The Gryphons Return! Canadian Trio plays music of Ukrainian composer Valentyn Silvestrov,  Shostakovich and Beethoven

This Saturday April 2nd at 7:30pm at St. Andrews United Church, The Virtuosi Concert Series will be welcoming back to Winnipeg the Gryphon Trio. The concert is called Homage A Harry, and pays tribute to long time Virtuosi Artistic Director Harry Strub. This concert will feature music of Shostakovich, Beethoven and the Ukrainian composer Valentyn Silvestrov.

The Gryphon Trio have performed many times for the Virtuosi Concert Series in the 29 years of the trio’s existence, and have had a long friendly relationship with Strub. “He was one of the earlier presenters that hired us…he’s been really a remarkable, pivotal influence on our career. He’s really been a stalwart supporter of ours, so we’re honored to dedicate this concert to Harry.” states James Parker pianist for the Gryphons.

The concert will feature two major works; Shostakovich’s Piano trio no.2, and Beethoven’s Archduke Trio. These were works chosen specifically by Harry Strub. Also on the program will be works of the Ukrainian composer Valentyn Silvestrov, and Canadian composer Dinuk Wijeratne.

For Roman Borys, cellist for the Gryphon Trio, the Silvestrov’s “Fugitive Visions of Mozart” holds a special place in his heart, especially now because of the war in Ukraine. Borys is of Ukrainian decent and has family in Ukraine. He also is very good friends with Silvestrov who up until very recently, was in Ukraine and initially refused to leave. Borys was desperately trying to get in touch with Silvestrov and make sure he was safe. The news was good as Borys says “As it happens it was just earlier this afternoon that I finally spoke with him. He’s in Berlin…he’s exhausted of course because he is not home, and also because he is being sought after on a daily basis to sort of comment on the situation in Ukraine.” In regards to Silvestrov’s music Borys describes it this way, “his music is such a perfect balm and contrast to all the noise that is a happening in the world now.”

The two big works are on the program are Shostakovich’s 2nd piano trio which was written during World War II, and dedicated to his friend Ivan Sollertinsky. The other major work is Beethoven’s Archduke Trio which Parker describes as returning to an old friend whenever the Gryphon Trio performs it.

gryphon trio performing

The Gryphon Trio are known for their fantastic recordings, but they are also known for commissioning works from composers for the trio. On Saturday night’s concert there will be two works that were written for the Gryphons, Silvestrov’s “Fugitive Visions of Mozart,” and Dinuk Wijeratne’s piece “Love Triangle.”

The trio will be performing a section of the Wijeratne piece as an encore. As Parker states, “Because he has this wonderfully eclectic background… I mean he was born in Sri Lanka, and grew up in Dubai, and studied in Manchester, and went to Toronto, and then to the east coast, and is now in Ottawa…he incorporates some eastern-western things….so get this sort of really exotic sound.”

This is going to be an amazing concert, performed by a Trio that has very much endeared themselves to Winnipeg audiences. What better way to celebrate the legacy of Harry Strub with the return of the Gryphon trio, one of Canada’s most beloved ensembles.

The concert is This Saturday, April 2nd at 7:30pm at St. Andrew’s River Heights United Church located at 255 Oak Street.