Mockingbird Trio

Beautiful drawing of a mockingbird, nestled in a blooming almond tree, with the words "Mockingbird Trio, Music of the 21st Century below"

Mockingbird Trio logo by Lisa French

The Mockingbird Trio formed in 2004 after a wildly successful 50th birthday party that culminated in a concert of new works for contralto, viola, and piano. That event began a creative wave yielding music for the Mockingbird combination from composers across the U.S.A.

The first program, titled “Poet Power,” after a poem by Denise Levertov, included songs by twelve composers who were colleagues and old friends of Ms Anker’s.

The premieres met with great success, a large audience, and enthusiastic reviews from the Boston Globe. The program has been performed on the East and West Coasts, and broadcast in part on WGBH, Boston and KALW, San Francisco. This concert program, scored for various combinations of contralto, viola and piano, gave rise to a new, lively ensemble, the Mockingbird Trio. Conceived as a group that could perform the Brahms songs scored for its instrumentation as a repertory kernel, the Trio actively seeks new works for its combination, and consists of Ms. Anker, pianist John McDonald, and violist Scott Woolweaver.

Since the 2004 concert premiere at the Longy School of Music, the Mockingbird Trio has returned to perform at Longy several times. The Trio also has given performances in Maine, San Francisco, at Tufts University, Berklee College of Music, Boston University, Jamaica Plain Concerts, Shirley Meeting House and the All-Newton Music School.

The trio now has several complete programs and an chamber opera.

Sample Programs

3 smiling faces: John, Liz and Scott after a concert

After a concert in 2009, L-R: John McDonald, piano, Elizabeth Anker, contralto, Scott Woolweaver, viola

Poet Power
A sampling of several composers, who have set poetry of Denise Levertov, May Sarton, Robert Frost and Georgia O’Keeffe, with a few 19th century gems.

Birds of a Feather
Two cycles about birds, by Francine Trester and John McDonald, and other animal-related texts, with instrumental works, including some 19th and 20th century works

Domestic Affairs
Songs and cycles about the joys of being in relationship, finding raccoons in the trash, and gardening.  Funny and mundane as well as serious.  With instrumental works of earlier times.

Songs of Time, of Love, of Wonder
Song cycles by Douglas Johnson and Eric Sawyer, works of Loeffler and others.

334 Bunnies, a chamber opera.
Libretto and score by Francine Trester, fully staged with set and costumes.  Two singers and three players.  Appropriate for kids, but really written for the grown-ups.

Composers who have written for the Mockingbird Trio:

composers and performers stand arm in arm after singing an improvisation on Brahms Lullaby

Happy musicians after a group improvisation on the Brahms lullaby at a Mockingbird Trio concert in Boston, May 7 2011 (Brahms’ birthday). L-R: Scott Woolweaver, John McDonald, Eric Sawyer, Elizabeth Anker, Douglas Johnson, Francine Trester

Contact Elizabeth now