The Potsdam Trio was established in 2016 after a successful concert tour in Europe.
Comprised of Canadian-Lithuanian violinist Atis Bankas, French cellist Damien Ventula and German pianist Constanze Beckmann, the Potsdam Trio first got together when they were reading Mendelssohn’s trio No. 1 in D – minor in Potsdam, Germany. In March 2016 the trio played again in Constanze Beckmann’s hometown of Potsdam as part of their concert tour. Potsdam offers a wide range of historical and musical events. Probably the most well known is the Potsdam Conference in 1945, when Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Harry Truman met at the Cecilienhof to negotiate terms for the end of World War II. Potsdam was a residence of the Prussian kings and the German Emperor, until 1918. Around the city there are a series of interconnected lakes and cultural landmarks, in particular the parks and palaces of Sanssouci. Potsdam’s most famous sight carries the love of France in its name: Frederick the Great, who wanted to enjoy life in French style in Sanssouci – his summer castle. When King Frederick II of Prussia ascended the throne in 1740, C.P.E. Bach was named court musician in Berlin and Potsdam. Bach remained there for almost 30 years and wrote some of his most important works during this time. The 6 Keyboard trios by C.P.E. Bach are among the trio’s repertoire.
This historical background, with it’s connections to major countries in Europe and the United States, didn’t only inspire the three musicians to choose the name “Potsdam Trio” but is also reflected in the ensemble’s repertoire. Coming from different countries, Potsdam is a symbol of unification for the trio. One of the trio’s incentives is to play not only in modern chamber concert halls but also in historical venues such as castles and museums. By performing in music salons in castles, that either have been restored or are still in the original shape, the trio provides the listener with an authentic acoustic that kings such as Frederick the Great, Frederick Wilhelm the II and composers of that time such as Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven were used to. These settings offer not only a unique exposure to sound but also inspire an intimate and interactive experience between the listener and the performer.
Other specialties include combining classical chamber music with visual arts. On the occasion of the trio’s recently given concert at the Art Academy in Hamburg, the Hans – Kock – Foundation organized an exhibition with sculptures and paintings. Among other pieces, the trio performed a piece by Joerg Widmann called Passacaglia for piano trio.
Potsdam Trio is ensemble in residence of the Hans – Kock – Foundation at Schleswig – Holstein.