Illinois Arts Trio series to showcase Russian classics
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Illinois Arts Trio concert series to showcase Russian masters

A trio of noted Central Illinois instrumentalists is getting ready to bring the music of mid-20th Russian composers Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Shostakovich alive across CI and beyond.

Pianist Tatiana Shustova, violinist Aaron Jacobs and cellist Amy Catron first performed together at Jacob’s Doctorate recital at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Shustova and Jacobs, who are married, performed as a duo several times since then. “In 2018 I joined Millikin University and reconnected with cello professor Catron,” Shustova said. “We decided to play together again.”

The three instrumentalists have covered a lot of ground, musically as well as geographically. Shustova, a native of St. Petersburg, Russia, has received numerous awards for her piano performances in solo and chamber music competitions across the U.S., Italy, and Russia; she currently teaches piano at Millikin as an adjunct, in addition to masterminding the Chambana Music Competition (more on that later).  

Jacobs has also performed across the U.S. and Europe, and has received more than his share of awards. He’s the founder and coordinator of the Illinois String Academy, which was added to UIUC’s music offerings in 2009 and has since grown to offer private and group instruction, a pre-college chamber music program, an internship program that provides pedagogical training for string majors, and more.

Carton’s credits include being principal cellist with several Ohio Symphonies, and performing as soloist with a variety of orchestras in Illinois and Florida. She’s currently principal cellist with Sinfonia da Camera, a chamber orchestra based at UIUC, and Millikin-Decatur Symphony, as well as associate principal with Illinois Symphony and Illinois Chamber Orchestras.

The concert series is dubbed Russian Masterworks. All the selection were composed specifically for piano, violin and cello ensembles, and Shustova said while the choice of Russian material was not intentional, it turned out to be timely, as “Russia celebrates 75 years of the end of the Second World War on May 9.” She noted that the repertoire includes Shostakovich’s Piano Trio n. 2, which was written in 1944 and reflects the tragic events of the time using Jewish musical motifs.

The performances will be held at Millikin, Illinois State University and UIUC on Feb. 23, March 1 and March 13, respectively. And remember how we said this trio covers a lot of ground? Thanks to Shustova’s connections, they’re taking this series on the road all the way to Middleburg, Virginia, on March 23. Check out the program and details on each performance below.


  • H. Wieniawski, Mazurka in G major Op. 19
  • S. Prokofiev, Sonata for Cello C major Op. 119
  • I. Stravinsky, Suite Italienne for violin and piano
  • D. Shostakovich Trio n. 2 in E minor Op. 67

Russian Masterworks at Millikin

February 23, 2020 4:00 pm
Keuper Hall 100 N Fairview Ave Decatur, IL 62522


Russian Masterworks at ISU

March 1, 2020 6:00 pm
Kemp Recital Hall 401 S School St Normal, IL 61761


Russian Masterworks at UIUC

March 13, 2020 7:00 pm
Music Building Auditorium 1114 W Nevada St Urbana, IL 61801


Russian Masterworks at Middleburg Concert Series

March 22, 2020 4:00 pm
Middleburg United Methodist Church 15 W Washington St Middleburg, VA 20117

A “meet-and-greet” with the performers will follow.

Sergio Barreto

Written by Sergio Barreto

Sergio's American life began as an exchange student in Lincoln, IL. After more than 20 years living up North, writing for outlets such as The Chicago Reader, organizing & promoting cultural events and what-not, he had it with the big city and moved back to Central Illinois. He currently edits financial newsletters, in addition to designing and maintaining websites like this one.

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