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 - Evening 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!
Washington Symphonic Brass Concert - Back in the USSR
The Washington Symphonic Brass, a professional brass ensemble led by trumpeter Phil Snedecor and dexterously conducted by trumpeter A. Scott Wood, consists of some of the finest brass musicians in the Washington, DC, metro area and beyond. The theme of Friday evening's program was "Back in the USSR" and was attended by a standing-room-only audience in the large Great American Red Ballroom. Serge Prokofiev's March, Op. 99, opened the concert in splendid fashion. This march featured virtuoso work from the trumpet section, particularly through the pinpoint precision of brilliant flourishes that Snedecor himself demonstrated. Anthony DiLorenzo's A Little Russian Circus is a cinematic suite that unfolds in four movements: "Tent of Terror," "Nikolai the Magnificent," "The Clown," and "Rings of Fire." The third movement of the work offered a surprise treat with trumpeter Kevin Gebo doubling on harmonica.
Snedecor's arrangement of Prokofiev's Suite from Romeo and Juliet is an extremely effective adaptation because of thunderous contributions of the percussion and low brass. The trumpets shined in this movement with virtuoso technique.
In place of an intermission, Snedecor took time to introduce each member of the ensemble and told some personal stories and whimsical anecdotes about his relationship with each player. The second half of the program began with Snedecor's brilliant arrangement of Borodin's Polovtsian Dances, a real highlight of the evening. This work featured all four trumpet players, which, in addition to Snedecor, included Matthew Harding from the US Marine Band, Joseph Burgstaller from the Peabody Conservatory, and Kevin Gebo from the US Army Band. Playing a wide variety of instruments and styles, the trumpet section showcased their extreme virtuosity, replete with everything the audience could ask for - exacting technique, sensitive lyricism, delicate pianissimos, and commanding fortissimos.
Prior to playing Snedecor's fantastic arrangement of Igor Stravinsky's Petrouchka ballet, Burgstaller asked for the house lights to be turned up, and he explained that rather having any of the four trumpet players on stage play the Ballerina’s Dance solo, he wished for the entire audience to sing the solo and "set the world record for most people singing the Ballerina's Dance from Petrouchka." While the Washington Symphonic Brass did a wonderful job with the piece, it is challenging to recreate the orchestral colors of this ballet with a brass ensemble, and some moments of this arrangement were greeted by friendly chuckles from the audience, likely the arranger's intended result.
The final piece on the program was Snedecor's arrangement of Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8, which was delivered in a most excellent and exciting fashion. While there were many brass-playing luminaries on stage for this concert, the most remarkable quality of the group was their ability to play with a singular, transcendent, diaphanous voice. Truly, Friday's concert showed that the Washington Symphonic Brass represents the very best in American brass playing. (JD)
170602-0001-60Washington Symphonic Brass Trumpet Section. (L-R): Joe Burgstaller, Matthew Harding, Kevin Gebo, Phil Snedecor 170602-0001-60In a humorous moment, principal hornist Jeff Nelsen looks up as Kevin Gebo performs a harmonica solo. 170602-0001-60Washington Symphonic Brass Trumpet Section. (L-R): Kevin Gebo, Joe Burgstaller, Matthew Harding, Phil Snedecor 170602-0001-60
Evening Jazz Concert: Thomas Gansch
Thomas Gansch and his quartet, consisting of piano, bass, and drums, transformed the large conference ball room into a jazz club with their artistry, energy, and infectious humor. Lee Morgan's Kozo's Waltz ending on a double C, and Gary Bartz’s Libra was a perfect vehicle for showing off Gansch's powerful sound and remarkable ability to play wide intervals from low to high. Stardust and the Star Spangled Banner - containing harmonic twists - were both performed on flugelhorn. Duke Ellington’s Caravan allowed Gansch to demonstrate his virtuosic technical skills, and he fluently and humorously added several trumpet quotes to his solos, including Clarke's second study, Trumpet Voluntary, and others. For the final tune of the concert, special guest Trent Austin joined the quartet on stage to perform Irving Berlin's There's No Business Like Show Business. Austin and Gansch brought the concert to a rousing ending, showcasing their technical skills and impressive range and not holding anything back. (AW)
170602-0001-63Thomas Gansch 170602-0001-63Thomas Gansch 170602-0001-63Thomas Gansch