About us

The trio

The German newspaper Die Welt described a performance of the Boulanger Trio as “irresistible”, while Wolfgang Rihm wrote in a letter: “To be interpreted in this way is surely the great dream of every composer.”

Formed in Hamburg in 2006 by Karla Haltenwanger (piano), Birgit Erz (violin) and Ilona Kindt (cello), the trio is now based in Berlin. Already in 2007 the ensemble won the 4th Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition in Norway, followed by the Rauhe Prize for Modern Chamber Music in 2008. The ensemble has received crucial musical guidance from Niklas Schmidt, Hatto Beyerle, Menahem Pressler and Alfred Brendel.

In the past years, the trio has gained an excellent reputation in the world of chamber music, and it was invited to prestigious venues such as Konzerthaus Berlin, Festspielhaus Baden‐Baden, Palais des Beaux Arts Brussels, Wigmore Hall London and Philharmonie Berlin. The musicians also regularly appear at festivals like the Schleswig‐Holstein Musik Festival, the Heidelberger Frühling, the Dialoge at Mozarteum Salzburg, Ultraschall in Berlin and the Sommerliche Musiktage Hitzacker.

In addition to works of the classical and romantic period, the commitment to contemporary music is an important focus within the trio’s repertoire. The ensemble is collaborating with some of today’s foremost composers including Wolfgang Rihm, Johannes Maria Staud, Friedrich Cerha, Toshio Hosokawa and Matthias Pintscher. They also regularly appear with chamber music partners like Nils Mönkemeyer, viola and Sebastian Manz, clarinet. In 2011, the trio started its own concert series, the Boulangerie, in Hamburg and Berlin. At every one of these concerts, a classical composition is performed alongside a piece of contemporary music. The composer of the contemporary work is always present at the concert and talks with the three musicians about his or her oeuvre.

The range of the Boulanger Trio’s wide repertoire has been documented on seven CDs: their new “Solitaires” CD featuring short pieces for piano trio as well as a portrait CD with chamber music by Austrian composer Friedrich Cerha were released in January and Februar 2016 on Avi Music. Their Beethoven CD which was released on Hänssler Profil has won the prestiguos Supersonic Award in Luxembourg. Also released on Hänssler Profil were the 2012 CD with compositions by Dmitri Shostakovich and Peteris Vasks, which was also awarded a Supersonic, and the 2011 recording of works by Johannes Brahms, Franz Liszt and Arnold Schoenberg, which won the Excellentia Award in Luxembourg. Two earlier recordings featuring works by Robert and Clara Schumann, Camille Saint‐Saëns, Gabriel Fauré, Wolfgang Rihm and the German first recording of Lili Boulanger’s works appeared on the label ARS Produktion.

The ensemble is named after the sisters Nadia and Lili Boulanger, whose exceptional personalities and uncompromising devotion to music continue to be a great source of inspiration to the trio.


Karla Haltenwanger


Karla Haltenwanger was born in Bucharest in 1977 and has started appearing on stage in Romania at a young age. As the winner of a youth competition she had her first television appearance at the age of four, and at the age of seven she recorded Belá Bartók’s Microcosmos for Romanian television. In 1987 she played her recital debut at the Philharmonic Hall in Bucharest, in 1988 she performed as soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Ploiesti under the baton of Ilon Baciu.

Since 1990 she has been living in Germany. For over ten years she was a student of Karl-Heinz Kämmerling in Hannover, afterwards she continued her studies with Homero Francesch in Zurich. Through Camelia Pavlenco, Vassilia Efstathiadou and Markus Becker she received additional important impulses.

Karla Haltenwanger is a prize winner of the international chamber music competitions in Caltanissetta 2003 and Kuhmo 2004 and has won the first prize at the All-German Competition “Jugend musiziert”.

As a soloist, chamber musician and voice accompanist Karla Haltenwanger has toured Europe as well as Israel, Turkey and China. Her performances at the MIDEM in Cannes, the Slovenian Radio in Ljubliana, the EXPO in Hannover and the opening concert of the European Festival Weeks in Passau were hailed by audience and critics alike.

Birgit Erz


Birgit Erz, born in Heilbronn in 1979, received her first piano, violin and recorder lessons at the age of five. Her education on the violin was mainly influenced by Petru Munteanu, Valery Gradow, Roman Nodel und Antje Weithaas. In master classes with Roman Totenberg, Ruggiero Ricci, Rainer Kussmaul, Tibor Varga und Ida Haendel she received further artistic impulses.

At the age of nine her performance of the Vivaldi Concerto in a minor was broadcast by the Southern German Radio, at the age of eleven she was invited to tour the United States. Her concert tours have brought her to South Africa, Norway, Israel and Italy, to Weill Recital Hall/Carnegie Hall, Liederhalle Stuttgart and the Kyoto International Music Students Festival in Japan.

Very early she became a passionate chamber music player. As pianist and harpsichordist Birgit Erz played in many different ensembles, as violinist she was member of a horn trio and a string quartet for several years. With these chamber ensembles, as soloist and as piano accompanist she won many prizes at the German Youth Competition “Jugend musiziert”.

Initiated by the study of a work by Kazimierz Serocki at the age of ten Birgit Erz discovered her passion for contemporary music. Some years later her teacher Valery Gradow recommended her to approach especially the contemporary repertoire by taking into consideration literature and art of the same time period. Through this approach the discovery of new music remained so exciting for her that in 2002 she took part in the Premio Valentino Bucchi di Roma Internazionalefor music of the 20th century, which she won with a joint 2nd prize. At the Mendelssohn Competition for Composition in Berlin she received a special prize for the best interpretation.

Ilona Kindt


Ilona Kindt was born in Marl in 1972. Having started her education in Germany, she went on to study with Zara Nelsova and Harvey Shapiro in the United States and afterwards became accepted at the Menuhin Academy in Gstaad on a full scholarship. Her passion for chamber music had developed at a young age and was strongly influenced by the work with Walter Levin and Ferenc Rados. In 2004 she finished her artist diploma in Hamburg summa cum laude.

She has performed with Yehudi Menuhin, Alberto Lysy, Joseph Silverstein und Jean-Jacques Kantorow und has appeared at the Menuhin Festival Gstaad, the Salzburger Festspiele, the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, at Lincoln Center NY, Musikhalle Hamburg and the Radio Hall in Frankfurt . For Yehudi Menuhin’s organisation “Live Music Now” she has played numerous outreach concerts in Germany and Great Britain. As a soloist she has performed with Camerata Lysy Gstaad and Hamburger Sinfoniker.

Ilona Kindt is winner of the Elise Meyer Competition and the Ritter Prize. She has taken part in master classes with Bernhard Greenhouse, Steven Isserlis and William Pleeth. She is playing on a cello by Thomas Meuwissen made in Brussels.