The 42nd Annual International Trumpet Guild Conference - Hershey, Pennsylvania
Special Daily Report • Compiled by Peter Wood
Photos by Michael Anderson, Norman Bergstrom, Del Lyren, and John Tamer
Friday, June 2 - Daytime events
There was something for just about everyone during Friday’s third full day of the jam-packed conference. Beginning with two warm-up sessions, the fast-paced schedule included thought-provoking and highly engaging masterclasses and concerts in a wide variety of styles. Spirits remain high!
Ryan Gardner Warm-Up Session - Singing Through Stamp
Ryan Gardner led a room full of early risers through his warm-up routine of Boyd Hood/James Stamp exercises. Gardner’s packet of exercises was prefaced by an organized list of all the important fundamentals that need to be addressed on a daily basis, and his routine efficiently covered the entire list in a methodical approach. Gardner emphasized that one should always play with great ease and a beautiful sound, and his playing exemplified those qualities as he demonstrated each exercise. From breathing drills to flow studies and flexibility, Gardner’s comprehensive warmup prepared the participants to be able to play anything during the day ahead. A fresh perspective on the Stamp routine, Gardner encouraged incorporating four components of trumpet playing into the warmup - playing, listening, singing, and resting. Gardner also stressed the importance of “Having Fun!” every time you play, and it is safe to say the entire class did just that. (EM)
Judith Saxton - Non-Pro Warmup Session: Alexander Technique
Judith Saxton’s interactive warm-up session featured principles of the Alexander Technique. Not only was mindfulness an important topic, but she also explained “bodyfulness,” saying, “The body and mind are connected; what we think is how we move.” The process of the warm-up session began with becoming aware of one’s surroundings. This transitioned into singing, playing buzzing exercises on the mouthpiece, and, finally, performing on a fully assembled trumpet. As new steps were introduced, the question “Did you lose your feet?” followed, reminding the audience of the bodyfulness concept. Saxton discussed the importance of one’s mindset while warming up. The mindset of performers should be purposefully involved in music, rather than thinking “How do I feel today?” Singing, moving with and visualizing music before one performs on the instrument will result in a clearer, more focused sound. Saxton’s class was well received as the energy of the room evolved into a welcoming, spirited environment. (SS)
170602-0001Judith Saxton warm-up session
Judith Saxton Non-Pro Masterclass
Trumpet players of all ages and playing levels gathered in the Empire Ballroom to receive constructive feedback on their trumpet playing from Judith Saxton. A variety of players found the courage to perform for those in attendance, playing a portion of a solo or etude of their choice. Saxton delivered excellent and effective advice, often referencing her extensive knowledge of the Alexander Technique. Despite the early starting time of the clinic, particularly toward the end of the conference, those in attendance were energetic and actively engaged in the question-and-answer session, creating an informative and educational environment. Although Saxton provided many valuable constructive comments, this author most appreciated her ability to give feedback on performances in an honest, yet kind, fashion. (RW)
170602-0001-4Judith Saxton masterclass
Eric Berlin Trio Recital - Music for Trumpet, Trombone, and Piano
Eric Berlin, a native of Manheim, Pennsylvania, proudly held up his half gallon of Turkey Hill Iced Tea and acknowledged his parents in the audience. He had traveled back to his home turf for a morning recital of twentieth-century repertoire for trumpet, trombone, and piano, including several adaptations. Berlin and trombonist Greg Spiridopoulos are longtime colleagues in the Albany Symphony Orchestra and have cultivated a superb blend after years of collaboration. Pianist Ludmila Krasin provided sensitive and versatile accompaniment, playing a wind ensemble reduction of Jeffrey Wayne Holmes’s jazzy Continuum and brass band reduction on Anthony Plog’s Concertino. The trio opened the recital with Eric Ewazen’s Double Concerto, a high-energy piece that showcased the players’ melodic and technical abilities. The trumpet and trombone lines are ever so slightly offset rhythmically, a feat that was executed with seeming effortlessness. The trio closed the recital with Herbert L. Clarke’s Cousins to honor this region’s band tradition. (MM)
170602-0001-3Eric Berlin Trio
James Wood Presentation - Resumes and Recordings: Presenting Your Best First Impression
Following the prelude ensemble’s performance, Master Sergeant James Wood began his clinic. Wood currently represents The United States Army Field Band as their auditions coordinator, and he also served as a trumpet player in the ensemble for over fourteen years. He provided insight from various sides of the audition process - applying for positions, sitting on the selection committees, and coordinating and corresponding with potential candidates. Wood emphasized how important both the look and content of the resume impacts the committee’s impression of a candidate. He also shared insights on how to record for pre-screenings and on what the committees are listening for in each audition. He emphasized the importance of having the right recording devices and how different environments can impact a player’s final product despite the overall abilities of the player. (JS)
170602-0001-12MSGT James Wood
Jordi Albert Presentation - Focal Dystonia in Brass Players: Treatment Strategies
Jordi Albert, Stomvi artist and researcher in motor skills in brass players, presented a highly informative and detailed clinic based on his comprehensive methodology for treatment of focal dystonia (FTSD). Through his work teaching over 130 students with FTSD, Albert has developed a holistic approach to treating the condition based on “Expert Motor Program Theory,” which states that there are four motor actions required for trumpet playing, including body position, respiratory cycle, sound production, and diction. For each of these actions, there is a threshold of minimum effort that produces maximum results. When the maximum threshold of effort is surpassed, the employment of unnecessary effort can lead to focal dystonia. After an initial evaluation of the problem, Albert applies a three-step treatment approach, including rebalancing the orofacial muscles through the “Musclebrass” program, development of self-regulated treatment using auditory feedback, then eventually sending the student to another teacher for further development. (OF)
David Hickman Tribute Concert
The Hickman Tribute Concert began with Dave's Fanfare, a world premiere composed by Anthony Plog. The recital was organized to recognize Hickman, who is receiving this year’s ITG Honorary Award. Selections were performed by colleagues and former students, highlighting his many roles as a teacher, performer, and entrepreneur. Allan Dean, Ronald Romm, and John Marchiando brilliantly performed two Rafael Méndez trios. Two large ensembles featured arrangements by Hickman for twelve trumpets, and a third performed the second world premiere of the recital, composed by Daniel Thrower. Former students Nancy Taylor, Michael Arndt, Ginger Turner, and Luis Engelke all performed duets or solos. Joe Burgstaller attempted to turn the recital into a "roast" with stories of near-death experiences with Hickman before performing a set of pieces to great applause. The recital closed with Hickman conducting a mass ensemble of his students who had performed on the recital plus Dean and Romm. (KM)
170602-0001-18Joe Burgstaller and David Hickman 170602-0001-18Performers on the David Hickman Tribute Concert
Graham Breedlove Jazz Recital - Music of the Masters: Tunes from the Legends of Jazz Trumpet
Breedlove, along with the Conference Jazz Trio consisting of Tom Lawton, Peter Paulsen, and Chris Hanning, presented an informative, entertaining, and up-to-date retrospective of the history of jazz trumpet. The concert featured music associated with and popularized by some of the greatest jazz trumpet players. The arrangements, all by Breedlove, were written especially for this performance and provided a fresh take on familiar repertoire. First on the concert was Bobby Timmons’s Moanin’, arranged in a Latin style. Breedlove’s performance on this tune showed his considerable skills as a trumpet player and his creativity and ingenuity as an improviser. Perhaps the most exciting performance of the concert was Breedlove’s Plausible Deniability. All ensemble members demonstrated their full range of abilities and virtuosity in this hard-driving composition. Breedlove’s solo showcased his formidable technique and harmonic language. This was an impressive performance featuring four quality musicians at the top of their game. (JC)
K.O. Skinsnes Presentation - Cheater Mouthpieces and Other Delights: Reach Your Playing Goals Faster and Easier with the Correct Gear and Approach for the Job
K.O. Skinsnes opened his presentation by stating that there is no such thing as a "cheater" mouthpiece. He went on to present how each individual trumpet player should approach finding what unique mouthpiece and horn suits them best. He emphasized intonation and how important it is to ensure that one’s mouthpiece and trumpet combination is as in tune with itself as possible. Additionally, Skinsnes demonstrated the importance of the mouthpiece gap with recordings of an in-tune setup vs. an out-of-tune setup. He stressed the fact that it is impossible to calculate the correct gap, since lip insertion is a determining factor. Before opening the session to questions, Skinses concluded by explaining the importance of aiming for good intonation, choosing the appropriate gear, and studying your trumpet with the goal of being efficient. (BB)
ITG Military Band Excerpts Competition Finals
Matthew Mignardi, Brent Proseus, and Alex Wilborn all performed admirably in the second year of the Military Band Excerpts Competition Finals. The competitors all displayed full sounds, refined technical abilities, and lyrical expression in a rigorous audition setting. Matthew Mignardi engulfed the room with his warm vibrant sound, Brent Proseus showcased his virtuosic technique, and Alex Wilborn highlighted his finesse and control across the range of the horn. All three performed at an extremely high level and have incredibly bright futures ahead of them (perhaps in a military band). The list included standard excerpts from such band pieces as Fantasie Brilliante (Arban), Variations on America (Ives), Divertimento for Band (Persichetti), and Festive Overture (Shostakovich), among others. The judges were MGySgt Christian Ferrari of the US Marine Band, and SGM Ginger Turner and MSgt James Wood of the US Army Field Band. (EM)
170602-0001-28ITG Military Band Excerpts Competition finalists and judges. L-R: MGySgt Christian Ferrari, Matthew Mignardi, SGM Ginger Turner, Brent Proseus, MSgt James Wood, Alex Wilborn, coordinator GySgt Amy McCabe
Elisa Koehler Lecture-Recital - Arban at the Opera
Elisa Koehler’s lecture recital, Arban at the Opera, provided the audience with an insightful look into the correlation between Jean-Baptiste Arban’s arrangements for cornet and the Bel Canto style of singing in many nineteenth-century Italian operas. Opening with a performance of Arban’s Fantasia sur Verdi’s “La Traviata,” Koehler provided beautiful examples that reflected the cornet’s true singing potential. She then briefly traced the development of the cornet to the modern trumpet and discussed various editions of the Arban method and the numerous supplemental materials that exist on the market. Koehler provided detailed research that documented the various operas from which Arban drew for his creation of The Art of the Phrase. Koehler closed her lecture-recital with a beautiful rendition of Arban’s arrangement of Variations on a Theme from “Norma.” (JS)
Chris Legaux, Erik Morales, and Peter Pickett Presentation - Career Opportunity Beyond Performance
Chris Legaux (Trumcor Mutes), Erik Morales (composer), and Peter Pickett (Pickett Brass) led a wonderful discussion on how each of them became successful professionals in the music industry through non-performing careers. With the underlying themes of working hard, being willing to take risks, and finding ways to leave a positive impact on others, all enjoyed the opportunity to ask questions and learn from these highly successful entrepreneurs. It was particularly helpful to hear their distinct stories of success, and the audience joined in laughter as Legaux shared his struggles with making his first metal mute. Pickett and Morales agreed that people may experience small failures along any path - and not everyone may like a particular product - but ultimately, with hard work and dedication, anyone will be able to find their place in the trumpet community. (SW)
170602-0001-30Chris Legaux (L) and Erik Morales
New Works Recital
Carson Cooman’s Sonata for a Flugelhorn and Piano was the result of a commission from soloist Anne McNamara and a consortium. McNamara performed Ludus, the second of two movements, with precision and flair. As the program notes describe, “Largely lyrical material [is developed] with a distinctive nervous energy.”
Max Matzen performed Convergence for trumpet, piano, and tape by Michaela Eremiášová, a three-movement work that represents a disagreement between the diametrically opposed worlds of man (trumpet) and woman (piano). In the second movement, contrast between the trumpet and piano was marked with wide intervals and driving rhythmic lines in the piano, juxtaposed against insistent repetitive lines in the trumpet. The electronic background acted as a facilitator, introducing new arhythmic and atonal melodic ideas that were acted upon and varied by the trumpet and piano.
Set for flugelhorn and string quartet, Stefan Schuck’s Sounds of the Wilderness received inspiration from a camping trip into the forests of Goose Creek State Park. Lyrical, jaunting melodies are heard first by only flugelhorn and followed by various textures in the strings. Buddy Deshler’s alluring flugelhorn sound and expressive lyricism complemented the work extremely well.
Sarah Herbert and the Texas Guitar Quartet (Isaac Bustos, Jonathan Dotson, Alejandro Montiel, and Joseph Williams II) gave a lively performance of John Truitt’s Fin de Fiesta for trumpet and guitar quartet. One could easily imagine a Spanish gypsy dancer as Herbert performed an energetic solo accompanied by driving Bulerias rhythms in the guitar. Herbert had few opportunities for rest, as she danced between quickly moving chromatic lines and wide intervals. The piece ended with fast accented notes, characteristic of Flamenco style.
Steven Siegel and Taylor Gustad rendered a brilliant and energetic performance of Jason Dovel’s Ascent for two piccolo trumpets. The effective and fast-paced work is appropriately described as “a flashy concert opener [with] forceful dissonances, incisive rhythms, and a sense of building, upward motion.”
Daniel Thrower gave an impressive rendition of the fourth movement of his own unaccompanied composition, Dimensions. Opening with a lyrical flugelhorn solo, the movement, titled “Mystery of 4D Matter,” featured Thrower’s flexibility and smooth sound. Approaching the development section, the movement gradually increased in rhythmic and technical requirements, including several multiple-tongued arpeggiated lines. Although brief, this movement requires mastery of every fundamental aspect of trumpeting from lyrical playing to wide lip slurs, extended range, and fast fingering and tonguing.
Jet Lag Voodoo by Rusty Banks features the combination of flugelhorn, alto flute, and piano. Highly effective were the changes in instrumental colors that the trio was able to create and the various sound effects by flute and flugelhorn with plunger. All three musicians, including trumpeter Brian Walker and his wife, flutist Julee Kim Walker, rendered a superb, energetic performance.
Zachary Ploeger’s Proclamation for Trumpet and Piano, commissioned by Scott Thornburg, opens with a bang and continues the theme of surprise throughout the entirety of the piece. Trumpeter Scott Thornburg engaged the audience from the very first brilliant tone, and pianist Helen Lukan continued to command attention with her aggressive entrance. If one is looking for continuity or transitions to make sense of the different sections of this piece, they will find none, as the composer sets up and then deliberately rejects the listener’s expectations. The somewhat disjointed nature of the first movement is in stark contrast to the second movement that features soft, docile lines and soaring high notes. Thornburg performed with unwavering consistency of tone and endurance throughout, and Lukan’s energy never faltered.
Robert Waugh presented the celebratory third movement from Nicole Piunno’s Refractions for Trumpet and Piano, which is appropriately titled “Cadenza-Joyful.” Waugh’s lyricism and playful articulation were highly effective in contrasting sections.
Trumpeter Hollie Lifshey and pianist Rebecca Wilt performed the third movement of Sonata for Trumpet and Piano by Greg McLean. This movement begins with a dance-like introduction from the trumpet and continues in a gigue that slowly morphs into a Dixieland jazz style with a playful, swinging trumpet solo. The gigue returns with a restatement of the second part of the melody from the beginning of the piece, with a few modulations and the addition of several double-tongued passages, which Lifshey performed with apparent ease.
Amarillo Nascimento’s warm sound and expressiveness were highly effective in this performance of Celso Mojola’s unaccompanied Abril desconhecido (Unknown April). Mojola worked to “highlight the lyrical and transcendent personality of the instrument.” Lilting sighs in the upper register beautifully rendered by Nascimento were particularly moving.
James Stephenson’s Concerto for Piccolo Trumpet and Piano is certainly different from other piccolo trumpet concertos in that, instead of being composed in Baroque style, it showcases jazz harmonies and rhythms. Trumpeter Joshua Ganger and Rebecca Wilt performed the third movement, featuring wildly ascending lines and syncopated patterns in the trumpet. The piano and trumpet rarely play on the same beat, making this piece a challenge to coordinate, but it is a very interesting and dynamic piece to hear. Ganger performed with impeccable accuracy and demonstrated versatility and sensitivity in his piccolo playing.
Jesse Cook’s presentation of David Sterrett’s Rhapsody was passionate throughout, with a highly charged dynamic contrast that captured a sense of longing. His cup-muted sound at the close was particularly ethereal, setting a sense of calm, peace, and resolution.
Will Koehler and Rebecca Wilt opened Dave Hanson’s Pairs from Three Pieces for Trumpet and Piano with a quick, repeated motive moving upwards in triads. Each short melodic idea featured in this piece moved through several tonal centers and used harmonic vocabulary influenced by jazz pianists of the 1960s. The fast-paced introduction gradually transformed into a slower, more stable middle section with lyrical trumpet lines written in a more classical style. However, this did not last long, as the final section featured more of the same jazz harmonies heard in the beginning, culminating in a flashy chromatic ascent to high C.
Jason Dovel’s A Stroll Through Kalavryta is about a small Greek town that possesses “a tragic history that includes the 1943 ‘Greek Holocaust’ in which most adult men in the village were massacred by the German Army.” Flowing piano lines with a melancholy melody depict the quaintness and simplicity of parts of the town. Steven Siegel and Rebecca Wilt rendered a very moving performance.
The final work of the program, Daniel Perttu’s Torngat: a sonata for trumpet and piano, was inspired by Torngat National Park in Labrador, Canada. Tim Winfield’s opening solo with brilliant accents and powerful tones embody the majesty of the mountains, while the following peaceful muted section is akin to flowing mountain creeks. The dotted rhythms and darting notes in the piano represent the vivacious nature of the wildlife, and the piece culminates in a series of stately phrases mimicked back and forth between trumpet and piano. (LE & OF)
ITG Jazz Competition Finals
The ITG Jazz Improvisation Competition Finals featured performances from three outstanding young jazz trumpeters, accompanied by the Conference Jazz Trio (Tom Lawton, Peter Paulsen, and Christopher Lanning). Each competitor performed Anthropology, St. James Infirmary, and a composition of his choice. The first performer was Cody Rowlands from New School for Jazz. Rowlands’ performance was notable for the breadth of styles included. He was able to demonstrate command of both the swing and bebop languages, in addition to outstanding time feel. Much to the delight of all, Jeremy Alvarez, from the Berklee School of Music, filled the space with his brash and brilliant trumpet sound. His arrangements of the required music is to be commended, as it was clear that he put the tunes together not only in a highly musical manner, but also in a way that showcased his strengths as a player. The final performer was Tony Glausi from the University of Oregon. He opened with an unaccompanied chorus before being joined by the rhythm section as he launched into All the Things You Are. Glausi’s playing was wonderfully nuanced while still able to explore the full dynamic and registral range of the trumpet. All three musicians gave outstanding performances and certainly have bright futures as jazz musicians. (JC)
170602-0001-54ITG Jazz Improvisation Competition rhythm section, finalists, and judges
Micah Wilkinson Recital
Miriam Hickman joined Micah Wilkinson, principal trumpet of the San Diego Symphony, for a beautiful recital that opened with Hanson’s Sonata for Cornet and Piano, Op. 18. The Romantic-era sonata made for a warm opening and set a great tone for the French contest piece that followed. Wilkinson continued with Gaubert’s Cantabile et Scherzetto, which showcased Wilkinson’s technical finesse. Thanking his mentor for guidance while navigating equipment for the previous pieces, Wilkinson explained that Hickman’s pedagogy is ever evolving. Canzonetta for Oboe and Piano, Op. 48, the last piece that Samuel Barber ever wrote, was a beautiful transcription performed on C trumpet. Wilkinson concluded the recital with two standards in the trumpet repertoire, Enesco’s Légende and Neruda’s Concerto in E-flat, ably highlighting multiple facets of his outstanding playing. (WK)
Student Meet and Greet
The 2017 ITG Student Meet and Greet was held Friday night in the Chocolate Ballroom. Over 160 students attended to meet new friends, eat free food, and get many prizes donated by our sponsors. Grant and Marcia Manhart and Fred Powell of Powell Trumpets were the sponsors. Roger Ingram, Past President Alan Siebert, President Brian Evans, and conference host JC Dobrzelewski dropped by to spend time with the students as well. Plans for the Student Meet and Greet in San Antonio are already in the making!
The sponsors included generous donations of musical gifts by:
A Minor Tune-Up
Art of Sound Music
Michael Thomas Music
Qpress Music Publshing
Reynolds Lip Renew and Lip Repair
Vincent Bach/Conn-Selmer Corporation