The London Bridge Trio is one of Britain’s most exciting and brilliant chamber groups, whose primary focus is driven by the piano trio repertoire. Originally formed in 2002 as the London Bridge Ensemble, they continue to prioritise strong, composer-led programmes and collaborate with regular guest artists.
"The poetry, flexibility and ardour displayed by these gifted players held me captive from
first note to last." Gramophone
The London Bridge Trio is one of Britain’s leading chamber ensembles, known for their deeply nuanced and searching interpretations. Formed in 2002, they continue their original mission of prioritising strong, composer-led programmes, often collaborating with regular guest artists. Their name reflects an admiration for English music of the early twentieth century, which forms part of the group’s varied repertoire and is represented by their hugely successful Frank Bridge recordings. For 2022 and beyond, founder Daniel Tong is joined by Ben Hancox and Cara Berridge, both members of the acclaimed Sacconi Quartet with whom Daniel has performed on numerous occasions.
Over recent years the trio has appeared frequently in London with Wigmore Hall and Kings Place concerts as well as a residency at St John’s Smith Square, entitled ‘Brahms and his World’, which represented four aspects of his composing life with mixed combinations and song. Their concert of Czech music at Champs Hill in Sussex was broadcast live by BBC Radio 3, and their concerts at St George’s Bristol were broadcast as a series of BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concerts. The group has also appeared at venues including Queen's Hall, St George’s and the Ponte de Lima Festival (Portugal).
The London Bridge Trio has a strong reputation in the recording field. In 2019 the trio released ‘The Leipzig Circle’, a new disc of works celebrating unheard female composers from the 1800s, involving the works of Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn and Robert and Clara Schumann (SOMM Recordings). The disc, Volume 1 of a trio of CDs (they will record the complete piano trios by Schumann and Mendelssohn), garnered high praise; The Telegraph called it “a total delight… The performers do the works proud.” Gramophone Magazine and BBC Music Magazine joined The Telegraph in praising the new disc: “Everything here is played with sensitivity and conviction” (Gramophone); “The London Bridge Trio offer a fascinating glimpse into Leipzig… their works inhabit distinctive, highly Romantic soundworlds full of invention and drama” (BBC Music Magazine).
In Autumn 2015 the trio released a disc of Dvorak Piano Quartets on the Champs Hill label, with guest violist Gary Pomeroy of the Heath Quartet. The album received rave reviews in Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine (double five stars) and the Observer. The ensemble’s recordings of works by Frank Bridge were also released by Dutton and met with plaudits from the critics, including unreserved commendations from Gramophone Magazine, International Record Review, American Record Guide and BBC Radio 3 (CD Review). Their second Bridge disc was shortlisted for the Gramophone Chamber Music Award 2011. Their Schumann recording for Sonimage Classics drew observations such as "rendered with a bubbling brilliance", and "heart touchingly eloquent" from the Sunday Times. A collection of works by Fauré followed on Sonimage Classics, and received excellent reviews from both The Strad and Gramophone magazines.
Thought-provoking pre-concert talks and lecture-recitals are something the trio is increasingly known for, and their collaboration with Richard Wigmore continues, exploring together the influences, connections and history of masterworks for the genre. The trio also has a long association with baritone Ivan Ludlow, enabling the inclusion of Lieder alongside connected chamber works.
In 2008 the ensemble founded its own festival, the Winchester Chamber Music Festival, in the hometown of their cellist Kate Gould. The festival welcomes capacity audiences each year in late April/early May and the trio have secured their reputation for stylish programmes involving exceptional international artists. In 2018 the festival celebrated its tenth anniversary with the world premiere of a new work written for the trio by Colin Matthews, ‘Hidden Agenda’, and the trio were joined by the Heath Quartet for a series of sold-out concerts. Guest artists have included the Gould trio and the Navarra quartet as well as members of the Elias Quartet and Kungsbacka Trio.
Ben Hancox is the leader and founder member of the Sacconi Quartet. Since their formation at the Royal College of Music in 2001, the quartet has won international competitions and has toured extensively in Britain and abroad.
Having started playing at the age of four, he studied violin with Faith Whiteley and Serguei Fatkouline, and with Felix Andrievsky at the Royal College of Music. At the RCM Ben won both the major violin prizes. He left with a first class honours degree and was awarded a distinction in his postgraduate diploma in performance.
Described by the Observer as ‘Fearless and exciting’, Ben has earned a trusted reputation as a soloist and chamber musician. He regularly participates in the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove, and the Wye Valley Chamber Music Festival, and through these festivals, has formed many friendships and musical partnerships with performers from around the world.
Ben has recorded widely with his quartet, both on the group’s own label, Sacconi Records and for Signum Classics. Their world premiere recording of Jonathan Dove’s chamber music, on Signum was both Critic’s Choice and Recording of the Month in Gramphone Magazine. Ben also records music for film and TV, and has also played the Argentine Tango for BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing!
As well as performing, Ben enjoys coaching chamber music at the Royal College of Music and at festivals around the UK. He plays on a violin by Simone Sacconi from 1932, which is generously on loan from the Royal Society of Musicians.
Cara is a founder member of the Sacconi Quartet who have won prizes at many International competitions and have performed at all the major London venues including Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, Cadogan Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Conway Hall. They have travelled extensively throughout the rest of the UK and Europe to venues including Bridgewater Hall , Musikverein, Muziekgebouw, L'Auditori in Barcelona and Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid as well as many venues in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Finland, Norway and the Czech Republic.
In addition to playing with the Sacconi Quartet, Cara enjoys playing with various chamber orchestras, Ensemble Perpetuo and recording music for films and TV programmes. Cara graduated from the Royal College of Music in 2002 with First Class Honours and continued her studies as the Amaryllis Fleming Scholar, receiving her Postgraduate Diploma and Advanced Diploma with Distinction in 2003 and 2004. Cara plays a Nicolaus Gagliano cello from 1781, generously on loan to her from the Royal Society of Musicians, a charity which helps musicians in need.
Daniel Tong was born in Cornwall and studied in London. His musical life is spent performing as soloist and chamber musician, writing and teaching. Outside the UK he has recently performed in France, Belgium and Portugal. In 2012 he recorded his first solo CD of works by Schubert for Quartz, Gramophone magazine describing him as “an extraordinarily sympathetic Schubertian.” He is shortly to record solo works by Brahms for Resonus Classics.
Praised by The Guardian for his ‘masterly pianism', Daniel has collaborated with the Elias, Navarra, Heath, Callino, Dante, Carducci and Allegri quartets as well as singers Raphaela Papadakis, Mary Bevan, Stephan Loges and Paul Agnew. He has a regular duo with baritone Ivan Ludlow. Other recent CD releases have included the Brahms and Beethoven cello sonatas (on period instruments) with
Robin Michael for Resonus Classics and works by Schubert, David Matthews and Fauré with violinist Sara Trickey for Deux-Elles (described by Gramophone as ‘definitive’). Each year Daniel plays with an array of wonderful individual artists, often at his own chamber festival: founded in 1999, the Wye Valley Chamber Music Festival attracts many exciting chamber musicians to spend ten days making music in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The Festival has become a well-established and treasured event in the region’s cultural life, also gaining national attention for its creative spirit and artistic vibrancy.
Daniel’s Beethoven Plus project has been a vibrant addition to his life over the past five years. Alongside Krysia Osostowicz, he commissioned ten new works to partner the Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Violin, premiering all during 2015. The duo has since given the entire cycle in Bristol, Oxford, Cambridge, Sheffield, Aberdeen and Wells, where they recently recorded all twenty works for SOMM Recordings. The cycle is now the subject of Daniel’s PhD. With Music Discovery Live, Daniel works alongside musicologist and broadcaster Richard Wigmore, presenting insights into masterpieces of the solo piano and chamber music repertoire.
Daniel is Head of Piano in Chamber Music at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. For five years he has directed a summer course for talented young musicians as part of the Wye Valley Chamber Music Festival.