A Conversation with Project Trio

Combining the virtuosity of world-class artists with the energy of rock stars, Project Trio is breaking down traditional ideas of chamber music. Bassist Peter Seymour, cellist Eric Stephenson, and flutist Greg Pattillo draw on jazz, pop and classical influences to make a ferocious, genre-bending sound.

Recently singled out by Gramophone magazine as “an ensemble willing and able to touch on the gamut of musical bases ranging from Baroque to nu-Metal and taking on pretty much every style in between,” the members of Project Trio sat down with Dean Mark McCoy at DePauw University School of Music to talk about their development, their collaborative process and how they tackle self-management.

Interview Highlights

HOW GREG DEVELOPED FLUTE BEATBOXING:

GREG PATTILLO: “I met a bunch of really weird people out in California and really got into beatboxing. … The idea of doing rhythmic sounds on the flute I got out of bluegrass, what they call the ‘chop.’ … This is kind of our message. We have these tools, these instruments, and if you just tweak a bit here and there, you can do all these different styles of music.”

ON COLLABORATIVE REHEARSALS:

ERIC STEPHENSON: “We don’t talk to each other as classical musicians. We talk to each other more as jazz musicians. … What we really have fun doing is swapping everything on its head. What happens when Peter’s playing the upper line and Greg’s on the bass line? How many ways can we flip that around?”

ON YOUTUBE AND SELF-MANAGEMENT:

PETER SEYMOUR: “We preach a lot about practicing every day. The management side is the same. It can be time-consuming, but it’s also highly creative work. And I think that the more people take hold of what they’re doing, the more they’ll have ownership over their ensemble.”

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