Violinist Jasper Wood

Violinist Jasper Wood

Triple Forte offers a reason to get dressed up

North Okanagan Community Concert Association's annual gala welcomes piano trio, featuring three classical masters, all under the age of 40.

They say all good things come in threes. Actually, it’s usually three’s a crowd, but in the case of piano trio Triple Forte, we’ll go with the former.

The trio, consisting of violinist Jasper Wood, 38, cellist Ygor Dyachkov, 38, and pianist David Jalbert, 35, is about to make its way to the Vernon Performing Arts Centre to play the second concert of the North Okanagan Community Concert Association’s 2012-13 season.

It was almost serendipitous how three of Canada’s top young soloists came together to form one of the country’s top piano trios.

The group actually started with a different cellist (Denise Djokic) 10 years ago.

“We all have the same agent and there was a demand for another piano trio, so we were put together for a tour. We had a lot of fun,” said Wood. “Denise became more focussed on solo stuff, so we asked Yegor if he would join us. It was either him or we were not going to do it at all. Thank goodness he said yes.”

To see these three young men perform together, especially now, is a treat as they are usually only able to get together once per season, as all juggle their solo careers along with other projects and teaching.

There is also the distance between them that curtails constant touring.

Wood is a professor of violin at University of British Columbia in Vancouver, while Dyachkov teaches at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal and Jalbert is now a professor of piano at the University of Ottawa.

“For us it was chamber music that brought us together, and now it’s friendship. These guys are really fun to play with,” said Wood. “At first it was about dealing with each other’s personalities, but once we were able to figure that out, we could focus on the music.”

This season has been especially busy for Wood.

Along with his two most recent recordings, Stradivarius Christmas and Chartreuse, a violin/piano duo with David Riley, both released on the same day last week, Triple Forte also released its CD at the end of August.

Piano Trio features ambitious compositions by early 20th century composers Maurice Ravel, Dmitri Shostakovich and Charles Ives, the latter whom Wood says was under-appreciated when he was alive.

“It’s been said that Ives preferred amateurs to play his music because they didn’t try as hard. He was looking for more chaos,” said Wood. “Ives was not that known to a lot of people when he was alive. They didn’t like his music and were turned off from the way he envisioned it… It’s not the kind of music you sit down with or whistle along to. However, Ives’ piano trio is a strong trio. It has a wacky third movement.”

Although they won’t be performing the Ives’ trio at their concert in Vernon, Triple Forte will perform the two other pieces from their new album, Ravel’s Trio in A minor and Shostakovich’s lesser known piano trio, No. 1 in C Minor. (They also are planning to perform Beethoven’s Piano Trio in B flat major Archduke.)

“The Ravel was non-negotiable,” said Wood. “It took me a while for me to like the Shostakovich, but now I like it. When I look back, I think the reason I didn’t like it was because I didn’t get it. It’s like a jam.”

It’s obvious through the music they choose to record and perform that the men still have that passion and drive to keep classical music downloaded on the iPods of today’s listeners. However, Wood says he does not discriminate against those who decide to cross over into other genres, the so-called “Popera” artists and those classical musicians who have dabbled in jazz and pop.

“I know that some go beyond, and it’s not necessarily something I like for myself, but if it’s going to bring more of an audience in, then good for them,” he said. “It is a challenge to see where the industry is going. The key of why we became musicians in the first place is that we don’t want to lose focus. If we give up entirely, we are not going to do it at all.

“I think we will go as far as we can and still keep our integrity… If you keep yourself open to the music, it is not going to go anywhere. People need it.”

Jalbert, Wood and Dyachkov will show that commitment to their audiences when Triple Forte performs in Vernon. The concert is part of the NOCCA’s annual gala affair, a chance for audiences to don those beautiful gowns and dapper tuxes, if they choose. (For the record, Wood says although the Triple Forte musicians will not be in their tuxes, they have picked out some nice threads to wear.)

For those who don’t like to drive after dark, the NOCCA has also made arrangements with several local hotels so concert-goers can enjoy special rates on the night of the concert, said NOCCA publicist Jan Waldon. For more information, call 250-542-3461.

Tickets for Wednesday’s performance at 7:30 p.m. are $35/adult, $17.50/student 18 and under, and $5/eyeGo. (Pro-rated season tickets or tickets for out-of-town guests are also available) at the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469,