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November 24, 2018 – Gryphon Trio High Note

Dear friends,

The Gryphon Trio is Canada’s most distinguished resident piano trio.  They have been together for over a quarter of a century, performing traditional repertoire as well as championing young composers, with concerts around the globe and dozens of recordings. They last appeared on our stage in our Mozartfest-2007 performing all the Mozart piano trios.

They virtually grew up at the Banff Fine Arts Centre. Their early mentoring was with pianist Menahem Pressler, founder of what was for decades the world’s preeminent piano trio, the Beaux Arts Trio. The Gryphons are now at the University of Toronto where they have played a strong role in the coaching of the young string quartet ensembles who went on to great success at the Banff International String Quartet Competition.

They also determine the artistic contents of the annual Ottawa Chamber Music Festival – the world’s largest – under the direction of cellist Roman Borys.

Like the mythical creature which bears the namesake of their ensemble, the gryphon has the role of protecting or guarding treasures. The artistic vision of the Trio is to serve “…as guardians of the piano trio treasures…while realizing the importance of growth and creation that must occur.”

Their Saturday program for Virtuosi Concerts fully reflects their artistic philosophy. Thus, the Haydn trio represents the older classical tradition, largely invented by Haydn, while the neo-classical Brahms trio integrates a passionate and more personal Romanticism which matured almost 100 years later.

Dinuk Wijeratne’s Love Triangle was composed for the Gryphon Trio exactly 200 years after the Haydn trio was published. It is an emotional musical rhapsody which feels entirely liberated from classical structural constraints. The excitement builds from the opening bars where listeners are immediately seduced by Middle-Eastern and North-Indian melodic and rhythmic ideas. As Roman Borys has commented, Dinuk has a remarkable facility for articulating and melding a mix of sounds and a mix of worlds. This combination of the strangely exotic with the seemingly familiar can result in a sublime sense of “out-of-timeness.”

Wijeratne wrote that the Gryphon Trio are no strangers to music that is about the meeting of cultures. As Love Triangle will demonstrate, these three extraordinary virtuosi also excel with “…the blurred boundaries between what sounds improvised and what does not.”

CLICK HERE to view Love Triangle, by Dinuk Wijeratne, performed by the Gryphon Trio at LAMP (Lunenberg Academy of Music Performance)

Haydn’s intentions were to write trio works for small, intimate salons, for the pleasure of the players. Bear this in mind throughout Saturday’s concert when we see Jamie and Annalee and Roman enraptured and transported to some place outside of Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall!

Young Artist Program
At a very young age, pianist Albert Chen has already distinguished himself with a remarkable number of competition prizes and honours. On Saturday, he reaches beyond Haydn into the baroque era to perform a sonata by Domenico Scarlatti.  Mr. Chen enriches the Virtuosi Experience by opening a musical arc embracing three centuries – from Scarlatti to Wijeratne.

Albert will be on Morning Light with Michael Wolch Wednesday, November 21st at 8:30 AM.