Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Trio Plays New Trio: Vipisa’s Debut with World Premiere

It’s a new trio premiering new music. But of course, there’s a backstory.

“We played together last fall,” explained violinist and HSU Music professor Cindy Moyer, referring to her colleagues, Virginia Ryder on saxophone and clarinet, and pianist John Chernoff. “We were having so much fun that we decided to make it a permanent group.”

Hence the Vipisa Trio. But who—or where, or what—is Vipisa? An obscure but important historical figure? The hidden birthplace of a musical genius? A corporate sponsor? Their favorite toothpaste?

“We made it up,” Moyer confessed. “It’s the first letters of ‘VIolin,’ ‘PIano’ and ‘SAxophone.’”

Fittingly enough for their first official concert, the Vipisa Trio will perform a World Premiere, of the Trio of Piano, Violin, and Alto Saxophone by contemporary jazz and rock artist and composer David Morgan, of the David Morgan Trio.

In fact, the music is so fresh that the composer was sending it “hot off the presses” directly to Vipisa. Of the five movements, “the first two have been performed many times, and we performed the third last fall,” Moyer said. “But our performance on the 25th will be the World Premiere of the complete piece.”

Pianist David Morgan has written for film and television as well as for several jazz albums with his David Morgan Trio. His most recent release, “Ordinary Glory,” is a rock/pop album which he also produced. “Part of our fun was discovering his music, and working with him,” Moyers said.

The David Morgan work comprises the second half of the concert. Before intermission, the trio plays Dance Suite for Violin, Alto Saxophone and Piano by contemporary American composer and pianist Walter S. Hartley. Composing since 1949, Hartley is known for works that feature the saxophone. “Hartley’s music is very contrapuntal,” Moyer said. “Each instrument has different melodies that are passed around the group.”

Also in the first half, Vipisa performs the Trio for Violin, Clarinet and Piano by 20th century Armenian-born composer Aram Khachaturian. With Shostakovich and Prokofiev, Khachaturian was among the trio of major composers of the Soviet Union alternatingly condemned and honored by the government. He composed this work in 1932. “It’s very rhapsodic,” Moyer said, “with hints of Khachaturian’s native Armenian folk music.”

The Vipisa Trio debuts on Saturday September 25 at 8 pm in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets: $8/$3 students and seniors from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. This is a Faculty Artists Series concert produced by the HSU Department of Music.

Media: Humboldt State Now, Arcata Eye.

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