Trillium to present ‘Bicentennial Concert’ Sept. 28

Trillium to present ‘Bicentennial Concert’ Sept. 28

Aug. 27, 2019 

The Division of Fine Arts of Maryville College will present a Bicentennial Concert featuring the Trillium Piano Trio and Friends at 7:30 p.m. Sat., Sept. 28 in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

The program will open with two Bach arias: “Hallelujah” and “I Trust His Grace.” Violist Shelley Armer will join the ensemble for the Brahms Piano Quartet in G Minor, Op. 25, which contains the ever-popular Gypsy Rondo. The program will end with three songs for tenor and piano trio by Robert Kahn.

“Dating from 1906, these are settings of poems about the Fountain of Youth, and is one of the few song cycles written explicitly for voice and piano trio,” said Dr. Robert Bonham, professor emeritus of music and member of Trillium.

The concert will feature guest tenor and Maryville College alumnus John Wesley Wright ’87. After graduating from Maryville College in 1987, Wright attended the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he earned the M.M. and D.M.A. in Performance Studies. A native of Rome, Ga., he works as Associate Professor of Music at Salisbury University (Salisbury, MD), coordinating the voice and opera workshop programs. An active clinician and leader of workshops on voice production, interpretation, and African-American song tradition, he also co-directed the musical theatre program at the Maryland Summer Center of the Arts (2007-2014). He performs solo repertoire ranging from baroque to Broadway throughout the world, including as a member of the internationally celebrated American Spiritual Ensemble. Acclaim has also come as gold medalist of the American Traditions Vocal Competition 2000, with other top prizes from the National Federation of Music Clubs, the Metropolitan Opera National Council, and the International Schubert Competition. His doctoral dissertation (2014) studies musical borrowings underlying the role of the Celebrant in Bernstein’s Mass. While at Maryville College, he sang with the MC Concert Choir, appeared in several theatre productions and danced with the Appalachian Ballet Company. He is a recipient of the 2007 Distinguished Choir Alumni Award.

Founded in January of 2014, Trillium, an ensemble of strings and piano, has engaged numerous audiences with its expressive interpretations at the heart of the piano trio literature, in addition to performances of quartets and quintets. Recently the ensemble was featured on the Performing Arts Series of the University of Jamestown, N.D. Trillium’s concerts for civic groups such as Sunday Soiree Series, Knoxville’s AARP Chapter, Maryville College, and artist-in-residence workshops and concert performances at Community Cello Works “Cello-Fest” and Salisbury University, Maryland, and Winston-Salem, N.C., have garnered high praise for their passionate commitment to the music, and resulted in return invitations.  A recent concert in Knoxville received this review: “Trillium is a very accomplished chamber music ensemble of a high order. … Any Trillium concert is worth far more than the price of admission.”

The members of the trio are Alison Maerker Garner, violin, Alicia Randisi-Hooker, cello, adjunct faculty, Maryville College, and Robert Bonham, piano, Professor Emeritus, Maryville College. They will be joined by Shelley Armer, viola, for the Brahms Quartet.

Alison Maerker Garner, a violinist, has performed with orchestras in California, Indiana, and Tennessee, and has toured throughout the U.S. and South America, playing both violin and piano as part of the University of Tennessee Suzuki Talent Education Association. She studied at Indiana University with Josef Gingold and Paul Biss. She performed with the Irish band Red-Haired Mary for eight years and has released two CDs. She teaches using a variety of modalities (Suzuki, Kodaly, and Dalcroze) and has been published in a variety of journals. Her book series, Musical Minds, introduces students to music in the context of all the arts.

Alicia Randisi-Hooker, a cellist, holds degrees from the University of Tennessee (BM) and the Esther Boyer College of Music at Temple University (MM). She has performed extensively in orchestras and chamber music settings throughout the United States and Europe. Alicia is engaged in a rich variety of musical activities, teaching each summer at Suzuki Institutes and workshops around the country. Her students have won prizes, scholarships, and competitions both nationally and internationally.

Robert Bonham, a pianist, is Professor Emeritus from Maryville College in eastern Tennessee. A recipient of the Maryville College Outstanding Teacher Award, he taught piano and courses that ranged from world music and art history to experiential courses focused on enhancing creativity and wellness. He first studied music at the international Woodstock School in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains of India and earned degrees in piano from Phillips University and Kansas University. His Ph.D. in Comparative Arts is from Ohio University. He is a founding member of the faculty of the Keyboard Wellness Seminar (now in the 17th year devoted to sustaining and promoting the insights of Dorothy Taubman). He presents a variety of workshops nationally to enhance wellness and performance, and also enjoys leading groups to explore India or sail the Greek seas on a catamaran.

Shelley Armer, a violist, is an avid chamber, orchestral, new music performer and teacher based in Knoxville, TN. She received a Bachelor of Music from Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music in Viola Performance and a Masters of Music in Viola Performance from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she was the Teaching Assistant for Hillary Herndon.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2019 semester is 1,148.