2023 ITG Conference Report - Day 2 - Wednesday, May 31

June 01, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

The 47th Annual International Trumpet Guild Conference - Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA)
Special Daily Report • Compiled by Peter Wood
Photos by Steven Garcia, Benjamin Lowe, Josh Rzepka, and Michael Anderson

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

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David Collins warm-up session - Physical and Mental Warmup for Positive Performance
This morning’s session with David Collins examined the preparation players can take within the first thirty minutes of their session to facilitate ease of playing. Participants were led through a series of stretches and breathing, leadpipe, and articulation exercises. Collins focused on connecting these exercises to the physical act of playing with the aim of creating one’s easiest tone. (Nathalie Crissela Mejia)


Alongkorn Laosaichuea warm-up session - Get Ready!
Alongkorn Laosaichuea, trumpet professor at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, led a few dozen attendees in a morning warm-up session. His solid routine, almost instantly memorizable, was great because of its basic approach. Laosaichuea led the group through long tones, lip flexibilities, single-tongue articulations, and most of Herbert L. Clarke’s second study in a call-and-response format that helped everyone model his sound production. Most of his exercises started very simple but gradually developed additional complexities and expanded in range. Laosaichuea mentioned that he was writing a new book and that these wonderful exercises would be included in this first published method for trumpet written in the Thai language. One attendee commented that he felt he was ready to play the Bach Brandenburg Concerto after the warmup! (Stanley Curtis)


Evan Taylor session - Patient Practice
Evan Taylor presented a simple, yet effective, masterclass. Beginning with a spectacular performance of Miles Davis’s Donna Lee, featuring Sam Butler, Evan had five volunteers come forward to play an exercise involving playing the circle of fourths in half notes. The presentation continued with the direct connection vs. diminished connection conflict with which players often struggle. The direct connection is created by slow deliberate practice, while the diminished connection is created by taking things too quickly and reinforcing mistakes. Finally, Taylor showed his four-step process to practice. Slow down before starting to practice to prepare the brain, check your equipment and ensure its functionality, execute your practice, and always rest as much as you play. Evan ended his exceptional masterclass with three ideas to guide practice sessions–figure out your tendencies, confront your deficiencies one at a time, and replace the word “difficult” with “unfamiliar.” (Kyle McLean)


Cynda Fleming session - Kickstart Your Routine with Tech! 
Opening with a spirited performance by the Brighton High School Trumpet Ensemble, Cynda Fleming’s presentation focused on incorporating technology into a player’s daily warm-up routine, helping make the warmup more interesting, engaging, and “meditative.” Fleming demonstrated how she uses iPad and tablet apps by involving the group in some flow and articulation exercises based on the works of Vincent Cichowicz and Tony Plog. Some of the apps included were drones like the Cello Drone app, the iTablaPro app (which is traditionally used for practicing Indian tabla and tanpura music), drum machine apps (Groovebox, Launchpad, Drumjam, and Drumbeats+), and the Amazing Slow Downer. (Flint Angeroth Franks)


Non-Pro/Comeback Players Session - Robert Sears - Vibrato Usage
Robert Sears delivered an enthusiastic and engaging presentation on the utilization of “shimmer.” He discussed the distinctions between commercial, jazz, and symphonic styles, and categorized vibrato into three types: hand, jaw, and breath. The reasons for employing different types of vibrato included drawing attention to the musical line, creating a soaring effect, or using it as an ornamentation. Sears encouraged the audience to listen critically to the variations in speed, width, and intensity used by notable artists including, but not limited to, Louis Armstrong, Alison Balsom, Mark Bennett, Roy Eldridge, Laurie Frink, Roy Hargrove, Tine Thing Helseth, Adolph “Bud” Herseth, Matthias Höfs, Freddie Hubbard, Mark Inouye, Wynton Marsalis, Chris Martin, Ronald Romm, Phil Smith, and Snooky Young. (Joe Cooper)


Megan Bailey session - Hearing Aids for Musicians: A Guide to the Process
Dr. Megan Bailey gave an extensive presentation on all topics related to auditory health and deterioration. Bailey highlighted the concerns and potential risks for trumpet players when performing in large ensembles or small spaces where sound output can sometimes reach unsafe decibel levels. After detailing the basic ear anatomy, the discussion turned to common hearing injuries and causes. Bailey addressed preventive measures, recommending different styles and brands of ear plugs to help musicians maximize protection while still offering the ability to hear across an ensemble. Bailey detailed different styles of hearing aids, as well as the process of working with an audiologist to get the best product for your performance needs. Bailey’s candid telling of her own experiences using hearing aids helped attendees understand the complex needs to consider as a musician and offered helpful advice for those needing hearing assistance. (Eric Millard) 230531-0001230531-0001

New Works Recital I
The first of three New Works Recitals opened with Sam Gustavson performing Chris Evan Hass’s Sonata for Tomorrow with collaborative pianist Miriam Hickman. Light, upper-tessitura playing with commercial-sounding harmonies in the piano set the tone of the opening work. Playful ideas with muted trumpet and syncopated piano, interspersed with more lyrical sections in a half-time feel, highlighted Gustavson’s inspired performance, as well as a brilliant closing with piccolo trumpet.

James Stephenson’s Variations on a Theme by Haydn was composed over a decade ago; however, this was a welcome addition to the New Works Recital as trumpet soloists continue to gain appreciation for Stephenson’s growing catalog of music for trumpet. There could be no better theme for this than the second movement from Haydn’s famous concerto. The theme and six increasingly complex cornet-style variations were beautifully rendered by soloist Josh Ganger and pianist Hickman.

Jess Turner’s Mocking Midnight opened with quick, effective mood changes. Various colors and textures, including Harmon mute with and without stem–at times with flutter tongue and swift dynamic changes–highlight the work. Will Koehler, with pianist Hickman, presented a particularly convincing and well-blended performance of this extensive, intense, and demanding work.

Kevin Day’s Enigma brought a fine change of color with Jen Oliverio playing cornet and flugelhorn and Hickman once again accompanying. A fast-driving section with virtuosic excursions flawlessly sounded by Oliverio and contrasting lyrical diversions made for a dramatic performance. Trumpeters seeking great new music and more diverse and inclusive repertoire should rush to seek out this work by the award-winning composer.

Brazilian music has been taking a stronger foothold within the trumpet repertoire, and this new work performed by Nailson Simões, one of Brazil’s leading proponents of music for trumpet and brass, was a welcome addition to the recital. The Four Last Seasons by Gilson Santos provided a melancholy departure from the previous music with Simões using an abundance of soaring portamentos, a singing sound, and a bel canto vibrato to convey vivid emotions with pianist Hickman. Due to time constraints, only two of the four movements were performed–Verão (Summer) and Outono (Autumn).

Concluding the recital was Kevin McKee’s Fantango, performed by James Johnson on trumpet, Kiirsi Manula-Johnson on horn, and Amanda Arrington on piano. As one might expect, a Latin flair was immediately present from the onset. The title originates from the words “fantasia” and, of course, “tango” and can be performed with trumpet and flugelhorn if preferred. Commissioned by the trumpet and horn duo and performed superbly, this was a perfect conclusion to an outstanding New Works Recital. (Luis Engelke)


Brian Evans lecture recital - The trumpet is(as) a voice…the voice is(as) an instrument 

Introduced by the Glendale Community College Trumpet Ensemble, Brian Evans led a captivating lecture recital that was focused on using the human voice as inspiration for trumpet playing. Performing two world premieres (Gregory Pascuzzi’s In Flanders Fields and Robert J. Bradshaw’s Dive for Dreams) and a USA premier (Alan Holley’s Sorrel), Evans beautifully captured the inflections and nuance of the voice and of spoken text through his performance with pianist Rebecca Wilt. The performance also included some alternation of vocalizing and trumpet playing by Evans in both Dive for Dreams and In Flanders Fields. Between pieces, Evans discussed his inspirations and talked about which chakras host the voice and breath. He also explained how playing in the Australian Opera helped him use the voice as a model for his trumpet playing. The lecture additionally covered how Evans relates these concepts to articulation, phrasing, and airflow. (Flint Angeroth Franks)


Elijah Denecke lecture recital - Reexamining the Repertoire: French Women Composers of Solo Trumpet Music at the Paris Conservatory
Dr. Elijah Denecke presented a phenomenal lecture recital in which he discussed such composers as Yvonne Desportes (1907-1993), Jeanine Rueff (1922-1999), Claude Arrieu (1903 - 1990), and Betsy Jolas (b.1969). Denecke asked the audience, “Why do we play the music we do, and how can we update the trumpet repertoire?” Denecke encourages diversity in programming and aims to further deconstruct stereotypes in the brass world. The pieces performed encompass the morceaux de concours (contest pieces) written by women for trumpet and cornet at the Paris Conservatory during the twentieth century, as they were not performed as much as those by their male colleagues. He discussed how and why certain works have been excluded from the standard solo repertoire. Denecke provided a reference of pieces, played for juries, recitals, bands, and symphony orchestras, composed by women within the Paris Conservatory. Denecke’s playing embodies artistry and enjoyment, truly captivating the audience with his finesse in both sound and technique. (Angela King)


Micah Killion session - Making the Undoable Doable: The Core of Expert Music Practice
Micah Killion has spent much of his research studying how expert musicians transform habits through high-quality practice, and he explained his findings in an informative session. Killion reminded the audience that improving performance requires refining movement triggered by motor commands. Three words–intent, prediction, and feedback–were dominant throughout Killion’s presentation. Intent is the first necessity in expert practice. When an expert begins a practice session, they know how they want the music to sound in detail. The musician then predicts what action leads to the desired results. Once the action is completed, they assess whether the feedback was a match or mismatch to the prediction. According to Killion, mismatches are more valuable in expert practice as improvement is dependent on reducing discrepancy between prediction and feedback. As a result, experts can predict the outcomes of an action with greater accuracy. (Christopher Luebke-Brown)

R. Dale Olson session - The Mythical Trumpet Mouthpiece
This session explored the history of the mouthpiece and the misconceptions about mouthpiece design. Olson called this “the most discussed, but least understood, element of brass performance.” Although he retired in 1990, Olson has been studying mouthpiece design since he was sixteen. He discussed mouthpiece designs dating back to 1500 BC, with information on measurements and sizes. Olson announced his plans to publish two new books in the future, the first entitled Chronology of Innovation: Trumpet Patents, in which Olson reviews past trumpet patents that now total over 1,000. The second book, A Longitudinal, Quantitative Assessment of Brass Musical Instrument Mouthpieces provides quantitative data on trumpet mouthpieces and their uses. This session provided invaluable insight on lesser-known information about mouthpieces and trumpet history. (Madison Barton)


James Olcott - Trumpet Ensemble Reading Session for All
A recurring favorite of ITG Conferences has been the trumpet ensemble reading session led by James Olcott, arranger and publisher of trumpet ensemble music (found on his Triplo Press website). This year was no different with an amazing hour-long reading session. Some of the highlights included an unpublished arrangement of Richard Strauss’s Vienna Fanfare for sixteen trumpets. The 35 trumpeters in attendance read through an Amadeus publication of the Charamela Real No. 54, one of the many anonymous Portuguese trumpet fanfares from the eighteenth century. Olcott’s arrangement of JS Bach’s “Ehre sei dir, Gott” (Triplo Press), the opening chorus of part five of the Christmas Oratorio, was a challenging musical treat for everyone. The favorite piece of many participants was the unpublished arrangement (by Olcott) of Wesley Nance’s A Brief Adventure for 23 trumpets. Nance’s original work had motor rhythmic sections contrasting with a slow section and was reminiscent, perhaps, of some of Danny Elfman’s movie scores. Next, the group played a difficult unpublished arrangement of Wagner’s Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral for twelve trumpets. Malcolm Arnold’s amazing A Hoffnung Fanfare (Triplo Press), is available for 12 or the original 36 trumpets, and the reading group played nearly every part of the 36-part version. The session ended with Carmen Dragon’s arrangement of America the Beautiful, rearranged by James Olcott and available on Triplo Press. This popular staple of patriotic music is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. (Stanley Curtis)


Armida Rivera-Reyes session - Hompak: The Mayan Trumpet - Rediscovering the Trumpet from the Land of the Jaguar
This session, led by Dr. Armida Rivera-Reyes, opened with a lively performance by the William Carey University trumpet ensemble, featuring works by Cameron, Ost, and Stephenson. Rivera-Reyes presented her research surrounding the “Hompak,” or trumpet used by the Mesoamerican Mayan civilization. Though many instruments were destroyed by Spanish conquistadors during their invasion, Rivera-Reyes brought to light information passed down through generations of indigenous peoples. The presentation covered topics such as its use in rituals and festivals and delved into the process of making the instrument out of carefully selected parts of the agave plant. Rivera-Reyes is continuing her research with the crafting of many Hompaks to explore the sound of the ancient trumpet ensemble that Mayans would have heard in their time. (Nathalie Crissela Mejia)

Research Room - Paper Presentations
This year’s ITG Research Room featured four presentations that explored deeper insights into how we use new and existing repertoire. Julia Bell analyzed eight solo trumpet pieces composed by women, arguing their importance in the collegiate trumpet curriculum. Flint Angeroth Franks addressed discrepancies in difficulty evaluation systems in music and developed the Difficulty Assessment Rubric for Trumpet Solos (DARTS). This tool rates 14 technical aspects of a piece, aiding educators and performers in selection and assessment. Brian Reichenbach found a connection between the etudes of nineteenth-century violinist Heinrich Kayser and cornetist Herbert L. Clarke. The comparison between the etudes provided insights into the adaptations made by Clarke to enhance cornet technique and develop musicality. To conclude the session, Spencer Brand presented his research on Czech trumpet music from the Communist era, aiming to broaden the awareness of Czech solo trumpet pieces from this period. (Andrew Smith)


Nitiphum Bamrungbanthum Recital: Awaken The Giant Dream 
The Peabody Graduate Trumpet Ensemble, under the direction of Dillon Parker, provided a lively and spirited performance of José Ursicino da Silva’s popular four-movement Fantasia Brasileira as the prelude to this afternoon’s recital by Nitiphum Bamrungbanthum. His program included four works accompanied by outstanding collaborative pianist Maria Rutkowska. Opening with Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, Bamrungbanthum’s lyricism and evenness of sound throughout all registers was immediately evident–qualities that must have captured the attention of the audition committee that selected him as principal trumpet of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in 2021. A flowing second movement with a feeling of two and perhaps brisker than many performances was a genuine highlight. Alexander Arutiunian’s Trumpet Concerto served as the perfect vehicle for Bamrungbanthum to display his diversity in providing musical interest through a completely different style and nuance–specifically far more dramatic phrasing, rubato, and vibrato. James M. Stephenson’s Concerto No. 1 and Reflections served to further showcase Bamrungbanthum’s dazzling musicianship and technique. Hearing such excellent performances from players around the world must have been a highlight for many in attendance. This was a wonderful recital that was immediately acknowledged with an enthusiastic standing ovation. (Luis Engelke)

Meet and Greet - Non-Pro Player Meet & Greet Gathering
The Non-Pro Player reception at Brit’s Pub was an opportunity to reunite with old friends and make new ones. Led by Dan Hallock, the meeting included a summary of the 2023 Conference’s Non-Pro Player events and plenty of time for mingling. Dozens of members of the non-pro player community socialized with each other and with several representatives from the ITG board of directors, as well as ITG President Jason Bergman. The group was also joined by two past ITG presidents and several of this year’s Non-Pro event guest artists, including Robert Sears and Chris Moore. Attendees included not only local trumpeters, but also those who traveled from all over the globe. (Julia Bell)


Meet and Greet - Pre-Professional Social
This reception was the first meeting for the newly established group Students and Pre-Professionals of ITG. With over 150 members in attendance, they enjoyed games, prizes, and a Q&A session with Matilda Lloyd. Additionally, each semi-final competitor was recognized and awarded a certificate. This event gave pre-professional members a chance to connect and communicate with members of the board and with each other. Members were placed randomly at each table and were encouraged to come up with one question to ask Matilda in the Q&A. With over $3,000 in sponsored prizes, attendees participated in a raffle and competed for prizes with trumpet trivia. Food for the event was sponsored by Dr. Grant Manhart and Jesse and Mindy Craig. (Madison Barton)


Evening Concert - Etienne Charles: Creole Soul
The prelude ensemble for this highly anticipated concert was the Gallatin Trumpet Ensemble from Montana State University. They demonstrated sonorous ensemble playing, beautiful solo moments, and lots of energy across their three pieces.

Christopher Moore’s performance of the 2021 ITG Commission from the Native American composer R. Carlos Nakai. This work, which traces a personal history and connection between disparate cultures, is a blend of lyrical, live solo trumpet with recorded Native American instruments. The composer himself, a former trumpet player, has eleven Grammy nominations for his recordings of Native American flute. The fluid interplay between trumpet and the recorded media was powerful to experience.

Etienne Charles with his band, Creole Soul (Louis Godwin, Axel Laugart, Harvel Nakundi, Brandon Rose, and Alex Wintz), then took to the stage, demonstrating supreme artistry from the outset. The opening number was one of Charles’s own compositions, Dame Lorraine. The building energy of this Latin-flavored hard-bop fusion set the stage for a high-energy set. It was quickly followed by a beautiful version of the Lionel Belasco classic Juliana, an Antillean waltz with playful and joyous piccolo trumpet playing.
From the Charles’s recent album Carnaval came two movements from his Black Echo Suite, “Bamboo” and “Iron.” The suite takes the listener on a journey through the evolution of percussion on his home island of Trinidad. Linking the powerful images and sound from the videos on screen to the live and often powerfully frenetic energy of the band was emotive and effective, conveying a deep love and respect for the music of his heritage.

Dans Mon Ile brought a calmness to the room with truly incredible lyrical and flowing music making. This is a Bossa tune by Henri Salvador, often credited as being the biggest influence on Antonio Carlos Jobim’s becoming a Bossa composer.
The energy then shifted back up a gear with another track from the Carnaval album, Jab Molassie, representing an old ritual including paint, fire, rhythm, singing, and improvisation. This powerful tune combines the spectacular video images on screen (and accompanying screaming), with immense power from Etienne and Creole Soul.

Santimanite is an old favorite of the band from their Folklore album, bringing a magical reverence to the room for its opening trumpet soliloquy. Incredible solos across the band (with a roof-lifting piano solo), combined with driving calypso rhythms, brought the audience to its feet to acknowledge these spectacular artists.
It was also wonderful to hear Etienne give warm acknowledgement to his former teachers in the audience and to the ITG for the influence that his first conference in Fort Worth in 2003 had on him. (John Hutchinson)


Concert - Nadje Noordhuis and John Raymond
The 188th Army National Guard Trumpet Ensemble delivered a fantastic opening concert, showcasing their talent and versatility. They performed a brilliant fanfare, a delicate antiphonal choir piece, and an exciting composition that featured quotes from several renowned composers. The group’s outstanding balance and command of various styles was captivating and well received by all.

Nadje Noordhuis opened the main concert with her original composition, Full Circle. From her very first note, her beautiful and full sound immediately filled the hall. She played a fantastic solo that contained very expressive and vocal lines, showcasing a full command of the instrument. Her next tune was the tango The Little Town of Le Hameau Omi. Again, her lush tone was on display, along with impeccable phrasing and smooth, silky lines. For her third tune, Entwine, she switched to flugelhorn, on which her delicate and sensitive approach was greatly appreciated by the audience. Of particular note was the quality of her low register. Everything was played with intention and a singing quality. To close her set, she performed Northern Star, featuring looped trumpet, which added a gorgeous, ambient quality to the ensemble.

John Raymond started his set with an original composition of his own, Driftless, displaying a burnished and full sound. Also utilizing the entire range of his instrument, his lines throughout the solo were expressive and soulful. The next tune he chose was a cover of the Bon Iver tune Minnesota, WI, which employed amplified trumpet. A highlight of this tune was Raymond’s fluid, agile lines combined with harmonic sophistication. His third tune, Transient, came from his soon-to-be-released album, Shadowlands. Raymond switched to flugelhorn for this composition, revealing a more haunting, brooding sound that provided a beautiful color change for the audience. Throughout the tune, he began to loop different lines that created an incredible sonic experience. He closed his portion of the program with an original composition entitled North. Mike Frank opened the tune with a great piano solo, and then Raymond soared with impassioned lines, playing with a fiery, bold sound. The rhythm section responded beautifully to his motivic development throughout the entire set.

To close, Noordhuis and Raymond joined forces on Kenny Wheeler’s Kindfolk. Both playing flugelhorn, their sounds melded beautifully together while still retaining their distinct, original voices. Each played fantastic solos and had some exciting moments while trading bars in the final chorus. Special thanks to the Conference Jazz Trio–Mike Frank, Peter Paulsen, and Christopher Hanning–for their impeccable playing throughout the night. (George Carpten IV)

Open Jam Session - Oscar Passley
Oscar Passley grabbed his flugelhorn as he welcomed attendees to the late-evening jam. Kicking off the session with Recorda Me, Passley and companions established an enjoyable and inclusive ambiance. The relaxed and electric atmosphere motivated several attendees to join them on stage for A Night in Tunisia, followed by Solar, and concluding with F Blues. The participants found themselves in excellent company with Mike Frank on the piano, Peter Paulsen on the bass, and Christopher Hanning on the drums, all performing with elegance and attentiveness to each soloist, thus creating the perfect setting to unwind at the conclusion of day two. (Joe Cooper)

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