The young and classically trained string musicians known as Time For Three have found new audiences nearly everywhere in recent years — including a Southwest Airlines flight in November.
When a pilot discovered the trio of musicians boarding en route to a televised “Dancing With the Stars” segment in Los Angeles, he got on the intercom and asked violinists Nick Kendall and Zach DePue to play for other passengers.
There was no room for double bassist Ranaan Meyer’s large instrument in tight quarters. Nevertheless, the crowded cabin broke into applause at the end of a spirited rendition of Vittorio Monti’s “Csárdás.”
“It was amazing,” Kendall said.
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So much so that they offered a requested encore for the back-of-the-plane passengers who didn’t quite hear all of the first run-through presented at the front of the aircraft.
The ensemble that’s flying high in both modern and classical circles these days will perform a pair of Columbus concerts next week. First, the three will play a solo concert of original compositions, classical works, and intricately modified and jazzed versions of pop, bluegrass, country and other tunes Oct. 15 at The Commons. Then, they will play a mix of pieces Oct. 17 with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic.
At both shows, audiences can expect a kinetic bowing — and a range of online videos prove the point.
Kendall also especially moves with the music as what he calls a “very raw, visceral” reaction as he plays.
He blames it partly on his grandfather, John Kendall, an oversized personality who brought the Suzuki violin method to America in the 1960s.
“I’ve always been confident that way,” Kendall said, speaking from Indianapolis during a recent residency with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. “And I always admired him so much.”
Kendall met bandmates Meyer and DePue at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, jamming on bluegrass and country tunes. Canadian violinist Nikki Chooi, also a product of the Curtis Institute, has since replaced Depue.
The string trio is best known for its performances with orchestras nationwide.
“But we realize there is a much bigger audience out there,” Kendall said.
And more varied.
In 2011, the group performed a soft and sweet version of the national anthem before an Indianapolis Colts game.
“We have been empowered to bring joy to people,” Kendall said.
“That’s not only our gift. It’s also our responsibility.”
Columbus Indiana Philharmonic Music Director David Bowden mentioned that the group has the potential to connect with younger audiences much like top globetrotting, classical violinist Rachel Barton Pine.
She performed a hard rock/metal concert last year with several Philharmonic musicians two days before a performance with the local orchestra. Her nontraditional performance drew about 200 people at The Commons.
“We’re working very hard to take advantage of opportunities when we think we have someone who can make an immediate connection with groups such as young professionals, students and people who might think they may not not like orchestral concerts,” Bowden said.
The conductor can see how younger listeners might appreciate the trio’s interpretive take on pop artists such as Katy Perry while not actually performing literal covers of the artists’ work in a high-energy, informal, go-with-the-flow atmosphere.
“It will be a very spontaneous, improvisational approach,” Bowden said.
Goodness knows Time For Three knows time for spontaneity. They have played impromptu at Amtrak train stations, backstage for newlyweds, on airport tarmacs, you name it.
“Those moments make us feel better about ourselves,” he said.
And clearly leave audiences feeling pretty good themselves.
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Who: Musical trio Time For Three.
What: Playing one free-wheeling improv-style, solo concert of pop, country, bluegrass and other styles, and one varied concert with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic.
When: Solo concert at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15. Orchestral concert at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17.
Where: Solo concert at The Commons, 300 Washington St. in downtown Columbus. Orchestral concert at Judson Erne Auditorium, 1400 25th St. in Columbus.
Tickets: Solo concert tickets are $15 and $30. Orchestral concert tickets are $15 and $30.
Information: 812-376-2638, ext. 110 or thecip.org.