The Altenberg Trio of Vienna came into being when Claus-Christian Schuster and Martin Hornstein, members of the Vienna Schubert Trio and Amiram Ganz, the initiator and violinist of the Shostakovitch Trio joined forces in January 1994. All three musicians had earned critical acclaim and world wide recognition with their performances in the world's most important chamber music venues for many years prior to the formation of the Altenberg Trio. Since its debut at the 1994 Salzburg Mozart Week, the Altenberg Trio has enjoyed great success with performances in the United States, Canada and Europe. The ensemble regularly appears in such distinguished venues as London, Wigmore Hall and was invited to perform at the Prague Spring Festival and the Orlando Festival. In Australia the trio performs often at the Salzburg Mozarteum and presents a regular concert at Vienna's famed "Musikverein".
The "Viennese Touch", for which the Altenberg Trio has often been commended, is not simply a question of musical technique - phrasing, vibrato or portamento, dynamic or agogic accents, although these are a part of it. The Viennese style represents a specific artistic orientation, rooted in a city that was the center of an empire and the crossroads of many distinctive cultures in the 18th and 19th centuries. This style may be best-known outside of Austria through the city's music, because that is the art, whose stylistic refinements have made the strongest international impression. But it is also reflected in literature, painting (Klimt), architecture, psychology (Freud), philosophy (Wittgenstein) and even cuisines. That is one reason why it makes sense, for a pianist, violinist and cellist to form a trio named after a poet. Peter Altenberg (1859-1919), whose life and works reflect the spirit of an era when literature, science, art and music were closely interactive.