Nu Deco Ensemble Joins With Popular Project Trio For a New Take on Classical Music
While playing at summer festivals and in different orchestras, Nu Deco Ensemble co-founder and conductor Jacomo Bairos, who was playing tuba at the time, met Peter Seymour, bass player and now the co-founder of Project Trio.
“One thing that we used to talk about all the time was how could we make classical music more accessible. What do we need to do to provide a bit more spark?,” remembers Bairos.
In its first season, Bairos and co-founder Sam Hyken have introduced Miami to Nu Deco Ensemble, which has proven that spark can exist in classical music. For its Concert Four at the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse on Thursday, March 3 and Friday, March 4, Nu Deco brings Seymour and Project Trio to Miami, where the ensemble will team up for four of the chamber trio’s original works.
“They come in and they blow the roof off of concert halls,” says Bairos, who has conducted orchestras accompanying Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Project Trio in various concert halls about “four or five times.”
Bairos also introduced Project Trio to Hyken, a musical arranger, who then began taking some of the trio’s original compositions and arranging it for them when they’d play with orchestras. The non-typical chamber combo plays its own versions of the classics, including their international infamous take on Rossini’s William Tell Overture.
Project Trio got off the ground about 10 years ago, according to Seymour. He and fellow musicians Eric Stephenson, cello, and Greg Pattillo, flute, were conservatory mates at the Cleveland Institute of Music. “After our college days, we went on different paths in music, but we reconnected and found that we all weren’t that excited about where our careers had gone,” explains Seymour. “We wanted something more out of our careers and we wanted to take control of our own musical paths. Since we started Project Trio, we’ve been working our butts off and it’s been very successful.”
Success for Project Trio is 80 million views on YouTube and “hundreds of thousands of subscribers” on its YouTube channel. “(YouTube) has really been what’s helped catapult us to an international touring schedule.”
They’ll come to Miami and join Nu Deco for four original pieces on the ensemble’s program — two arranged by cellist Stephenson and two by Hyken. “Their music is rooted in classical traditions like Nu Deco and it was just the perfect time for us to collaborate,” says Bairos.
Everyone involved agrees that the most exciting collaboration of the program is Hyken’s arrangement of Raga Raja, Project Trio’s take on traditional raga music.
“We listened to Indian raga music over the years as a group, so we wanted to try our hand at writing this style,” explains Seymour.
For Hyken, taking on the challenge of creating orchestral accompaniment for the complex piece was “very special. It’s an amazing piece that comes from Indian rhythmic traditions, but at the same time it’s melded into the classic world.”
Bairos remembers hearing Project Trio playing Raga Raja live. “The first time I remember thinking, ‘we have to get this done for orchestra’ and I remember having conversations about it with Peter. Sam was the one tasked with the job of decoding its complexities and explaining it so classical musicians could join them in playing it. It has these complicated rhythmic patterns, but it has a melody and it has a groove to it.
“Adding the orchestra to the whole mix makes for one of the greatest pieces we’ve written to date.”
Nu Deco Ensemble performs its Concert Four at the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, 404 N.W. 26th St., Miami, at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 3 and Friday, March 4. Also included in the program is the music of Nicolas Omiccioli, Paul Hindemith, Ricardo Romaniero and Radiohead. Tickets $30. Also, VIP opening night, $75. Info at www.nu-deco.org .