STRING TRIO OF
NEW YORK

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Spawned from the richly diverse adventurous music scene on New York’s Lower East Side in 1977, the String Trio of New York (S3NY) delights, surprises and inspires audiences around the world with its outstanding improvisations upon unique compositions for acoustic violin, guitar and bass. The group is one of the most venerable of the original late 20th century ensembles playing new music informed by the jazz tradition. A true pioneer of the genre-busting, unclassifiable music that blossomed in New York in the 1980s – and which is currently appealing to new and diverse audiences on the performing arts scene - S3NY forged the path for future explorers, combining jazz, western classical, world-music and experimental forms into a cohesive palette of sonic textures and adventurous energy that opened the ears and minds of the public for what eventually became known as New York’s Downtown Sound.

Concert performances take the listener on a multi-faceted journey, guiding audiences of all ages and backgrounds on a voyage through a broad and deep repertoire of original works, commissioned pieces by diverse jazz and contemporary music composers, and original arrangements of classic jazz compositions. The compelling and dynamic blend of improvisational excitement coupled with the sensibility of chamber ensemble interplay is an essential part of the ensemble’s live concert experience. 

Entering its fifth decade of consistent activity in 2018, their hundreds of worldwide performances and seventeen award-winning recordings attest to the depth of spirit and commitment S3NY offers. The extremely rich history of live performance includes appearances at many of the country’s foremost concert series - Great Performers at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Houston’s Da Camera Society, Stanford Lively Arts, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre, the Wexner Center, the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, among so many others - as well as scores of performances internationally at notable venues and festivals in Europe, East Asia, India and Africa. Additionally, the ensemble has been featured in various media outlets, including National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition and on Public Radio International’s Concerts from the Library of Congress.

EDUCATIONAL OFFERINGS

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String Trio of New York (S3NY) Residency for String Instruments and Ensembles

Available in 2-5 day programs, these activities include: 

For all music students

  • master classes 
  • small and large ensemble coaching 
  • lessons on theory and improvisation 
  • reviews of student performances 
  • student musicians performing with the S3NY

Specifically for string musicians

Players of bowed stringed instruments have the opportunity to study the jazz language, learning how to make stylistically appropriate bowing, phrasing and articulation choices. Strategies for acquiring vocabulary and harmonic understanding are presented, with an emphasis on familiar techniques and practice methods shared by both the classical and jazz traditions - coached by S3NY’s violinist Rob Thomas, Chair of the String Department at Berklee School of Music.

It’s S3NY’s intention that all of its educational activities be confluent and supportive of the focus of each institution and its specific teachers.  Teachers in the Music Department can select any combination of workshops and activities from the full menu (hyperlinked) or can work directly with S3NY to develop custom activities that will be most effective for each teacher’s plans.

S3NY also offers residency activities developed specifically for high school students and for non-music students. These materials are available upon request.

The String Trio of New York Educational Activities

The following activities have been conceived as productive and enriching workshop activities for music students in higher education. They can be selected as individual workshops or as part of an extended residency. 3NY also will work with teachers to craft customized programs upon request. 

The Art of Improvisation

In this lecture/demonstration, S3NY will explore various aspects of improvisation, from traditional approaches to the multi-dimensional forms of the present day. This program is abundantly illustrated through improvisations on original works by the members and others. Various types of collective improvisation as well as "textural improvisation" will also be demonstrated and discussed.

Jazz Clinic for ensembles and soloists

Members of the Trio listen to student ensembles and soloists and offer observations, critique and advice. The Trio also performs and discusses their approaches to various styles of jazz and improvised music fielding questions as well.

Composition Clinic

All three members of the S3NY are world-renowned composers. Hear insights into development of new repertoire, commissioning and recording new works. Explore the technical and emotional side of composition in jazz and chamber forms.

Our Way - Jazz & Creativity

A general discussion of the String Trio of New York's history, repertoire, development, roles and functions of each instrument; includes performances of diverse compositions demonstrating various facets of their repertoire.

Jazz Through the Ages (or History of Jazz Through Strings)

A chronological demonstration of the growth and development of jazz in the 20th century. This informative and thought-provoking lecture/discussion features performances of works by Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and others, tracing the development of the music to the present time.

Jump for Joy - Jazz for Families

In this for-all-ages program, the String Trio of New York discusses and demonstrates their instruments, their approaches to improvisation, and the basic building blocks of music (harmony, rhythm and melody) in a fun, interactive performance that will have everyone dancing in their seats. 

PRESENTER REFERENCES

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“What a splendid concert you gave us. The audience, which I would estimate at overall about 1,200 or more, was very appreciative and attentive and well they should have been because your group is really excellent. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the String Trio of New York to other presenters, particularly as it serves brilliantly to bridge jazz and “contemporary” music and is tremendously accessible to all sorts of people. I know, because we had all sorts of people there and they loved it. Thanks again for all the trouble you took and for your excellence as musicians and composers. It was a pleasure.”
– Jenneth Webster, Associate Director of Programming, Lincoln Center, New York, NY

 

“On behalf of Da Camera of Houston, I would like to thank the String Trio of New York for the care and consideration you invested in our community during your recent extended visit to Houston. Your unique artfulness reaches far beyond the stage helping everyone you touch feel part of the joyous journey you create in your original compositions and insightful arrangements of jazz standards. The seven residency activities leading up to your concerts here – ranging from the dialogue on diversity with our corporate sponsor and their employees, to poetry and improvisation with poet Quincy Troupe, to the families and children you reached in the schools, church and zoo – all were a significant investment in bringing the uninitiated into your world and creating a secure and loyal audience for the music.Most amazing about this of, course, is that your particular music – chamber jazz – exists outside of traditional categories for music. It is fresh, unique and for the most part new music – all things that are typically considered a challenge to audiences. But our experience was one of community celebration. The audience attending two sold-out performances of the String Trio with special guests Oliver Lake and Sarah Rothenberg were enthusiastic, engaged and willing to trust the experience. The creative professionalism of your comprehensive residency was an important part of what helped us reach and extend our relationship with this audience. Thank you for sharing all you have to offer with Houston.”
– Mary Lou Aleskie, Executive Director, Da Camera of Houston

 

“Your concert at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden last November was sensational – the original material was brilliant and riveting and the arrangements of tunes by Mingus, Hendrix, and Bernstein were wonderfully clever and well-chosen. All in all the String Trio of New York’s performance was a highlight of last year’s performing arts season; I have no doubt that you will top yourself again in the year to come.”
– Penelope P. Dann, Program Coordinator Performing Arts, The Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC

 

“In April, the String Trio of New York performed a wonderful concert at Real Art Ways. Thanks in large part to excellent pre-concert information supplied by the S3NY, we were able, through our local media outlets, to generate a large and diversified audience. The audience remained enraptured throughout the concert. It was a pleasure to work with s3ny; they were on time for the sound check and were available to meet and speak with interested audience members after the concert. As Music Curator for one of the best known alternative art centers in the United States, I would highly recommend the String Trio of New York for engagement in any venue.”
– Brian Johnson, Music Curator, Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT

 

“On behalf of the Painted Bride, I am writing to say that the June 18 performance on the Mellon Jazz Festival by the String Trio of New York was one of our season’s highlights! My staff and I thought it was simply a grand evening of fine music making. I would be most interested in having you return and would also like to encourage any available funders or patrons to support your fine group in setting up touring for the group.”
– Ludwig Van Trikt, Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA

 

“You made our season finale an unexpectedly popular success. We were quite pleased with the size of our audience: you attracted a large group of “academic” new music devotees as well as a sizable modern jazz listening contingent, leaving both aesthetically sated. It was a pleasure working with you from start to finish.”
– Larry Luttinger, Society for New Music, Syracuse, NY

 

“The String Trio of New York’s outstanding performance at the ArtsCenter in January was one of the highlights of our winter season. Area jazz fans are still talking about your concert, and, needless to say, are urging us to invite you back again.”
– Jane Reinecke, Manager, Sunday Jazz Series, The ArtsCenter, Carrboro, NC

 

“It was truly a pleasure working with the String Trio of New York. It is refreshing to encounter musicians who combine an inveterate professionalism with an affable manner. The energy in the hall that night was electric, the performance enlivening. I think it was as clear to the audience as it was to me that you all are not only excellent composers and performers but that you also thoroughly enjoyed the music and performing together. I wish you and the group continued success and look forward to another concert by the Trio at the museum sometime in the future.”
– Ellen Breitman, Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA

 

“I would like to bring to your attention the very valuable experience my university and I had working with the String Trio of New York. We had them give five workshops and a performance in their five-day visit at Ferris State University. The workshops were very informative, engaging and well-organized. They are quite comfortable in front of a classroom. Each of the workshops was different; the s3ny did not simply present the same material five times. This shows significant preparation on their part. While residencies are workshops have become popular, even trendy, skill in doing them is not as pervasive. The s3ny are masters of the residency process. They can adjust to different audiences, and they have a significant amount of material to draw upon. The s3ny are virtuoso musicians, yet they were able to engage non-musicians. In fact, FSU had no liberal arts majors at the time of their visit, so one must regard our students as a significant challenge. They are presenting aesthetic notions to a student group with virtually no prior experience in such matters. They are also presenting contemporary music to students who would never have encountered it before. In spite of these obstacles, it was clear the students were impressed and even won over to what they were trying to say. I should also add that the S3NY is composed of fine and pleasant people. One aspect of residencies that is often overlooked is that the host will be spending a significant amount of time with them, and it is very helpful if the group is easy to get along with. The S3NY are wonderful people, a real pleasure to work with. It is my intention to work with them again in the future. I highly recommend the S3NY residency for any university program.”
– J. Randall Groves, Prof. of Humanities, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI.

REVIEWS

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WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING

 “...as rhythmically alive, stylistically varied and consistently inventive as anything this listener has heard recently.” - The New York Times 

“No individual or ensemble has done more to demystify chamber jazz, and to realize its potential for warmth, sensuousness and beauty...than the String Trio of New York.” - JazzTimes

“…one of the most important jazz ensembles of recent times.” -  Brian Morton (Far Cry, Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD) 

“Some classicism, some jazz and a lot of originality. At a time when so much contemporary music is bound up with categories, the String Trio of New York is refreshingly uncategorizable. All the performances were riveting” - The New York Times

“ The String Trio of New York presented a lively concert of old and new music, revealing a unique variety of inspirations and a most distinctive meeting of diverse minds.” - Chicago Tribune 

“The String Trio of New York is breaking new ground in chamber jazz.” - Downbeat 

“A virtuosic joy, a paradigm of jazz improvisation and control, a mélange of urban ghetto street cries and high art.” - The Boston Globe 

 “The String Trio of New York's performance was nothing less than a rousing tour de force. It was inspired music-making of the highest caliber, and the telepathic empathy displayed by the Trio was astonishing.” - San Diego Union 

“This long term commitment (the group was founded in 1977) has given the Trio an improvisational understanding that is unequalled." - The Wire  

“To admire excellent music is one thing; to be blown away by extraordinary fine playing is another. Individually and collectively, [String Trio of New York] are charismatic musicians. As much as their improvisations appeal to the intellect, they appeal even more to the spirit, and ultimately to the viscera. Among adventurous jazz ensembles, the String Trio of New York must surely rank with the best.” - St. Louis Post Dispatch 

 “The String Trio of New York is solidly prepared, but offers the excitement of improvisation projected through unshakable musicianship.” - The Philadelphia Inquirer 

“Both the players and the works on this program were amazing just to be in the same room with-imagine New York's East Village meets Mensa - and the sounds they make, by turns joyous, intricate and triumphant, are extraordinary.” - The Washington Post 

”Their harmony and cohesion shine forth along with their individual talent. One sees in each of them a true pioneer, an innovator with his instrument.” - Le Monde 

“This trio is one of the very finest in all of jazz and in case you haven't heard, the String Trio of New York is the premiere improvising string ensemble in the business.” - Cadence 

“One of the best working bands around.” - Musician Magazine 

 “Natural Balance is the kind of record jazz fans are looking for, but don't get, when they buy albums by the Kronos Quartet. The most delightful, surprising, original and engrossing string recording in ages!” - Jazziz 

“This band gets more internal swing and beautiful playing into compositions of substance than any of the currently fashionable flock of string quartets.” - Jazz Times 

“This group is indeed, beyond category.” - The Herald Sun (Durham, NC) 

“To admire excellent music is one thing; to be blown away by extraordinary fine playing is another. Individually and collectively, [String Trio of New York] are charismatic musicians. As much as their improvisations appeal to the intellect, they appeal even more to the spirit, and ultimately to the viscera. Among adventurous jazz ensembles, the String Trio of New York must surely rank with the best.” - St. Louis Post Dispatch 

“[String Trio of New York] bent every rule they could find, pairing tight, inventive ensemble playing with wild, imaginative solos.” - Times Union, Albany, NY 

“Great musicians, music that challenged an audience prepared to listen to something new. Things are looking up.” - Hong Kong Standard 

 “It is that combination of the visceral and the intellectual that makes this music so appealing.”- St. Louis Post Dispatch 

“With the String Trio of New York, you remember the sensation of hearing something new.” - San Francisco Chronicle