Gig at Tulsa beer hall is treat for Zodiac Trio
BY JAMES D. WATTS JR. World Scene Writer
Saturday, November 17, 2012
11/17/12 at 5:42 AM
In its relative short life, the Zodiac Trio has performed all over the world, from Canada to China, for audiences including children and heads of state.
But it took a trip to Tulsa to give this chamber ensemble the chance to do something it has never done before - play a gig at a beer hall.
The trio of clarinetist Kliment Krylovskiy, violinist Vanessa Mollard and pianist Riko Higuma are in Tulsa this weekend as guests of Chamber Music Tulsa. And one of the performances the organization arranged for the trio was a Friday evening "happy hour" show at Fassler Hall.
"This is a first for us," Krylovskiy said, looking around the interior of the place at 304 S. Elgin Ave. "I remember that I was standing in line at a supermarket in Paris when I got the email that we would be doing this show here. And I immediately sent back that absolutely we wanted to do this."
He laughed, then said, "I love beer, I love sausage, I love playing music - this is the best of all three."
Normally, the Zodiac Trio's performances take place in fine concert halls, such as the Tulsa PAC's Williams Theatre, where the trio will conclude its Tulsa visit with a concert at 3 p.m. Sunday.
"In those places," Mollard said, "you're always the center of attention. You're why the people have come to that place. A place like Fassler Hall, people are here for other reasons. And that's one of the things that's exciting about playing here. Because they are in a place where they're comfortable, they might be more receptive to hearing music they aren't familiar with."
"Some people have this fear of classical music - that bow-tie-and-tuxedo formality," Krylovskiy said. "We all like to see that broken down. Chamber music is an intimate form of music, and in all our concerts, we try to get the audience involved, to not have this wall between us and the people listening."
The Zodiac Trio has been together for about six years and in that time has established itself as one of the more energetic and innovative ensembles today. Their concerts have earned the highest praise from critics throughout the world, and they have won equal acclaim for their efforts in commissioning and performing new music.
That is due, in part, to the fact that not much has been written for this particular mix of instruments - clarinet, piano and violin.
"That was one of the things that drew me to this group," Higuma said. "When you're a pianist, you spend most of your time training to be a soloist. But I have always loved the collaborative process. I enjoyed accompanying people, reacting and interacting closely with other players.
"I also was looking for something that was different from the traditional piano trio," she said. "I wanted to explore new and different music. Kliment and Vanessa were already a team, so I consider myself pretty lucky to be a part of this."
Some of that new music the trio has commissioned was to be part of Friday's program at Fassler Hall.
"We brought everything we have," Higuma said. "We had no idea about what we would find here - the audience, the acoustics - so we wanted to be prepared."
"The only thing we knew we had to do was Bartok," Krylovskiy said, "because this is billed as 'Beer, Brats and Bartok.' And we're probably going to do the second movement of Paul Schoenfeld's Trio because it's based on an old drinking song."
The Fassler Hall gig comes in between two different performances. Friday morning, the trio gave concerts for students at Grimes and Lee elementary schools, and it will be performing at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Tulsa Global Alliance's Kids World festival at Expo Square.
"In a way," Mollard said, "I think these shows (at Fassler Hall and for young audiences) have more in common than you might think. Children are always very open - music is music to them. You play something that captures their attention, and it doesn't matter if it is a classic or a contemporary piece."
THE ZODIAC TRIO
When: 3 p.m. Sunday
Where: Williams Theatre, Tulsa
PAC, 110 E. Second St.
Tickets: $5-$25. 918-596-7111,
James D. Watts Jr 918-581-8478
The Zodiac Trio, including Kliment Krylovskiy (left) and Vanessa Mollard (right) perform at Fassler Hall in Tulsa on Friday. The chamber music group visited the bar for its "Beer, Brats and Bartok" event. The trio will perform Sunday at the PAC. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World