The Ensemble || The Musicians || Press Kit
When the award-winning and internationally known Triple Helix musicians—violinist Bayla Keyes, cellist Rhonda Rider, and pianist Lois Shapiro—joined together in 1995, The Boston Globe described the results of their union as “the livest live music in town,” with “wildly imaginative, emotionally charged, virtuoso playing” that was “sophisticated in musical detail, wholeheartedly interactive, uninhibited in emotion, and touched by a special grace.”
Subsequently, the ensemble has become known as one of the best piano trios on today’s musical landscape. As the Los Angeles Times noted, “Triple Helix is clearly something special…the players have a splendid musical chemistry with virtually perfect dynamic balance, a firm collective sense of rhythm, and fervor and authority when needed.”
In addition to presenting superb traditional concerts, the Trio offers engaging Musical Explorations, informal discussion-recitals which offer listeners new perspectives and insights on the music and more. As dedicated educators, the musicians take such programs into classrooms in which poetry, history of art, Russian history, math, and many other subjects are taught, thereby enhancing students’ grasp of the cultural and social aspects of the period or subject that they are exploring. In fact, these mind-expanding journeys are often incorporated into the Mini-Residencies which Triple Helix also offers.
Advocates for new music, the Helices have premiered several new works. In 2000, the group won a commissioning grant from Chamber Music America, which enabled Lee Hyla, co-chair of Composition at New England Conservatory, to compose the piano trio Amnesia Redux (2002) for them. Other premieres include David Rakowski’s Hyperblue (1992) and Attitude Problem (1996)—both of which were recorded on the CRI label; Ross Bauer’s Motion (1998); Richard Cornell’s Piano Trio (1998); Arlene Zallman’s Triquetra (1999); Andy Vores’ Dark Mother (narrated by Phyllis Curtin and performed to rave reviews in a “FleetBoston Celebrity Series” concert in April of 2000); and James Bolle’s Piano Trio (2000). And as part of an enriching cross-cultural program at Wellesley, in 2004-2005, they premiered another work which was written expressly for them—well, more specifically, for their piano trio and Korean pansori singer/percussion—Chan Hae Lee’s The Rabbit Story (2005). More recently the Trio premiered a work for chorus and piano trio by Yu-Hui Chang entitled It is an Illusion You Were Ever Free. Their most recent premiere was in 2012, when they played Lonesome Roads by Dan Visconti. The piece was written for a consortium of three piano trios including Triple Helix. They are currently anticipating a new triple concerto, to be completed in 2014 by Eric Sawyer.
The Triple Helix musicians are regular guests on National Public Radio’s WGBH-FM. Gramophone magazine hailed the Trio’s recording, “Sense of Place”—which includes works by Ravel, Shostakovich, and Bright Sheng—as a “cherishable disc,” including it in a listing of best new recordings from North America. They were cited by the Boston Globe as one of the top chamber ensembles of Boston, and chosen as Musicians of the Year in 2000.
In calling themselves “Triple Helix,” the artists were inspired by the notion of the double helix—the dynamic intertwining and interdependence of the spiraling energies that generate life. They saw a parallel in their partnership of violin, cello, and piano: each instrument, a potent force in its own right, is entrusted by the composer with its specific share of the music’s “genetic material.”