Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2013, 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 eight years, Gryphon Trio tours extensively throughout North America and Europe. The 2013-14 season has the Gryphons performing at major series in Boston, St. Paul, and Athens, GA. It also features collaborative performances with the sensational bass-baritone Robert Pomakov. During the 2012-13 season, the Trio performed on the influential chamber music series in Houston and Detroit, and at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York City.
Strongly dedicated to pushing the boundaries of chamber music, the Trio has commissioned and premiered over fifty 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 Gryphons take 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, and this experience culminates in a joint performance by 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. Their groundbreaking 2004 release, Canadian Premieres, featured new works by leading Canadian composers and was acknowledged with a coveted Juno Award from the 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 soprano 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 is entering his seventh year as Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival (Chamberfest), where the Gryphons have been a mainstay since the Festival’s inception in 1994. Annalee Patipatanakoon and Jamie Parker serve as the festival’s Artistic Advisors.
Photo by John Beebe, Toronto