Clayton’s group Hat Trick first recorded Sofia Gubaidulina’s piece “Garden of Joys and Sorrows” in 2014
In 2010, flutist April Clayton received the BYU Young Faculty Award, which gave her funds for a personal project. This generous funding gave her what she needed to found the flute-viola-harp trio Hat Trick, which combines the talents of violist David Wallace and harpist Kristi Shade with Clayton’s own flute genius.
Since its founding in 2013, the group has performed several concerts. In 2014, the group recorded their album “Garden of Joys and Sorrows,” which was released three years later in 2017.
The title of the album comes from the name of a flute-viola-harp piece written by Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina. Clayton had the opportunity to meet Gubaidulina in 2009, during a summer music program in Paris.
“I was the Chamber Music Director for the European American Musical Alliance summer program in Paris, and she and I were both on the faculty there,” Clayton said. As Clayton and Gubaidulina conversed through a translator, Clayton asked if Gubaidulina could suggest any of her own work for Clayton to play and perform. Gubaidulina suggested “Garden of Joys and Sorrows.”
“Towards the end of our time there together I asked, 'Do you have any music for flute that you think I should perform?' and she said, 'I have a flute-viola-harp trio that nobody has really done very much with, and it's a good piece,'” Clayton recalled. “At the time I tried to find a recording and I couldn't. So I thought, perfect, I'm going to get a flute-viola-harp trio together and we're going to record this piece.”
Gubaidulina’s recommendation to Clayton is part of what inspired her to form the group Hat Trick. Clayton and Wallace had studied together at Julliard when they were both doctoral students. To fill in the spot for a harpist, Clayton and Wallace auditioned several talented musicians before Shade was chosen to join the trio.
This month, Hat Trick’s recording of “Garden of Joys and Sorrows” was featured on BBC Radio 3’s Composer of the Week program as part of a celebration of Gubaidulina’s 90th birthday.
Clayton commented that not only is Gubaidulina a great composer, but her music stands strong when played alongside the music of those more recognized to be great composers like Debussy. “When you hear Debussy and then you hear Gubaidulina, you can tell by comparison that it is also great music,' said Clayton.
Since the pandemic, Hat Trick’s performance schedule has been on hold. But that hasn’t meant that the music has ceased completely. Clayton has been creative in sharing her musical talents through her YouTube channel Flute Tube, where she demonstrates flute technique and plays solo flute pieces that deserve wider recognition.
“ releasing a video at least once a week since the very beginning of ... April 2020,” said Clayton. “And I’ve really loved it.” Clayton added that her channel has allowed her to continue to perform music in a safe and COVID-friendly way.
With a brighter future ahead, Clayton said that Hat Trick is commissioning composer Daniel Dorff to write the group a new piece. They hope to learn and perform the song by 2023 and record the music in 2024.
To learn more about Hat Trick and listen to their music, visit triohattrick.com.