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FREE Courtroom Concert: Trés, piano-saxophone trio

Thursday, April 6, 12:00PM

Landmark Center, Cortile

Hosted by composer Abbie Betinis, our popular Courtroom Concerts take place at noon most Thursdays in the Landmark Center in downtown Saint Paul. This series features accomplished musicians and composers from the Twin Cities and surrounding area, as well as occasional musical newcomers to the area. These one-hour concerts are free and open to the public.

About the Artists:

{Trés} is a chamber music trio consisting of two saxophones and piano. Founded in 2010, the group is diligent in bringing classical and cultural works into modern saxophone repertoire. They are:

Ryan Smith, Tenor Saxophone

Ryan Smith is a woodwind specialist living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Drawn to music across the spectrum of genres, he regularly performs with symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, jazz combos, pit orchestras, and rock bands. He has toured in Brazil and Italy with the Américo Project and given concerts in Hong Kong and China with the Iowa Saxophone Ensemble. Smith currently serves as Artistic Director of Rapson Collaborative—a non-profit arts organization founded in Iowa City to support original musical projects that explore critical social issues. Smith holds Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music in Jazz Studies degrees from the University of Iowa, and he teaches applied woodwinds at Grinnell College, Cornell College, and St. Ambrose University.


Casey Rafn, Piano

Minneapolis based pianist Casey Rafn enjoys a varied career both in the United States and abroad. As a collaborative pianist, he has performed at venues in Latin America, Canada, New York City, and across the United States. He has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra and Vocal Essence, and can often be found as a chamber musician with members of the Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, or faculty from the University of Minnesota. He is a member of the saxophone-piano trio {Trés}, which performs in both Puerto Rico and the continental United States. Apart from his collaborative work, he enjoys solo playing, having taken top prizes at the International Liszt-Garrison Competition in Baltimore, as well as appearing as a soloist with Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra. He is currently on staff at the University of Minnesota School of Music, Lundstrum Performing Arts, and St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists.


José A. Zayas Cabán, Soprano Saxophone

Grammy Nominated and McKnight Fellow, José A. Zayas Cabán has presented performances and taught master classes throughout Europe, the Caribbean, and North America. A native Puerto Rican (born and raised in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico) and musician activist, José now resides in Minneapolis, MN and is building an artistic career focused on developing projects, albums, and collaborations that address, respond, and raise awareness about current events and social issues.

Winner of the 2019 New Music USA Project Grant, José is currently collaborating with multiple Grammy Nominee and Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón on a work titled El País Invisible (The Invisible Nation, 2019) ) (Nominated for the 2023 Grammy: Best Composition). The single released July 2022 and reflects on the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States Empire.

In addition, José is developing a project with Angélica Negrón as the recipient of the McKnight Visiting Composer Fellowship that will result in a new composition titled Pedacito de Tierra (Little Piece of Land) Influenced by the work of Rafael Tufiño, and photographer Erika Rodriguez, Pedacito de Tierra will celebrate Puerto Rico’s stories and struggles. The collaboration with Angélica Negrón and Miguel Zenón is part of a larger, long term, project called Puerto Rico se Re-Inventa.

José is developing this project to schedule annual residencies in Puerto Rico and bring free music concerts to the communities of Puerto Rico and, by documenting these visits to the island, raise consciousness and awareness about Puerto Rico in the mainland United States.

His debut album, Centennial, commemorates the women’s suffrage movement and the ratification of the 19th amendment in August 1920. It includes music by Kinds of Kings composers Gemma Peacocke (Skin, 2016) and Shelley Washington (Big Talk, 2016), as well as trios by Amanda Feery (Gone to Earth, 2018) and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (Trio, Op. 11, 1846).

José is the co-founder of the Chamber Music Trio {Trés}, which was started as a collaborative project by José and Colin Young with the purpose of creating transcriptions and commissioning new works for a two saxophone and piano ensemble to perform. The trio has since performed chamber music by a wide range of composers in Central America, the Caribbean, and throughout the United States. In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and María, {Trés} finished a national tour (2018) titled A Tribute to Puerto Rico to help raise funds and awareness about Puerto Rico and the island’s efforts to recover from the hurricanes. In November 2019, the trio completed its first residency in Puerto Rico.

José is a D’Addario, LefreQue and Yamaha Artist. For more information: https://joseantonio-zayascaban.com/