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Players use classical training for unconventional music

Chances are you’ve heard them play before and not known it. Odds are maybe you’ve seen one of them perform here.

Violinist Tracy Silverman and pianist Philip Aaberg, two thirds of Three Part Invention, bring diverse musical backgrounds to the stage. Although trained in what most would think of as traditional classical music, they’ve used it to open up new musical styles.

Silverberg attended Julliard, while Aaberg went to Harvard on the prestigious Leonard Bernstein Scholarship. From there, their careers developed in unexpected ways, making a perfect fit for Three Part Invention, which makes improv and a variety of music the norm.

“All three of us have spent our careers being pioneers with classical instruments in a non-classical way,” said Silverman.

Both were influenced by rock music. Silverman plays electric violin, which has six strings instead of four, which can produce bass notes.

“Think of it as a 21st Century violin,” said Silverman. “Electric guitar is the voice of my generation and rock is what people listened to. This is an attempt to keep the violin valid in culture.”

Aaberg gravitated to Southern Rock, playing with Elvin Bishop and Juice Newton, toured with Peter Gabriel and has played on 300 records by his count, several that hit the top 10.

Aaberg confessed he learned one of his greatest professional lessons from an unlikely source – the Smothers Brothers.

While touring with the comedian/musician siblings, he watched them go out nightly, perform the same material and music without missing a beat and was amazed they still made it feel fresh and remained enthused.

“They taught me about professionalism. For my audience each night it’s fresh and new for them and that’s how I approach it,” said Aaberg.

Anyone who attended Clark State’s Jim Brickman performance with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra last December already had a preview of Silverman’s talents as he backed Brickman.

“It was a super cold, snowy night, but a lot of Springfielders came out,” said Silverman. “It will be great to play in the same hall.”

The show also coincides with Silverman’s new CD, “Between the Kiss and the Chaos.” He hopes to perform material from it during his solo spot.

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