Hailed by critics as "a grand departure from the usual" (News Herald), the Manhattan Piano Trio is one of the most creative, exciting, and dynamic young ensembles in America. Now in its 15th season, MPT has been among the busiest groups in the classical music scene, having performed hundreds of concerts for enthusiastic audiences in almost 40 states, and in venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, and the Ravinia Festival. The Washington Post described the Trio as "impressive" and "outstanding", while the Sarasota Herald Tribune said "one seldom is privileged to enjoy music of such a wide range of styles performed with self-effacing skill and relaxed assurance." Their third album, a disc of Schumann and Chopin trios in honor of the composers’ bicentennials, was successfully released in 2010 on the Marquis Classics label.
The Manhattan Piano Trio is an ensemble that embodies, in the deepest sense, the borough that provides its namesake: these three American musicians represent starkly different backgrounds, and yet connect on a fundamental level to enjoy making music together. Wayne Lee, violinist, is a native of San Francisco; Dmitry Kouzov, cellist, was born in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Milana Strezeva, pianist, is originally from Chişinău, Moldova.
Shortly after its formation in 2004, the Manhattan Piano Trio captured grand prizes at the Plowman Competition and the Yellow Springs Competition, and received the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Listeners’ Choice Award at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. Since then, MPT has carved out a unique niche for itself by performing concerts in a much wider range of settings: from major concert halls around the country to venues in smaller cities. The Trio has performed in prestigious venues such as the Kravis Performing Arts Center, the Clark Memorial Library at UCLA, Chamber Music Sedona and Pro Musica Detroit; alongside these engagements, MPT has maintained its goal of establishing and encouraging new concert series to grow in places often bypassed by other major classical groups.
Past seasons have brought the Manhattan Piano Trio to virtually every part of the country. Highlights include performances and return engagements at the Franciscan University, William and Mary College, Shenandoah University, Fairmont Chamber Music Society, Young Harris Methodist College, St. Simon’s Island Concert Association, Oxford College of Emory University and Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Minnesota. The Trio has also toured South Africa and Italy, performing in Pretoria, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Durban, as well as in Bologna, Rovereto, and Portici.
Strongly committed to educating new generations of musicians and music lovers, the Manhattan Piano Trio enjoys communicating with their audiences through both music and commentary. The Trio also presents master classes and outreach programs to preparatory schools, colleges, and communities wherever it goes. As part of the community rebuilding effort in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, they were one of the first musical groups to perform in the city and were honored to give a benefit concert at the University of New Orleans.
In addition to their rigorous concert schedule, the members of MPT are devoted teachers, chamber musicians, and entrepreneurs. Milana is an artistic director and founder of the Grand Piano Series in Naples, Florida; Dmitry is an associate professor of cello at the University of Illinois; and Wayne is a member of the Formosa Quartet, a co-director of the Piedmont Chamber Music Festival, and a lecturer of violin at the University of Illinois. The performers all completed graduate degrees at the Juilliard School, and the group still enjoys an active presence in Manhattan.