Pianist Kevin Kwan Loucks (center), and his wife, violinist Iryna Krechkovsky, joined with cellist Ross Gasworth (left) to form Trio Céleste – the chamber music ensemble-in-residence at UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts. Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Good vibrations

Alum Kevin Kwan Loucks and his wife make beautiful music together in chamber duo and trio

Kevin Kwan Loucks ’04 will tell you that a successful chamber music group is like a happy marriage: It’s intimate, each voice is heard, and it requires shared goals.

For Loucks, a professional pianist, entrepreneur and UC Irvine alumnus, maintaining that harmony is easier than for most. He gets to perform with his wife.

Over the last 10 years, Loucks and Iryna Krechkovsky have given hundreds of recitals together throughout North America, Europe and Asia as the Krechkovsky/Loucks Duo. Their violin/piano repertoire focuses on the music of Bach, Beethoven, Debussy and Saint-Saëns, among others.

“It’s amazing to make music with your life partner,” Loucks says. “There aren’t a lot of fields that give you this opportunity.”

Adds Krechkovsky: “Being in a highly creative field is absolutely consuming; neither of us could imagine our lives without music.”

Loucks was recently named by OC Weekly as one of Orange County’s 30 most important people of 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from UCI, a master’s from the Juilliard School and a doctorate from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

In addition to the Krechkovsky/Loucks Duo, he established Trio Céleste, the chamber ensemble-in-residence at UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts, and Chamber Music | OC, an ambitious arts initiative to promote chamber music. Since 2012, the latter has showcased rising stars in concert and partnered with such nonprofits as Human Options and Irvine Adult Day Health Services.

“As a UCI alum, Kevin has been dedicated not only to giving back to the local community but to energetically reinventing the music scene in Irvine and throughout the region,” says Stephen Barker, interim dean of CTSA. “His intelligence, commitment to UCI, and remarkable skill and talent as a pianist and as the leader of Trio Céleste make him a true treasure for the campus.”

By definition, chamber music is classical music designed for a small group of performers, usually one player per part. Loucks began exploring it in high school.

“It’s such an amazing thing to listen to, especially in a live setting,” he says. “The audience can hear every individual and see how the performers interact with one another. It’s an intimate kind of music.”

Chamber music is also democratic, Loucks says, because every player carries equal responsibility for artistic decisions. Finding harmony together is part of the allure.

Loucks, Krechkovsky and cellist Ross Gasworth formed Trio Céleste in 2011 and have performed extensively throughout North America and Asia. In 2013, they won the prestigious Beverly Hills National Auditions and appeared in shows throughout Southern California during the 2013-14 season. Last October, the group gave an opening concert at UCI’s Winifred Smith Hall.

Appointed artists-in-residence at UCI in 2013, the Trio Céleste members provide chamber music coaching and orchestral training to undergraduate and graduate music students. The ensemble also directs the two-week Chamber Music Festival – part of UCI’s Summer Academies in the Arts – in which students between the ages of 12 and 19 play in small groups and perform in a final concert.

Trio Céleste will present “The American Music Project” at UCI’s Winifred Smith Hall on Sunday, June 7, at 3 p.m. It will feature chamber music from composers such as John Adams and John Corigliano, as well as two new compositions by CTSA music professors Christopher Dobrian and Nicole Mitchell. To learn more, visit http://music.arts.uci.edu/content/trio-c%C3%A9leste-american-music-project-june-7.

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