"Dr. Ken Shifrin, a PhD in musicology from Oxford University, has visited Bohemia and Moravia on several occasions under the auspices of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the British Academy in order to explore the archives of Czech churches which has led to valuable discoveries documenting the fact that the alto trombone - especially as a partner with voice in sacred arias - was a highly popular solo instrument during the 18th century in the Czech Crown Lands.
However, Ken Shifrin does not limit his work to musicological research alone, for he has brought to life the jewels that he has discovered and has transformed them to concert form in an outstanding programme of virtuoso experience as artistic director of the excellent English group, Posaune Voce Trio, perhaps the only professional group of its kind."
Vojtech Stritesky, Artistic Director, International Smetana Music Festival

"The combination of the trombonist Ken Shifrin with soprano plus piano creates an outstanding mix, which was enthusiastically received by the audience".
Milos Formacek, Director, Karlovy Vary [Karlsbad] Symphony Orchestra

"A truly fantastic concert. Rarely have I seen an audience so enthused"
International Humanitarian Foundation

"The Trio was superb in all respects. The sheer professionalism was a joy and the combination of three extraordinary talents served to produce a performance which could not be bettered"
Solihull Festival

"The selection of the programme, which ranged from Emperor Joseph to Glenn Miller and Gershwin, created an electric atmosphere. What an overwhelming evening!" Austrian-American Institute



What springs to mind when you think of the trombone – raucous, rasping, roaring? It is one of those instruments that tends to suffer from stereotyping. But the Posaune Voce Trio dispels this. “The aim is for the trombone and the voice to sound like two voices,” says artistic director Ken Shifrin. “During the Baroque Period, in a pocket of Europe – mainly Austria and Bohemia – the trombone was actually the favoured solo instrument with the voice.”

Formed in 1994, Posaune Voce Trio comprises the unique blend of Shifrin (alto and tenor trombone), Claire Hollocks (soprano) and Robert Challinor (keyboard). They perform, as well as deliver masterclasses and lecture recitals, on both sides of the Atlantic, and have appeared at the International Smetana Festival, the Bratislava and Dresden summer festivals, the Dvorak Festival as well as at venues in Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Krakow and Washington, DC. Probably the only professional full-time group of this combination, the Trio performs original works – not transcriptions or arrangements – of the likes of Leopold Mozart, Michael Haydn, Albrechtsberger, Tuma, Fux, Caldara and Ziani, among others.

PVT has recently completed a tour of Poland where it did first modern-day performances of “new” baroque works which Shifrin (who holds a PhD in musicology from Oxford University) uncovered during research carried out in the archives of Vienna and Prague.

A typical concert will consist of original repertoire for their instrumentation, moving on to more modern music, such as Dixieland and jazz. “”We decided very early on that we would need to do more than just baroque music in order to appeal to a wider audience, which is why we developed our “Baroque to Broadway” programme, “ says Shifrin. An important factor for keeping the audience’s interest is PVT’s frequent change of texture and focus,” adds Nigel Pennington, the trio’s manager and longstanding friend of Shifrin. “All of the members sing, at times in three-part harmony; Claire plays violin on some works; Ken will perform a trombone sonata with Robert and then Robert will play a solo piece by Handel or “Jelly Roll” Morton; trombone and voice will do the Flower Duet from Lakmé without piano accompaniment. And then in the light music section there is a cabaret element and frequent costume changes.”

Because PVT is so flexible and versatile, audiences, whether they are “sophisticated” or not, recognise something special. “Claire has that rare quality in which she is able to establish a rapport immediately with an audience,” Ken says. “Rob gives the group the sound of a threesome, rather than two soloists being accompanied by the keyboard.” Ken, who introduces the works, is always a big hit with the audiences with his playing as well as witty humour (he can tell jokes in German and Czech).

It is obvious to audiences straight away that the trombone and voice blend well. “We always say there is a “gotcha” moment with our audiences”, remarks Ken.

Let them get you soon.