High-octane chamber music
Wanting to practice their musical liberties, three classically trained musicians — flutist Greg Pattillo, cellist Eric Stephenson and double bassist Peter Seymour — stepped down from lofty perches within prestigious orchestras and applied their impeccable musicianship to genre-bending originals.
Project Trio, now in its sixth season, is what Seymour calls a "high-octane chamber-music ensemble."
The three not-so-tight-laced musicians met at The Cleveland Institute of Music. (Pattillo and Stephenson both have master's degrees from the school. Seymour earned his master's from Rice University in Houston.)
After several years of playing with orchestras, such as The Cleveland Orchestra, New World Symphony, Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra and others, the three friends decided to get off the classical leash.
"We decided to make a go of it and make it happen, and it's still happening," Seymour says.
Project Trio plays a high-energy, instrumental mix of almost every style of music — original songs and new arrangements of classical compositions.
"We took our classical-music training and incorporated the sounds of today, like jazz, rock 'n' roll and hip-hop," Seymour says.
"It's still got a chamber-music aesthetic, not necessarily classical, but chamber music."
This year, the band released two albums — "Random Roads Collection," which peaked at No. 15 on Billboard's classical-music chart and at No. 17 on its jazz chart, and "When Will Then Be Now," which was released Sept. 25.
The latter album features songs by classical and jazz greats and the trio's originals. There's "Beethoven, Bach, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and plenty of cool, high-energy pieces that are our own," Seymour says.
The trio has gained international acclaim not only for its infectious, skillfully executed grooves but also for Pattillo's beatboxing flute technique.
The New York Times calls Pattillo, "the best in the world at what he does."
YouTube videos of the trio in action have garnered 73 million views.
Project Trio will present an intimate, indoor performance at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the Britt Pavilion, 350 First St., Jacksonville.
The trio's Britt set may include renditions of Rossini's "William Tell Overture," Sergei Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" and Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
"It's fun for someone to hear something they love with a new, modern spin," Seymour says.
The show is part of Britt's off-season Stage Series and is its last concert of the year. For the show, Project Trio will perform from a small platform at the back of the stage, and the audience will be seated on the stage, explains Rachel Jones, Britt's director of education and community engagement.
Limited seating is available. Tickets cost $20 and are available at www.brittfest.org or by calling 541-773-6077.
Project Trio performs in clubs and concert halls around the country. The group puts a strong emphasis on education and, while in Medford, will be teaching at schools and community centers.
"We also teach ... improvisation workshops and beatbox master classes, teaching them to play in the style of Project Trio," Seymour says.