Time for Three will perform at Kimball Art Center fundraiser
September 4, 2015
Time for Three promises a very special performance during the Kimball Art Center dinner and fundraiser at Stein Eriksen Lodge on Sept. 11.
The trio — double bassist Ranaan Meyer and violinists Nick Kendall and Zach DePue — is not a typical classical, chamber group, according to Kendall.
"We’re not your mother’s trio," Kendall told The Park Record during a phone call from the Bay Area. "The biggest challenge we’ve faced is how to tell people that our audiences do lose their minds and have a good time when [they] come see us play."
Time for Three has forged a career out of playing classical works by Brahms and Bach, but also mixing in some bluegrass, jazz, hip-hop and covers of songs by the Beatles, Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake.
The concept emerged when the musicians were students at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music in the late 2000s.
"We were living on the fringes of what we had studied the most — the classical repertoire, which we still love and play," Kendall explained. "However, through the nature of our personalities, all throughout our teenage years, we all experimented with different styles of music."
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The trio would listen to the popular music of the day and incorporate these different styles and genres into their own music.
"That’s what was so appealing to us," Kendall said. "We would take a scene from a symphony we were learning in school, which took so much focus and concentration, and in order to blow off steam, we would put some hip-hop beats for funk riffs around the composition."
However, the group didn’t think that would become a career.
"We probably would have laughed if someone had told us that we would still be experimenting with these different styles as a profession," he said, laughing.
Still, the idea worked and, since 2009, Time for Three has turned the classical-music community on its ear and has worked with Bon Iver’s Rob Moose, singer Josh Radin, modern-jazz pioneer Branford Marsalis and ukulele sensation Jake Shimabukuro.
"I think since we’ve always been good at chamber music and know how to work with other musicians, so it’s not that much of a stretch for us to figure out a way to [play] harmoniously and work organically with artists from a different genre," Kendall said. "Having said that, we have been careful about what collaborations we choose. The collaborations thus far have been bred from musical and sonic reasons."
The essence of Time for Three’s musicality means audiences who attend a Time for Three concert never know what to expect, which is a badge of honor for Kendall and his compadres.
"We take our audiences to so many destinations and unexpected places," he said. "The collaborations help us do that and we would love to do more."
Kendall came from a musical family and while he’s half Japanese on his mother’s side, it was his grandfather on his Caucasian father’s side who was the inspiration for him picking up the violin.
"Ironically, he was one of the pioneers of the Suzuki method in the United States," Kendall said with another laugh. "He would always play and I would watch him teach and his energy was infectious and I took to it."
Both Kendall and his sister, Yumi, who is the assistant principal cellist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, began playing music at the encouragement of their grandfather.
"My parents started both of us, not intending for music to be our profession," Kendall said. "But when you really understand the method and how well-rounded the application of the method is to a child’s growth can be, it goes far beyond just playing the instruments. We both took to it all early on, so it made sense for us to make it our thing."
Time for Three is currently undergoing another change. The group announced that DePue is leaving so he can focus on his job as the concertmaster for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. DePue’s replacement is Nikki Chooi, who also graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music.
However, the transition will take some time, according to Kendall.
"For everyone’s clarification, Nikki is the new member, but also has a great solo career and still has a year’s worth of tour dates that he needs to fulfill," Kendall said. "He does show up in our shows from time to time, but won’t be with us full-time until next year. And while Zach is leaving, he is still with us for the time being and will perform with us in Park City."
The transition is bittersweet for the group, Kendall mentioned.
"It’s bitter because one of our founding guys, who was part of making this trio what it is, is leaving." he said. "The reason he’s leaving is that he’s spent many years trying to balance his life. From an early age, Zach has always dreamed of being a concertmaster and there is so much work for him to do with the symphony and in his community.
"It took a lot of soul searching and discussions with his family and with us before he made the decision to leave us," Kendall said. "We will always have ties with him and we’re also the artists in residence with the symphony."
The sweet aspect is that the band will be able to continue to take flight in new ways.
"We have so much more to do and Nikki will help us get there," Kendall said.
When Time for Three performs during the Kimball Art Center fundraiser, drummer Matt Scarano and keyboardist Josh Fobare will accompany the group.
"Josh is a classically trained pianist and has played on the fringes like us and will blow everyone away," Kendall promised. "Matt is also an extraordinary musician and performer and we can’t wait until everyone can hear us play."
Time for Three will play at the Kimball Art Center’s dinner and performance fundraiser at Stein Eriksen Lodge, 7700 Stein Way, on Friday, Sept. 11. The event will begin at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. and the performance will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $150 and are available by visiting http://www.kimballartcenter.org/events . All proceeds will benefit the Kimball Art Center.