Arts & Culture

Time for Three mixes genres, styles

Time for Three will perform three concerts with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra.
Time for Three will perform three concerts with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. Courtesy photo

The schematic of two violins and a double bass is unusual. But, the trio Time for Three thrives on originality. This dynamic, nationally recognized trio will once again play with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra.

“We are bringing Time for Three back because they are superb musicians with remarkable stage charisma; they play rich, diverse music; and because the audience goes wild for them,” said Daniel Hege, Wichita Symphony Orchestra’s music director and conductor.

Time for Three (Tf3) formed while the three performers were attending the Curtis Institute of Music, a world-renown music conservatory. After rigorous classical music rehearsals and performances, Nicolas Kendall, Zachary De Pue and Ranaan Meyer would get together and jam.

“This madness all started while we were students,” said Kendall, one of the violinists. “We would stay back and fuse melodies together. Whatever came to our imagination, we played. It was a way to escape from what we were doing.”

Although the three loved classical music and the precision their professors demanded, they also wanted to branch out to other types of music.

“My teachers encouraged me to think outside the box, but never at the expense of the core representation. I learned so much from that experience,” Kendall said.

From an early age, Kendall’s dream was to play the violin. At 3 ½ he began playing with the help of his Japanese-born mother by using the Suzuki Method.

“But it was my Caucasian grandfather that was the pioneer of bringing the Suzuki method to the U.S.,” Kendall said. ”He brought it from Japan to America.”

Any time Kendall thought about quitting the violin, his mother would say that he must first tell his grandfather, John Kendall. Because of Kendall’s deep respect for his grandfather’s ability to play the violin and the elder man’s strength and idealism, Kendall never quit.

Eventually, Kendall left Washington D.C. and moved to Philadelphia to attend Curtis. Soon he met De Pue, who hails from Ohio, and Meyer, who was brought up in New Jersey.

“We enjoy jamming together; there is this incredible way that the three of us are able to relate to each other,” Kendall said. “It’s definitely unexpected.”

The group mixes genres and interweaves styles. Sometimes they come up with new arrangements as they warm up for a concert.

“We find that people enjoy listening to the way we add onto the classical composer’s music,” Kendall said. “We are not replacing masters. But we are adding fun. When we write, we bring to the table a lot of different styles and types of music and energy. We play music from different time periods in unexpected ways. We mash up pop songs and entwine the classical cannon. A lot of our music tends to be in the American spirit.”

For the Wichita concert, Tf3 will perform works by Igor Stravinsky, Katy Perry, Mumford & Sons, Leonard Cohen and a piece written specifically for the group by Jennifer Higdon.

“They are a unique trio of tremendous talent,” Hege said. “They have music arranged for them in a special way that showcases their brilliance. All three of them radiate a magnetic and highly personable stage presence that draws the audience and orchestra in for riveting performances.”

Time for Three will be appearing in Wichita with Nikki Chooi filling in for Zach De Pue, who could not gain a release from his other commitment as Concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony. Like the other members of the trio, Chooi is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and a prize-winning violinist with a rising career as a concert soloist.

If You Go

Time for Three

What: Presented by the Wichita Symphony Orchestra

Where: Century II Concert Hall, 225 W. Douglas

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Feb. 1

Tickets: $25-$67, 316-267-7658 or visit www.wichitasymphony.org

Blue Jeans Concert: $30 general admission, 8 p.m. Friday

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