The The Irida Trio, named after the Greek messenger of the gods Iris who connects heaven and earth with a rainbow, was founded in the fall of 2018 (initially as Odeon Trio) by three musician friends at the University of Music Saar under the direction of Prof. Tatevik Mokatsian, where they have been actively exploring the immensely diverse repertoire of piano trio music ever since. Since then, the Irida Trio has had many opportunities to showcase their shared joy of chamber music in numerous concerts and festivals across Europe.  As of 2022, they have been studying with the Artemis Quartet at the Berlin University of the Arts. Johanna Hempen (violin), Oliver Léonard (violoncello), and Alexander Baier (piano) are committed to combining contemporary repertoire with traditional works, thus revitalizing the way we look at the old through the experience of the contemporary. In the summer of 2019, the ensemble’s meticulous chamber music work culminated in winning first prize at the 20th Walter Gieseking Competition in Saarbrücken, followed by a radio production by ‘Saarländischer Rundfunk’. In 2020, the Irida Trio also won the prestigious Hans and Ruth Giessen Founda- tion Scholarship. The ensemble reached the semifinals of the 2021 ‘Deutscher Musik Wettbewerb’ in Freiburg and is sponsored by the Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now  e. V. Association of the Saarland. In autumn 2022 the Trio published their debut album “Phoenix” at KKE Records succesfully in the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. The love and passion towards chamber music as well as the constant dialouge with everlasting cycles in the musical context can be found in all three pieces. The “Trio” by Éric Tanguy, Kelly-Marie Murphys composition “Give Me Phoenix Wings To Fly” and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdys 2. piano trio in c-minor op. 66 form a colourful combination which is received with enthusiasm. The ensembles has made concert appearances in Germany, Italy as well as upcoming in England. Among many festivals, the Irida Trio is constantly working on creating own concepts as well as performing classical concerts. The Irida Trio has already received musical influences from renowned ensembles and chamber musicians such as the Artemis Quartet, the Vision String Quartet, Christoph Callies (Trio Adorno), Prof. Martin Funda (Armida Quartett), Prof. Gerald Fauth, Prof. Heime Müller, and Prof. Eberhard Feltz.

Johanna Hempen (violin) began playing violin at six. At fourteen, she became a junior student with Prof. Maria Egelhof at the Lübeck Academy of Music. After two years of bachelor’s studies, she transferred to the h f mSaar, where she studied with Prof. Hans-Peter Hofmann. Since her youth, orchestral playing has been dear to Johanna Hempen’s heart. After the state youth orchestra and the national youth orchestra of Germany, she was concertmaster and section leader of the second violins at the ‘Junge Deutsche Philharmonie’ several times and is now 2nd concertmaster at the Folkwang Chamber Orchestra Essen. In addition to making music, active engagement within the orchestra scene is vital to Johanna. She was a member of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie’s or- chestra board for two years, which presented new challenges, especially during the pandemic. The multimedia performance ‘freispiel 2020’, an interview in the magazine ‘Das Orchester’, the regular writing of texts for the orchestra’s own magazine, a radio broadcast on ‘Hessischer Rundfunk’, and an open letter to all tariff orchestras in Germany, which drew attention to the precarious situation for young artists during the corona pandemic, all arose from this time. Immediately after passing her probationary period, Johanna Hempen was elected to the Folk- wang Chamber Orchestra Essen orchestra board. he has received several schol- arships such as from the Oscar and Vera Ritter Foundation, the Ad Infinitum Foundation, the Bruno Elisabeth Meindl Scholarship, the Richard Wagner Asso- ciation Saarbrücken and the Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now e.V. Association of the Saarland.

Alexander Baier  (piano) studied with Uwe Balser, completed his master’s degree in solo piano performance with Prof. Thomas Duis in 2022 and has since been studying chamber music with Prof. Tatevik Mokatsian at the hfm Saar. Numerous competition prizes have accompanied his solo and chamber music career. Having already given concerts in Germany, Poland, Italy, and Greece, Alexander Baier made his debut at the ‘Heidelberger Frühling’ and recorded for ‘Saarländischer Rundfunk’ and ‘Deutsche Grammophon’. In Stravinsky’s ballet music Petrouchka , he thrilled audiences with the national youth orchestra of Germany and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle at the ‘Festspielhaus Baden-Baden’. Alexander Baier is not only active as a concert pianist but also displays his versatility in other ways Along with his artistic and pedagogical studies on the piano, he has also studied the guitar. In both subjects, he is very active pedagogical- ly and gives lessons internationally and in different languages. In addition, he is intensely interested in the art song and has accompanied renowned singers throughout Germany. He received the Bayreuth Scholarship of the Richard Wag- ner Association Saarbrücken and is a scholarship holder of the Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now e. V. Assosiation of Saarland. Alexander Baier has taken master classes with Alan Fraser, Ulrich Eisenlohr, Prof. Gilead Mishory, Prof. Volkmar Lehmann, Prof. Konrad Elser and Prof. John Perry. 

Oliver Léonard   (cello) received his first cello lessons at the age of seven with Gabriel Mesado. After studying with Prof. Michael Sanderling at the hfmdk Frankfurt, he completed his bachelor’s degree at the h f mLuzern with Prof. Guido Schiefen. Since 2014 he has been studying at the hfm Saar in the class of Prof. Gustav Rivinius. After completing his master’s degree there with top marks, he began solo concert exam in 2020, also in Saarbrücken, and a master’s degree in chamber music with Prof. Tatevik Mokatsian. He received further musical im- pulses from eminent musicians such as Heinrich Schiff, Danjulo Ishizaka, Frank-Michael Guthmann, Helmut Lachenmann and Wen-Sinn Yang, among others. Oliver Léonard found his way to orchestral music as principal cellist of the ‘Deutsche Streicherphilharmonie’, the ‘Junge Deutsche Philharmonie’ and the Hamburg Camerata. He is also a regular member of the Frielinghaus Ensemble and, since 2021, deputy principal cellist of the ‘Staatstheater Kassel’. He has given solo, chamber music, and orchestral concerts in all major concert halls in Germany, other European countries, and South America. Oliver Léonard’s musical career has also been accompanied and supported by numerous scholarships such as the Villa Musica scholarship, the Bayreuth Scholarship of the Richard Wagner Association Saarbrücken, the scholarship of the ‘Zukunftsinitiative Rheinland-Pfalz’, Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now e. V. Association of Saarland, and many others.