The Capital Trio

The Capital Trio came together in 1997 for a concert commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of the death of Brahms.  Since that time they have performed in New England, New York, the Midwest, the South, and in Europe.  They have participated in Summer Festivals in Maine and Michigan and held university residencies at Williams College, Long Island University, Bates College, SUNY Oswego, and Clark University.  Their recording A Book of Hours, music of William Matthews, was released on Albany Records in 2010 (TROY 1239), and their second recording for Albany Records, music of David Walther, came out this past summer (TROY 1428).  The piano trio from this recording called The Other Way! will have its world premier at concerts this fall, including performances in Ohio, West Virginia, New York, and Boston.  The Capital Trio has been chamber ensemble in residence at the University at Albany since 2008. 

Capital Trio

Duncan J. Cumming, received degrees from Bates College and New England Conservatory and received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 2003 from Boston University.  In 2006 joined the faculty at the University at Albany, where he hosted the first Youth Movements Festival in 2008 and in 2009 his book The Fountain of Youth:  The Artistry of Frank Glazer was published.  As a professor, in 2010 he was honored to receive the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching.  His recent recordings include a solo recording for Centaur (CRC 3125) including music of Brahms, Debussy, Satie, and Chopin and the chamber music recording A Book of Hours for Albany Records (TROY 1239).  This past summer two new recordings were released:  Threads of the Heart, a chamber recording for Albany Records, and a historical instrument recording for Centaur (CRC 3231) of the music of Carl Maria von Weber on Weber’s own 1815 Brodmann fortepiano.  In concert and in recording he has collaborated with the mezzo soprano Magdelena Kozena, the conductor and keyboard player Christopher Hogwood, and pianist Frank Glazer. 

From 2002-2008 Cumming was on the faculty of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute as a teacher, chamber music coach, and performer in the position of assistant director and later director of the Young Artists Piano Program.  Before accepting the position at the University at Albany he was a member of the faculty at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.  He is the pianist of the Capital Trio and lives in New York with his wife, the violinist Hilary Walther Cumming, and his children Lucy, Mairi, and Bear. 


Matthews: Friday Night Fish Fry

“...The Capital Trio plays throughout with clarity, precision and manifest musicality… This is a disc [A Book of Hours, Albany records 2011] that I shall enjoy repeatedly.”

--Fanfare Magazine, 2011

“The performances of both works are accurate and clear, and suggest that the players are as good-humored as the music.”

--Albany Times Union, 2011

Violinist Hilary Walther Cumming teaches at the University at Albany and performs as the violinist of the Capital Trio with American pianist Duncan Cumming and Turkish cellist Sölen Dikener.  Before moving to New York, she served as concertmaster of the Cape Cod Sinfonietta and the Andover Chamber Orchestra; she has been heard as soloist with these ensembles as well as with the Reading Symphony Orchestra, Concord Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Principal influences for her style and discipline are Joseph Silverstein, Franco Gulli and Shmuel Ashkenasi on modern violin,  Stanley Ritchie on Baroque violin, and Seamus Connolly on Irish traditional fiddle. These outstanding artists continue to guide her and inspire her every moment she spends with her violin.

The Capital Trio recording, Threads of the Heart, new music by Los Angeles-based composer David Walther, was nominated for a Grammy in 2013.  She has performed most extensively with the Capital Trio, ATHELAS (Denmark), Boston-based Sarasa, the Abbott Trio, and the Coleridge Ensemble.  Her recordings can be found on Albany Records, Meridien and AFKA Records.  As an orchestra musician, she has played in major halls on four continents; as a chamber musician she has recently toured Denmark, France and Switzerland with the Capital Trio.  Her first love and passion remains the study and performance of chamber music.

Şőlen Dikener has been the professor of cello at Marshall University since 2002. He promotes the works of contemporary composers from Turkey and the USA. His recording projects featured the music of Ilhan Baran, Ahmed A. Saygun, Ilhan Usmanbas, Necil K. Akses, Cemal R. Rey, Kamran Ince as well as Paul Tortelier, Othmar Schoeck, William Matthews, Mark Zanter, David Walther, and David Williams. He recorded seven compact discs that are available on iTunes, Amazon, Napster and other music stores. Some of his live performances were broadcast at numerous radio stations including WWFM, WMUK, Radio France, and TRT (Turkish Radio & Television).  He has appeared as solo cellist and chamber musician in  the USA, Germany, Austria, France, Turkey, and England, performing with Kalamazoo Symphony, Huntington Symphony, CMU Orchestra, Kalamazoo College Orchestra, Marshall Orchestra, Bilkent Symphony, Presidential Symphony, Istanbul State Symphony, Hacettepe Symphony and collaborating with conductors Jean Perrison, Tadeusz Strugala, Raymond Harvey, Yoshimi Takeda, Isin Metin and Gurer Aykal.  He has also performed with the Shanghai String Quartet and pianists Adam Neiman and Yefim Bronfman. 


As an educator he has been a vigorous advocate of arts in the United States and Turkey. In 2010 he published a cello method book “Cello Warm-Up!” which received high critical acclaim from The Strad Magazine. During his studies in France, Dr. Dikener was one of the final assistants to the legendary French cellist Paul Tortelier. He received his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University.

Duncan J. Cumming

Hilary Walther Cumming