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Hat Trick


Composed in 2019

Duration: 9:00

Instrumentation: violin, cello, and piano


I wrote Hat Trick for my second straight summer the Atlantic Music Festival, where I again spent a month as the Resident Artist Fellow in composition. One of the outstanding musicians of AMF's faculty is Gabriel Prynn, a cellist I had met the previous summer. When I was invited back to AMF, I learned that Gabriel would be bringing his chamber ensemble from Montreal, Trio Fibonacci, to the festival for a concert of new pieces. I jumped at the chance to write something virtuosic and fun for this excellent group.

Most of the ideas for the piece come out of the sound of the opening two chords. One day I was sitting at the piano and my hands kept gravitating to those two sounds, alternating back and forth. Soon, a melody emerged from those chords, with the arpeggiation of simple harmonies developing into something more sinuous and sensual. As I continued to play with this new tune, it shifted into a syncopated rhythm, and before I knew it, I was writing a tango. I enjoyed the fact that this tango had evolved so naturally, and also that it connected with my first Piano Trio, written ten years earlier, which also features a tango. Ultimately, the piece took on a very clear three-part shape, with an opening section that explores the sound of the initial two chords in counterpoint across the ensemble, a slinky middle section that introduces the tango melody, and a finale that builds to a raucous conclusion.

In sports, a "hat trick" is a term for when one player scores three goals in a single match. It's a fairly rare feat, whether in soccer, hockey, or any number of sports. One of the most memorable hat tricks I've ever seen was Carli Lloyd scoring three goals in the opening 16 minutes of the 2015 Women's World Cup final. I began writing my trio on the eve of the 2019 Women's World Cup, and it was premiered the day after the United States defeated the Netherlands in the final. I decided to call the piece Hat Trick in honor of our national heroes, the US Women's National Soccer Team.


First Performance: July 8th, 2019, Atlantic Music Festival

Lorimer Chapel, Colby College, Waterville, Maine

Trio Fibonacci: Julie-Anne Derome, violin; Gabriel Prynn, cello; 

Steven Massicote, piano


Related Works:


Hit the Spot

Piano Trio

String Quartet No. 3

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