Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018, the Gryphon Trio has impressed international audiences and the press with its highly refined, dynamic performances, and has firmly established itself as one of the world’s preeminent piano trios. With a repertoire that ranges from the traditional to the contemporary and from European classicism to modern-day multimedia, the Gryphons are committed to redefining chamber music for the 21st century.
The ensemble-in-residence at Music Toronto for nine years, the Gryphon Trio tours extensively throughout North America and Europe. Recent performances include those for the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, at the Eastman School of Music, and Williams College. Strongly dedicated to pushing the boundaries of chamber music, the Trio has commissioned and premiered over seventy new works from established and emerging composers around the world, and has collaborated on special projects with clarinetist James Campbell, actor Colin Fox, choreographer David Earle, and a host of jazz luminaries at Lula Lounge, Toronto’s leading venue for jazz and world music. Their most ambitious undertaking to date is a groundbreaking multimedia production of composer Christos Hatzis’s epic work Constantinople, scored for mezzo-soprano, Middle-Eastern singer, violin, cello, piano, and electronic audiovisual media, which they have brought to audiences across North America and at the Royal Opera House in London.
Deeply committed to the education of the next generations of audiences and performers alike, the Gryphon takes time out of their busy touring schedule to conduct master classes and workshops at universities and conservatories across North America, and are Artists-in-Residence at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music. The Trio’s educational initiatives include a series of in-depth lecture performances with composer Gary Kulesha that examine the art of chamber music through the centuries, and the Young Composers Program at Toronto’s Claude Watson Arts High School. In 2011 the group launched its flagship educational project Listen Up!, created by the Trio in collaboration with composer Andrew Staniland and music educator Rob Kapilow from What Makes it Great?. Listen Up! involves entire schools in the creation of a new work for choir and piano trio: students compose poetry and music over the course of a school year, culminating in a joint performance by the Gryphon Trio and the school choir. The much-publicized project began in Ontario and has traveled across Canada.
The Trio’s celebrated recordings on the Analekta label are an encyclopedia of works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Lalo, Shostakovich, and Piazzolla, and their groundbreaking 2004 release Canadian Premieres, featuring new works by leading Canadian composers, was acknowledged with a coveted Juno Award from Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Their 2011 Beethoven recording also received a Juno Award, and was followed by the release of Broken Hearts and Madmen, a collaboration with the cabaret singer Patricia O’Callaghan featuring songs by Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, and Laurie Anderson, alongside traditional melodies from Mexico, Argentina, and Chile.
Gryphon cellist Roman Borys acts as Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Chamber Music Society, where the Gryphon has been a mainstay since the Festival’s inception in 1994. Annalee Patipatanakoon and Jamie Parker serve as the OICMS’s Artistic Advisors.
July 2018 - Please do not edit without permission.
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One of the world’s preeminent piano trios, the Gryphon Trio will be touring with the internationally acclaimed six-voice a cappella ensemble Nordic Voices, praised for the depth of its programming and its extraordinary vocal skills. A technically brilliant ensemble, Nordic Voices has made a sensation in international vocal circles and is acknowledged as a leader of the a cappella artform. Committed to redefining chamber music for the 21st century, the Gryphon over its twenty-five years has commissioned many new works, as has Nordic Voices; together they will be offering a new piece by Jeffrey Ryan for piano trio and voices based on the concept of scars - both physical and emotional. The rest of the program will feature each ensemble separately, in a fascinating collection of piano trio and vocal works that play off each other. Tour dates are January 30 - February 8, 2020.
The Gryphon offers a new Americana program called Moonshine Ballads and Various Charms with their longtime collaborator Patricia O’Callaghan which is an evening of music that, as they put it, "evokes open skies, dark tales, and lazy afternoons. From Arlo Guthrie to Aaron Copland, Charles Ives to Randy Newman, these are songs where nostalgia and hardship walk comfortably hand in hand. A southern waltz by Gillian Welch next to a northern ballad by Ron Sexsmith leaves one feeling the vast and beating heart of Americana and beyond." This is the Gryphon’s second major project with Patricia, a classical soprano-turned-cabaret singer, and their sound together is nothing short of mesmerizing.
The Gryphon Trio offers a groundbreaking examination of synesthesia, the fascinating neurological condition where, for example, hearing a sound creates both an auditory response as well as a visual stimulus. Synesthesia is explored in this program through music by composers like Scriabin, Amy Beach, Bernstein, Sibelius, and Messiaen - all synesthetes. The Trio will discuss the difference between hearing music physically, listening to music with active engagement, and perceiving music in other ways.
2019-2020 Program Choices
Program I: The End of Flowers
Debussy: Trio in G major
Rebecca Clarke: Piano Trio
Ravel: Trio in A minor
The First World War brought with it unprecedented loss of life, youth and hope. It was the end of flowers… fields lay barren, blasted and churned beyond recognition. In the winds of war Ravel and Clarke composed two remarkable piano trios… not intended as memorials but [which] stand as a testament to the enduring power of life and art. Debussy’s represents the closing of a golden era, one supplanted by decades of war.
Program II: Beginnings
Beethoven: Trio in E-flat major, Op. 1, No. 1
Shostakovich: Trio No. 1
Brahms: Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8
Haydn: Trio in G minor, Hob. XV:19
Dijuk Wijerante: Love Triangle
Schumann: Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 63