Chamber music group the Wilder Trio slated to perform at San Juan College

Combo focuses on works of 20th century New York composer

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
  • The Wilder Trio performs at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14 in the Henderson Fine Arts Center Performance Center.
  • Tickets are $15 for adults, and $12 for students and seniors.
  • The group is based in Los Angeles and has been together since 2008.

FARMINGTON — A Los Angeles-based chamber music group will perform the premiere of two new pieces by a Durango, Colorado, composer that were inspired by regional landmarks during a concert this week at San Juan College.

The Wilder Trio will perform "Animas" and "Cascade Falls" by David Anthony Jones. Jones The former is written as a tribute to the Animas River, while the latter refers to a spot on the Cascade Creek Trail near the Purgatory Resort.

Cynthia Bauhof-Williams, the pianist for the Wilder Trio, said she has known Jones for more than 40 years, adding that he dedicated one of the pieces to her and the other to the trio. Both are intended to evoke the beauty of the places from which they derive their name.

Bauhof-Williams is joined in the trio by bassoonist Phoebe Ray and clarinet player Helen Goode-Castro. The three freelance musicians have performed together since 2008, though they also occasionally take the stage with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Pasadena Symphony and other groups.

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Composer Gernot Wolfgang is pictured with the members of the Wilder Trio, a chamber music group that will perform Thursday, April 14 at San Juan College.

The trio originally was focused on performing the music of 20th century composer Alec Wilder, although, over time, it has expanded its repertoire to include compositions by Beethoven, Felix Mendelssohn and others, Bauhof-Williams said. Still, the New Yorker for whom the group is named remains the trio's lodestar, she said, describing his work as mostly classical in nature but featuring strong jazz and pop influences.

"Wilder deals in all the things we like to do," she said.

The trio is known for performing complicated, layered compositions that frequently feature odd meters, beginning on a four count but then switching to a seven or even a five, Ray said. For a combo that doesn't rely on a conductor, those time changes can make it difficult to remain synchronized, she acknowledged.

"We don't all feel it the same, so it's a particular challenge," Ray said.

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But the exacting nature of the music is a big part of what makes it so appealing, Bauhof-Williams said.

"I like the challenge of doing these very complicated pieces," she said.

Indeed, those challenges nourish the group's creative appetite, Ray said.

"I think we really feed off the musical interaction," she said. "We can go places (as a trio) you might not go independently."

All three members of the group are well accustomed to performing with larger musical ensembles. But it is their work as a trio that they find more rewarding, given the more intimate and demanding nature of performing in that setting.

Ray said the desire to retain creative control also plays a strong part in her preference for focusing on chamber music, adding that in orchestral settings, it is typically a conductor who calls all the shots, with the musicians working under his or her direction.

"We are the creative force," she said of how the Wilder Trio operates. "We make all the musical decisions. But it's absolutely a lot more work."

The Wilder Trio performs at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14 in the Henderson Fine Arts Center Performance Center on the San Juan College campus, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $12 for students and seniors. They can be purchased online at sanjuancollege.edu/events, or in person at the San Juan College bookstore or at the door.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.