There has been a lot of buzz about Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Pas de Trois since its premiere on Sept. 18th, 2016 by the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. Composed in honor of the ensemble's fortieth anniversary, Pas de Trois is the sixth work that she has written for the trio throughout their long and critically acclaimed career. Having worked with them frequently since celebrating their decennial anniversary with a commission for Piano Trio, Zwilich's collaboration with the ensemble continues to thrive.

As the title suggests, Pas de Trois is inspired by the traditional form of the balletic dance for three. Each member of the trio assumes the role of one of three separate musical protagonists, figuratively dancing their way through syncopated dialogues, slow melodious solos, and a virtuosic finale. With nods to Blues and Jazz idioms, Zwilich's unique compositional voice truly shines. Of the premiere, Janelle Gelfand writes, "'Pas de Trois' was both engaging and sophisticated...The audience approved with a warm response."

Since the premiere, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio has performed the piece throughout the country with great success and generous praise. Read on for performance reviews.

Charles T. Downey's review of the performance at the Kennedy Center's Fortas Chamber Music Concerts series in Washington D.C. on December 7th, 2016. 

American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s new piece “Pas de Trois” opened the evening with a flourish, which contained a whiff of “Hail to the Chief” in honor of the group’s first concert together. The work rollicked along with blues-inflected riffs in dancing unisons on three main motifs: fast runs, repeated notes and syncopations.
— Washington Post

Michael O'Connor's review of the performance at the Dreyfoos Hall of the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, FL on December 14th, 2016.

The new work was a charming, jazzy take on the standard ballet trio in two parts. The opening section portrays the dancers’ entrée with lightning fast, bluesy passages passed between the members as the imaginary dancers interact with each other in leaps and bounds. The challenge for the trio is to alternate these rapid-fire passages with more placid moments as those dancers catch their breaths. The second movement features a more languorous mood, punctuated by references to the riffs of the first movement. This highly accessible new music was very well received by Kravis audience.
— Palm Beach Daily News

Dennis Rooney's review of the performance at the Dreyfoos Hall of the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, FL, on December 14th, 2016:

Although technically a piece d’occasion, I predict this work will likely have independent life in the repertoire. It is highly appealing to concert audiences and crafted with a mastery attractive to performers.
— American Record Guide


Rex Hearn's review of the same December 14th performance in West Palm Beach.

The three began their concert with a specially commissioned work by the Miami-born composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich called Pas de Trois, to commemorate their 40 years together. Zwilich’s charming morsel is a happy combination of purely technical excellence with the distinct power of immediate communication.
— Palm Beach Arts Paper

Lawrence Budmen's review of the performance at Gusman Concert Hall for Friends of Chamber Music in Miami on January 5th, 2017.

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Pas de Trois, composed for the ensemble, was an exhilarating opener. … The fast opening measures set the tone for an energetic display piece, seasoned with a touch of the blues. Zwilich carries off the tricky combination of jazz and classical elements with great style. The burnished sound of Jaime Laredo’s violin and Sharon Robinson’s cello soared in the anguished melody of the score’s central episode. Incisive piano chords that underpin the string writing morph into the virtuosic coda. At less than 15 minutes, the compact score is first-rate Zwilich, replete with inspired themes and crisp rhythmic figures. Few composers pull off this type of populist fusion so superbly and the trio gave a tight, crisp performance that matched the score’s brilliance.
— South Florida Classical Review

Sam Jacobson's review of the performance at the Bienen School of Music's Winter Chamber Music Festival in Chicago on January 13th, 2017. 

Pas de Trois, a compact two-movement work, served as an effective prelude to Friday’s program as well. The jazzy rhythms and harmonies of the opening Entrée gave the piece an immediate appeal, while the succeeding Variata e Coda began more introspectively. Each member had a solo passage before the jazzy feel of the beginning returned in a tutti conclusion.
— bachtrack