The Red Deer Symphony Orchestra had to do a last-minute switcheroo of world-class acts for its Wednesday fundraising concert.
Ben Heppner was forced to cancel his appearance at the Red Deer College Arts Centre, due to illness.
Instead, the RDSO was lucky to be able to land the Juno Award-winning Gryphon Trio out of Toronto.
The trio had been planning some weekend engagements in Alberta, and is now coming to the province early to perform for Red Deer music lovers on Wednesday night in place of Heppner.
“It’s no easy feat to be able to replace an artist of Ben Heppner’s calibre in two days notice. We can’t believe our good fortune that the Gryphon Trio was able to make this performance work in their hectic tour schedule,” said Melody McKnight, the RDSO’s executive director.
She added the RDSO wanted to give city residents the chance to hear an internationally recognized music act, which wouldn’t normally play in the city, and is glad to still be able to do that.
The Gryphon Trio is one of the foremost chamber groups in the world, with at least 15 recordings out. The two-time Juno Award winning trio is also one that RDSO music director Claude Lapalme had long been wanting to work with, said McKnight.
“They’ve helped put Canada on the map . . . if people come, I think they will be blown away by the quality of the playing.”
The trio’s more recent award-winning CD of Beethoven music prompted one of the repertoire choices for Wednesday’s Red Deer concert — Beethoven’s Triple Concerto for violin, cello, piano and orchestra.
“It’s an honour to perform this great masterpiece with Canada’s own Gryphon Trio. It’s the rare combination of instruments with orchestra that made the composer particularly proud of this work,” said Lapalme.
Other works on the concert bill are Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro Overture (to be performed by the RDSO) and Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in C Minor, by the Gryphon Trio.
The chamber group is made up of pianist Jamie Parker, cellist Roman Borys and violinist Annalee Patipatanakioon.
McKnight is please that news of the headliner switch prompted a few more ticket sales on Tuesday morning instead of requests for reimbursements.
She believes one of the main reasons people come to the fundraiser is to support the RDSO, and she appreciates their understanding.
For more information, please call 403-340-2948. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. performance are $150 from the Black Knight Ticket Centre ($120 for RDSO subscribers).