Whether reinventing jazz standards, breathing fresh life into classical repertoire, or premiering their own original works, Tre Corda generates a compelling sound all its own. Their works blend composition and improvisation in new and unexpected ways, using the musical vocabulary of classical composers like Bartok and Stravinsky, as well as songs and ideas from the worlds of jazz and popular musics. The name of the group comes from classical piano notation, as an instruction to the pianist to release the soft pedal and let all three strings vibrate freely (literally “three strings” or “three sounds”), and suggests that the trio’s members, individually and collectively, are free to explore their own creative path - independent of boundaries and categories that limit musical expression. Cellist Eugene Friesen’s dynamic rhythms and incredible array of bowing and plucking techniques, trumpeter Greg Hopkins’s virtuosic leaps and outrageous genre-bending phrases, and pianist Tim Ray’s lyric melodicism and two-fisted pyrotechnics - these are just a few of the ways Tre Corda concerts have satisfied and delighted audiences with both jazz and classical expectations. The Boston Globe called this new group “inventive, spirited, humorous...“, and Downbeat Magazine's Fred Bouchard raved in the May 2004 issue about their self-titled debut CD, giving it 3 1/2 stars.
In addition to performances of their own repertoire, Tre Corda also presents a program in tribute to jazz great Miles Davis, and a program of love songs from the Great American Songbook.
A graduate of the Yale School of Music where he studied with Brazilian cellist Aldo Parisot, Eugene Friesen is active internationally as a concert artist, composer, conductor and teacher. In 1995, 2005 and 2006 Eugene won Grammy Awards for musical contributions to three Paul Winter Consort albums, “Spanish Angel,” “Silver Solstice,” and "Crestone." He has worked and recorded with such diverse artists as Dave Brubeck, Toots Thielemans, Betty Buckley, Will Ackerman, Joe Lovano and Dream Theater. Eugene's passion for the responsive flow of improvisatory music has been featured in concerts all over the world with the Paul Winter Consort and with Trio Globo (Friesen, Howard Levy and Glen Velez). He has performed as a soloist at the International Cello Festival in Manchester, England; Rencontres d'Ensembles de Violoncelles in Beauvais, France; the World Cello Congress in Baltimore, Maryland; and the Rio International Cello Encounter in Rio de Janeiro. A love for children and music education led Eugene to create his popular program for young audiences, CelloMan, and has fueled his work teaching new cello techniques and improvisation in the United States, Asia, Europe and South America. Recording credits include six albums of original music: “New Friend”, “Arms Around You”, “The Song of Rivers”, “In the Shade of Angels”, “Sono Miho” and “Colorful Transitions”. Eugene is an artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. (Celloman.com)
Performer, composer, and arranger Greg Hopkins first picked up the trumpet as a boy in Detroit, and to this day it would be hard to spot him without his horn. That symbiosis of man and musical instrument is evident throughout Greg’s career, which began in 1965 freelancing in the Detroit area for such acts as the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and Gladys Knight. Greg made a name for himself recording and touring for several years as soloist and arranger for the Buddy Rich Orchestra (he was called “a real find” by the London Times in 1974), but he has also performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Joe Williams and Tony Bennett, as well as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, and the Boston Brass Ensemble. His own 16-Piece Jazz Orchestra CD Okavongo received 4 1/2 stars from Downbeat Magazine, and is out on the Summit label, as is his quintet CD Quintology (3 1/2 stars) featuring Bill Pierce, and his nonet CD featuring Chuck Marohnic and Sam Pilafian. Greg is also featured on the new Grammy winning jazz CD by Joel Pallson and his Septet, and is featured trumpet soloist with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra on Arthur Welwood’s Wind, Sky, and Clouds. His busy teaching and performing schedule takes him literally all over the world doing concerts, festivals and clinics. A Professor of Jazz Composition at Berklee College of Music, Greg has developed and teaches several courses in composition and also directs the prestigious Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra. (GregHopkins.net)