Connie Kim-Sheng (piano), Strauss Shi (violin), and Ben (Bennie) Fried (cello) founded the Monterey Piano Trio in late 2021. Deeply committed to connecting the music of the past and present, they believe it is essential to give music greater prevalence in their community by working with non-profits and living composers. With this mission in mind, they have performed throughout Los Angeles with much acclaim. The trio has appeared in venues, both offbeat and mainstream, in order to share their love of the chamber repertoire with many audiences.
Within months of the trio’s formation, the group was invited to perform as an HEIR, or Heifetz Ensemble-in-Residence, for the Heifetz Institute in Virginia. The Monterey Piano Trio was also a semi-finalist at the Coltman Chamber Competition and has been invited to compete as a quarter-finalist in the Fischoff Competition.
The musicians have been active chamber music performers prior to the establishment of their trio, appearing in festivals such as Kneisel Hall, Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Aspen Music Festival, and Heifetz Institute. The trio comprises of graduates of the USC Thornton School of Music, New England Conservatory, the Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, Mannes College of Music, and The Glenn Gould School. The group has been mentored by pianists Jeffrey Kahane and cellist Andrew Shulman of USC.
Also passionate educators, the trio enjoys passing on their experience and knowledge of chamber music unto the next generation. Through the newly established Fried Music in downtown Alhambra, founded by Connie and Ben, the Monterey Piano Trio enjoys a home for their frequent concerts. Fried Music also houses a non-profit Pre-College intensive, offered with full scholarship, for young students in which chamber music and orchestra is their main focus. The trio are core faculty members and encourage the highest level of music making in all their students.