Breckenridge Music Festival’s Festival at the Fringe pushes classical boundaries
Special to the Daily
If you go
What: Time for Three with the BMF Orchestra
When: 7:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday, July 23
Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge
Cost: Tickets range from $7 to $40, depending on seating.
They look like they’re headed to an indie-rock gig, but, instead, they’ll be performing with the orchestra. That’s because Time for Three, a group of three classically trained young musicians known also as Tf3, is into pushing boundaries — programming their own takes on bluegrass, folk and popular music, in addition to their classical renditions.
Pushing boundaries is also the theme behind the new Festival at the Fringe series from the Breckenridge Music Festival, starting with a collaboration between the orchestra and Tf3 on Thursday, July 23. David Danzmayr, the festival’s conductor and artistic advisor, has collaborated with Tf3 in the past and said the band is a good choice to launch the three-concert “fringe” series, not only for its creativity and showmanship, but because the Time for Three musicians are outstanding on their instruments.
The American trio consists of two violinists, Nick Kendall and Zachary De Pue, with double-bassist Ranaan Meyer. They perform music from Bach to Brahms, hold a residency with the Indiana Symphony Orchestra and have commissioned and debuted original works by Pulitzer Prize-winners William Bolcom and Jennifer Higdon. However, they also deliver their own arrangements of everything from bluegrass and folk to mash-ups of hits by The Beatles, Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake. Their anti-bullying video “Stronger,” set to an arrangement of Kanye West’s song, went viral on YouTube.
“Like most young people in America now, the three of us grew up listening to all kinds of music — ’90s hip-hop, grunge, bluegrass — and we’ve always played a wide variety of music,” Kendall said about group’s self-titled album. “We’re part of a new generation of classically-trained musicians who approach diverse styles from the same heartfelt place. We hear and feel it all in a similar way, as just music.”
“I think that the orchestra as a whole has remained staid in comparison to a lot of other genres out there,” said Meyer, who programs Tf3’s concerts. “We like to get in there, get our hands dirty and try to evolve things at a faster pace — but, it’s also important to really uphold the tradition and the quality.”
In Indianapolis, Tf3 created a series targeted at younger generations that fills the house every time tickets go on sale, he said. Making performances appealing to a broader audience “doesn’t mean that you dumb it down or do anything to degrade the genre as a whole,” he added. “What really is crucial is to help to build it up and just show everybody how phenomenal it can be.”
Tf3 will present its own takes on familiar classical compositions at Thursday’s concert, including a joint performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Double Violin Concerto with the BMF Orchestra. There also will be arrangements of music by Bill Monroe, Mumford & Sons and Leonard Cohen, to name a few.
The Festival Orchestra will present five pieces from Georges Bizet’s L’Arlesienne Suite, a series of musical vignettes composed for an 1872 play about the tragic love of a young farmer for a beautiful but unattainable woman, explained music historian Edward Yadzinski. The play enjoyed limited success, but the scores were well received.
“To me, this kind of programming is a way of bringing music back to people,” said BMF executive director Marcia Kaufmann. “It brings in familiar elements like folk and bluegrass music that people can relate to and makes the concert experience a very enjoyable, entertaining event, one that steps away from the serious or stuffy reputation of classical music.
“The members of Time for Three can play with the best classical music has to offer, but their more easygoing approach gives audiences a way to connect that’s just a little bit different.”
“We really try not to take ourselves too seriously but present something that we believe in that has emotion and character and really tells a story throughout,” Meyer said. “So, I think if you want to have a special evening that you won’t forget … that’s reason to come to our show.”
Festival at the Fringe
The Festival at the Fringe series consists of the three concerts, including a night of brass on Wednesday, Aug. 5, and closing night on Saturday, Aug. 15. The closing concert is part of the Breckenridge International Festival of the Arts, a new 10-day arts festival that will feature performances, collaborations and installations by artists from a wide range of genres while celebrating the community’s love for the outdoors. The BMF welcomes Michael Ward-Bergeman as an artistic partner for the final program, which features Groanbox and the BMF Orchestra.
“We got excited about melding classical music with play, the outdoors, collaboration and creativity,” said Kaufmann, who credits the Breckenridge International Festival of the Arts as the impetus for the new series. Festival at the Fringe — and really the entire 2015 BMF Summer Festival program — is based around a multiplicity of artists, artistic partners and genres.
“We are really looking for a diverse and interesting program,” Kaufmann said. “We want to take audiences on a musical program that’s different. The Festival at the Fringe is the epitome of that. Expect the unexpected.”
Erica Marciniec is a paid writer with the Breckenridge Music Festival.
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