A Piano, Clarinet, Flute Chamber Trio Based In Western Canada
The Paragon Trio is a newly formed chamber ensemble based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Consisting of Paul Hung (flute), Aidan Wong (clarinet), and Nicole Linaksita (piano), the ensemble seeks to explore and expand the little known repertoire for this unusual instrumentation through performing hidden gems and commissioning new works. After working as colleagues in various organizations and projects such as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, Music on Main, Postmodern Camerata and more, the group has come together and is excited to present this ensemble in innovative and eclectic ways.
The Knox Concert Series programme features three contrasting works, beginning with Florent Schmitt’s Sonatine en Trio. Just as in a sonata form, this piece unfolds in four movements: the first, a charming conversation between the instruments; the second, a waltz with an off-kilter and almost haunting feel; the third, a melancholy and wistful adagio; and the fourth, a rousing folk dance that ends with a flourish. Truly, each movement possesses its own quirky personality - akin to Schmitt himself.
L’arc en ciel is a newly composed piece by Cathy Kuo. On this work, Kuo says “This piece was written in the early summer of 2020, during my quarantine in Vancouver upon returning home from overseas. The global pandemic made such a huge impact on our lives. In addition to the travel ban in both countries, I was stuck in Taiwan for my contracted job during the spring, so I couldn’t immediately return to Canada where my son was alone in Vancouver. During that time of frustration and uncertainty, I took great solace in learning to be more patient and to always keep hope. Rainbows are a strong symbol of peace, hope, diversity, and God’s promise (in the Old Testament). It is my hope that L’arc en ciel will evoke a similar feeling of comfort to the listener, no matter what meaning they resonate with most."
Of stark contrast to the previous pieces, Guillaume Connesson’s Techno-Parade seeks to emulate the raw energy and relentless sense of pulse of the Techno and EDM genres. The piece features many extended techniques throughout the ensemble - glissando in the clarinet, quasi beatbox flute, prepared piano, and even scrubbing the piano’s strings with a brush. In using these peculiar sounds, Connesson treats each instrument like a machine, achieving a fascinating sound world that is decidedly atypical of this ensemble. At times robotic, mechanical, cacophonous, and aggressive, Techno Parade is a riveting tour de force from start to finish.