It can be tough being the youngest in a family of four boys, but for Bowling Green's Zachary DePue that was the perfect recipe for a life in music.
Zachary happily drafted in the wake of his talented siblings. For years the four violin-playing DePue brothers would form one of northwest Ohio's most popular musical acts. Eventually, all went on to professional careers.
Zachary returns to Bowling Green tomorrow night with Time for Three, an eclectic string trio he co-founded in 1999 with classmates at Philadelphia's prestigious Curtis Institute of Music. The concert features tunes ranging from "classical" to "The Orange Blossom Special."
"One of the difficulties of the group has been identifying just what it is that we do. All the creativity has made the group better, but also hard to categorize," DePue admitted.
Early on, the group mostly performed tunes that Zachary brought with him from the DePue brothers' repertoire. Then bassist Ranaan Meyer started offering his own jazz-inflected music. Now all three members contribute and pretty much anything goes.
The musicians met at Curtis, long one of the country's most conservative musical institutions and a place anathema to jazz and bluegrass. But that attitude passed with the last century.
"Growing up as I did, I came to have as much respect for old-time fiddlers as I did for Itzhak Perlman. Now it seems that this idea is coming to fruition all over. Curtis has been one of our biggest supporters. They have realized that to do just one style is not going to cut it any more. Music is music, whatever the style," DePue said.
Many of today's upcoming performers are busy spreading their musical wings, he said.
"There is now a return to the old musical ways. Increasingly we are not just performers, but also composers and arrangers. [Nineteenth-century Polish violinist Henryk] Wieniawski wrote his own music, music that fit well within his hand but was next to impossible for others. We are able to do the same thing in this group," he said.
Tomorrow's concert will feature mostly original music, but also some splashes of bluegrass, old-time fiddle, Gypsy tunes, and even Lennon & McCartney.
Longtime fans of the DePue Family Musicians will be interested to learn that three of the brothers - Wallace, Jr., Jason, and Zachary - now live together in Philadelphia, where Jason and Zachary are both members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Alexander, a former national fiddling champion, lives in Nashville.
"He's the stray cat," said Zachary.
Time for Three performs at 8 p.m. tomorrow in Bowling Green State University's Kobacker Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Building. Tickets range from $18 to $34. Information: 419-372-8171 or 1-800-589-2224.
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