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Time for Three to Celebrate Grammy Win at the Argyros
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Tuesday, April 18, 2023
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Time for Three is returning to Ketchum to celebrate their recent Grammy win with “family.”

When they performed at The Argyros in December, they were simply Grammy nominees. This time, they’re returning as Grammy winners, their recording of “Contact” on their “Letters for the Future” album having won Best Classical Instrumental Solo.

“We love coming to Sun Valley because the audience is family,” said violin player Charles Yang. “The Argyros, Sun Valley, the Sun Valley Music Festival is home for us. The Argyros wants to celebrate us, and we couldn’t say no. We’re just so grateful to have such a great family.”

Time for Three, a genre-surfing, classically trained string trio, will perform two concerts: One at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 21, and the other at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22. Tickets are $33 per ticket, available at https://theargyros.org/.

They plan to perform all the favorites that Sun Valley fans have come to know since they first came to Sun Valley to perform with the Sun Valley Music Festival a decade ago.

“We can’t deny people what they want to hear,” Yang said. “If someone wants to hear something, we hope they’ll shout it from the audience.”

Going to the Grammys where they shared the spotlight with the likes of Beyonce, was like going to the Olympics except that the trio didn’t have to compete, Yang said.

“It was surreal,” he said. “I grew up hearing of the Grammys every year. But to be there to walk the red carpet, have our hair done, our faces done— The award really acknowledged that we had a great record.”

Yang, fellow violinist Nick Kendall and bass player Ranaan Meyer played a couple events leading up to the Grammy ceremonies and took part in the nominees’ dinner.

“I didn’t think I’d be nervous the night of the Grammy Awards. But right before they called our category, all three of us got real nervous. We suddenly had to think: In case we win, what do we say on stage? They called our name and we went up on stage. Then, while we were backstage celebrating, they called the album again because the Best Contemporary Classical Composition went to Kevin Puts.”

Time for Three performed “Contact,” the piece that won Grammys for Time for Three and Kevin Puts, with the Sun Valley Music Festival orchestra this past summer.

Puts, a Pulitzer Prize winner who wrote the 2008 work “Hymn to the Sun” to celebrate the opening of Sun Valley’s Symphony Pavilion, told an audience at the Community Library how he was inspired to write the technically demanding concerto by unexplored frontiers, the isolation of the pandemic and the international cooperation that was happening on the International Space Station.

The 30-minute piece includes a reflective segment featuring solo horns as it imagines a call to intelligent life being sent into space with Morse code-like rhythms suggesting radio transmissions. The idea of an abandoned vessel floating in the recesses of space is interrupted by Time for Three, who sing a cappella and perform a jaunty bluegrass number. It concludes with a segment inspired by traditional Bulgarian folk dances.

Puts said he was initially intimidated by the infectious energy that Time for Three exudes, wondering how he could possibly integrate their violins and bass with the orchestra. But, with Sun Valley Music Festival’s Alasdair Neale encouragement, he gave it a try.

The four brainstormed ideas, which Puts incorporated into “Contact.”

“It’s like a perfectly tailored suit—a good pair of sneakers that just fit your feet,” said Yang of the piece. “All of us worked pretty hard to implement what Time for Three is, and Kevin took what we are and meticulously and beautifully crafted this piece. And it has so much Time for Three DNA in there.”

Trio members were bummed, he said, when the pandemic prevented them from premiering the piece with the San Francisco Symphony as they’d planned.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen, what the world was going to be. But the work felt ever more relevant as everyone was struck with the intangibility of the unknown,” Yang said. “Thankfully, we got the idea that we should record it first. Our whole team of Park Avenue artists collaborated with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the great conductor Xian Zhang. We recorded it in two days and, since, we’ve been playing it a lot.”

Meyer lives in New York, Kendall in Washington, D.C., and Yang in Cherry Hill, N.J. But they see each other often, setting aside time to compose at one or the other’s homes or even in Sun Valley.

“Between our creative time and touring we see each other more than our families,” said Yang. “We’re brothers.”

They currently are working on a project based around 10 great composers, he said: “We love the process of collaborating with their minds, seeing how they take our DNA and implement it into their own DNA to bring life to it.”

In case you’re wondering, they won’t be bringing their Grammy trophies with them to Sun Valley.

“The trophies they give you on stage are just for photos. I don’t think we will get our trophies until June,” said Yang. “But we’re looking forward to returning to Sun Valley to celebrate with our wonderful family. We’re hoping we can hang, imagine it’s just the holidays and we’re back. We’re just there to interact with everybody, play the hits everyone knows and maybe do a little improvising.”

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