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PROJECT Trio weaves rock, hip-hop into classical compositions

The ensemble will play with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Sunday at the Alex Theatre.

February 24, 2012|By Lynne Heffley
  • Conductor Jacomo Bairos, top right, leads the PROJECT Trio and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra during rehearsal, which took place at Zipper Concert Hall in Los Angeles on Wednesday, February 22, 2012. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer)
Conductor Jacomo Bairos, top right, leads the PROJECT…

Who says classical music has to be a formal affair? Not PROJECT Trio, a classical chamber ensemble fueled by the sounds of rock 'n' roll, hip-hop and jazz, from Guns ‘N Roses to Duke Ellington.

With some 66 million hits on YouTube, appearances on Nickelodeon and MTV and gigs in major concert halls, coffeehouses, clubs and classrooms around the world, this Brooklyn-based ensemble — Greg Pattillo on flute, cellist Eric Stephenson and Peter Seymour on bass — has electrified audiences of all ages with its virtuosity and wild enthusiasm for making music.

Local audiences can catch PROJECT Trio in the first of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra's 2012 Family Concerts at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, with guest conductor Jacomo Bairos.

The program, designed especially for younger children, will also feature a pre-concert instrument “petting zoo” and other activities at 1 p.m.

“The petting zoo is a wonderful thing for children,” said Cheryl Norman-Brick, the orchestra's principal second violin. “They can get their hands on the instruments and experiment with them a little bit and talk to musicians.”

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The concert will open with two world premiere pieces and other original works by PROJECT Trio, LACO's Family Concerts Series' artists-in-residence for the next three seasons. The trio will then join the orchestra in a performance of Aaron Copland's “Appalachian Spring.”

“I think it's a nice mix,” Seymour said. “Our music is a way to get young people in the mood to listen, and then we kind of show them this other side. A lot of kids haven't experienced classical music before, so hearing a great piece like the Copland should be a treat. And it's an amazing treat for us to get to perform it.”

All of the trio members, respected virtuosos in their own right, are serious classical musicians who don't take themselves too seriously. Downbeat Magazine described PROJECT Trio's performances as “packed with musicianship, joy and surprise.” Jazz Review called the group's self-titled CD “a glorious celebration of the music of our time.”

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