Bringing the Band Back Together – ‘Trio March’ to debut at Coffs Conservatorium

’Trio March’ practicing at the conservatorium for their debut performance on Friday 16 July.


COFFS Harbour’s newest chamber ensemble ‘Trio March’ will play their debut performance on Friday 16 July at the Coffs Conservatorium.

The three members; Annabelle Swainston, Maggie Pang and Caleb Murray crossed paths at different points in their individual musical journeys before finding each other on the Coffs Coast.

Almost ten years ago, Annabelle and Maggie began their friendship at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music whilst Annabelle met Caleb through programs of the Australian Youth Orchestra.

Just to also complete the triangle, it was only a few years ago that Maggie and Caleb were colleagues at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne where they performed together live for a national broadcast on ABC Classic FM.

“This time last year I was living in Sydney, Caleb was in Melbourne and Maggie was in Melbourne, so I guess we’ve brought the band back together in Coffs Harbour.“

“I have known and played alongside Caleb and Maggie for over ten years where music has created a special bond between us.

“With such beautiful beaches and forests around us, there is no reason for us not to be inspired to collaborate and make some beautiful music.

“We all have birthdays in March three days apart and that’s why we called ourselves ‘Trio March’,” said Annabelle, who teaches violin and is the ensemble co-ordinator at the Coffs Conservatorium.

She may teach the instrument now, but for several years Annabelle refused to play violin because it was too loud!

“I started playing the piano when I was five years old, my mum was a violin player but for four years I thought it was too loud and didn’t start playing until I was nine years old.

“We will be performing the second sonata from the Norwegian composer Greig which is very nostalgic to me as it is the music my parents played in the car when we went on roadtrips, it gives me so many emotions and memories, it’s a wonderful piece of music,” said Annabelle.

When News Of The Area asked Annabelle what it feels like to perform a sonata in public, she was lost for words.

“It’s hard to describe, there’s so much energy and emotion in a performance, you just get in the zone.

“It’s the most magical feeling, it feels effortless, special and very exciting and makes all of the hours of practice worth it.

“The music takes you on an emotional rollercoaster expressing different nuances with each note.

“At the final crescendo there is an overwhelming feeling of joy and euphoria and you just want to high five and hug your fellow musicians, it’s an amazing feeling,” said Annabelle.

However, the piano trio by Brahms, takes on a very different meaning for pianist Maggie Pang who performed the trio in a New York festival on a Steinway piano that was once owned by the great pianist, Rachmaninoff.

“There is always something really satisfying in learning and performing any chamber work by Brahms, but gosh, to overcome the technically and emotionally complex nature of his piano parts is like climbing Mount Everest.

“He can write the most tender music but then suddenly get into a frenzied state of grief and even anger.

“Rehearsing this with Caleb and Annie has been such an amazing experience because the piece gives us so many opportunities to delve into the musical intricacies of colour and sound as an ensemble,” said Maggie.




’Trio March’ rehearsing in Bellingen last month.

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