Arts and Entertainment

Stretching the boundaries: Gryphon Trio to perform chamber music salon concert in Orcas Island living room

The Gryphon Trio: Annalee Patipatanakoon, Roman Borys, and James Parker. - contributed photo
The Gryphon Trio: Annalee Patipatanakoon, Roman Borys, and James Parker.
— image credit: contributed photo

For 18 years, the Gryphon Trio has gone beyond the preconceived parameters of chamber music.

“We’ve been playing concerts in a Latin salsa club in Toronto for the past 10 years, where we get together with our Cuban jazz buddies,” said cello player Roman Borys. “We play music written by very famous composers. And yet, to the other extreme, we have been involved in some groundbreaking projects.”

The trio is comprised of Borys, his wife Annalee Patipatanakoon, who plays the violin, and James Parker on the piano. The Toronto-based group will be performing during the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival’s first “Salon Concert.” It’s a chance to see internationally acclaimed musicians play in a cozy Orcas Island living room. The festival plans to present several salon concerts each year in a variety of venues.

The concert begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12 with hors d’oeuvres by Orcas Village Store and wines by Thurston Wolfe Winery. The ticket price is $70 and seating is limited. Contact the Chamber Music Festival Office at 376-6636 for reservations.

The program includes work by Joseph Haydn, Johannes Brahms, and assorted short pieces, including a tango.

“Chamber music is a very transparent form of music making,” Borys said. “In our effort to interpret the music, our own personalities become entangled in the music making. It’s a collective exercise that is very satisfying for us and very entertaining for the public.”

The trio will also perform and teach as Musicians-in-Residence at this year’s Orcas Chamber Music Festival from Aug. 12 to 27. Parker is the brother of festival Artistic Advisor Jon Kimura (Jackie) Parker.

“Jamie is one of the best pianists I know,” Jackie said. “I’m excited music lovers on Orcas will get to know him better.”

According to Jackie, Orcas and Detroit are the only places in the United States where classical music lovers can listen to the CBC. Gryphon Trio is a constant on that radio channel, so Orcas listeners may be familiar with the group.

Having impressed international audiences and the press with their performances, the Gryphon Trio has firmly established itself as one of the world’s preeminent piano trios. They are artists-in-residence at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music and have been the ensemble-in-residence at Music Toronto for eight years. The group has produced 13 CDs.

The trio has commissioned and premiered more than 50 new works from composers around the world. One of their most ambitious undertakings is a multimedia production of composer Christos Hatzis’s work “Constantinople,” scored for mezzo-soprano, violin, cello, piano, and electronic audiovisual media, which they have brought to audiences across North America and at the Royal Opera House in London.

Borys is Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Chamber Music Society, where Patipatanakoon and Parker serve as Artistic Advisors. The group conducts master classes and workshop at universities and conservatories across North America.

“We have a very communicative dynamic,” Borys said. “Most people can really see and sense a level of communication … the dynamic changes according to the music we are playing. And that’s the nature of chamber music.”

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