Opus 3 brings international flavor to Forest Park

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By John Rice

Columnist / Staff reporter

Daniel Gasse has promised the music that Opus 3 plays at this year's concert will be "tasty," i.e. representing many different cultural flavors. That's because the Gasse family just spent a month "marinating" in his native Argentina, soaking up the music scene. Those rhythms and tunes from the Pampas contain elements of tango, jazz and folk. 

Opus 3, though, doesn't want Argentinian music to dominate. So they're devoting the second half of the concert to some fiery flamenco music from Spain. 

"These pieces have folk influences," Gasse said, "with a lot of flair, very colorful." 

The concert will be held at St. John Lutheran Church, on March 6, starting at 4 p.m. In exchange for a free-will donation, audience members will be treated to 90 minutes of Latin-influenced classical music. 

The lineup for the Opus 3 Piano Trio includes Gasse on cello, his wife Sarah on violin and Hulya Alpakin at the piano. Sarah Gasse is from England, Alpakin is from Turkey, and Gasse grew up in Argentina, so the group is certainly international in composition. All three are instructors at the Gasse School of Music. 

As for the music, Gasse said he first encountered these concert pieces while doing research for his dissertation. 

"I analyzed over 400 Argentinian pieces for cello and piano," he said. "It's my love. Some are not very well-known in the U.S. It's a shame because they are beautiful pieces." Asked how long he has been preparing for the concert, Gasse quipped, "55 years."

The trio started rehearsing in earnest after Christmas. 

"I love playing concerts, although it's a lot of work," he said. "The life of the musician is on stage; practicing is not the same. I miss the stage." 

He sees the concert as a chance to connect with the community. "I also love to play with Sarah and Hulya, people who go beyond notes, in a sound, artistic way."

The trio has been together for 15 years and he especially appreciates the way Alpakin plays the piano. 

"She has a very strong conservatory background," he said, "She has very solid piano technique but also a tremendous soul. She's not a showy pianist but feels what we're playing and wants to blend." 

If concert-goers aren't completely satisfied by this musical feast, never fear. Refreshments will be served afterward.

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Sarah Gasse  

Posted: March 5th, 2016 9:41 AM

Thanks for a great article, John :-)

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