dvorák and Smetana trios (1996), both issued on Sony Classical. The group began recording for Harmonia Mundi in 1999 and released Beethoven: Triple Concerto, Op. 56, as well as trios by Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Saint-Saëns.
In August 2002, Trio Wanderer debuted at the Salzburg Festival to critical acclaim, returning there again in 2004 and 2006. The group regularly appeared on European television during this period, including in a film made by ARTE that was broadcast on French and German television in June 2003. In 2009 the trio released the recordings Haydn: Piano Trios Nos. 39, 43-45 on Harmonia Mundi, as well as The Pulse of an Irishman: Folksongs of the British Isles with Austrian baritone Wolfgang Holzmair, released by Cypres Records. 2012 marked the release of Trio Wanderer’s Beethoven: Complete Piano Trios on Harmonia Mundi, with recordings of Tchaikovsky, Arensky, Fauré, among others in the following years. 2018 saw the release of Haydn: Piano Trios XV:14, 18, 21, 26 & 31.
Trio Wanderer was bestowed the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters in 2015 for their accomplishments. ~ Keith Finke, Robert Cummings