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Gryphon Trio is taking over Banff's classical music summer program

Robert Rowat

Gryphon Trio will be the new directors of the classical music summer program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

The announcement was made Feb. 1, the same day Gryphon Trio presented the world premiere of Scar Tissue, a new work for voices and piano trio by Jeffrey Ryan, at the Chamberfest concert series in Ottawa. The famed chamber ensemble has also received two nominations for the 2019 Juno Awards.

In their new roles at the Banff Centre, the members of Gryphon Trio will take on the full leadership of the classical music summer program at the close of the 2019 summer season. They'll succeed co-artistic directors Claire Chase and Steven Schick. The Gryphon Trio’s first full season at Banff Centre will begin during the summer of 2020.

The Banff Centre's classical music summer program is designed for emerging or established musicians with active careers, and includes master classes, rehearsals and formal concerts, presented side by side with faculty. Along the way, participants benefit from encounters with composers, scholars, writers, dancers, naturalists and audience members.

“The Gryphon Trio is a Canadian success story," says Janice Price, president and CEO of the Banff Centre, via press release. "The ensemble has impressed international audiences with their dynamic performances, and has firmly established their reputation as one of the world’s leading piano trios. Not only are they great musicians they are great teachers, all serving as artists in residence at the University of Toronto. They’ve also played a leadership role in the transformation of Ottawa Chamberfest from a festival presenter to a year-round arts organization. We are excited to see what they will achieve at Banff Centre.”

Gryphon Trio's appointment is a homecoming of sorts for violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon, cellist Roman Borys and pianist Jamie Parker who met at the Banff Centre as summer music students in the 1980s.

"Having spent my teenage years growing up in Banff with many other gifted classical musicians, jazz musicians, dancers, music theatre people and opera folk, you can imagine that there are many, many fond memories," reflects Borys. "I learned many important life lessons in Banff and suspect that the learning will continue as we embrace this new chapter in our relationship with this remarkable place and all the interesting people it brings together."

Patipatanakoon recalls the Gryphons taking part in a master class given by violinist Lorand Fenyves, cellist Aldo Parisot and pianist Menahem Pressler. "Three Jedi masters all hosting the same class — unheard of! Let’s just say that Mr. Pressler and Mr. Parisot did not always agree and Mr. Fenyves was a wonderful mediator!"

Pianist Parker's fondest memory is "the collective experience of being with my brother and good friends, sharing and learning about music and life with [pianist] Marek Jablonski. Then there was the time they were resodding the grounds, so we ‘borrowed’ a roll and paved our balcony with real grass!"

The Banff Centre provided the inspiration and support that the Gryphon Trio needed when they were starting out. "Annalee, Jamie and I are now very excited to pay it forward," says Borys.

Learn more about the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity's classical music summer program here.


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