One big upcoming trip for Black Bayou Brass is a recital and residency at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand (image of Bangkok at left linked from this Wikipedia article). We’ll be spending several days there this coming June, performing a recital and giving master classes at Mahidol, and performing at several local schools in Bangkok. I’ve mentioned this trip in passing in previous blog posts, but now that we’ve purchased our plane tickets and are finalizing our schedule, I thought it would be nice to make an “official” announcement on my blog. The College of Music at Mahidol is one of the largest in Southeast Asia, with world class facilities and an international faculty. This is truly a unique opportunity for our trio, and we are really looking forward to it! At this point you might be wondering how this trip came about, and what sorts of planning went (and continues to go) into it.
In short, we’ve spent the better part of a year planning this tour, working together with our own university and our gracious hosts at Mahidol. My colleagues and I became interested in international travel for a couple of reasons, namely greater exposure for our university and music program, and the possibilities for recruiting. The primary person we have to thank for extending the invitation and otherwise making our trip possible is Dr. Daren Robbins, Chair of the Brass and Percussion Division at Mahidol, as well as a fellow UW-Madison graduate and a very fine teacher and player. Daren is quickly building an international reputation as a performer and pedagogue, and I’m honored to have him as a friend and colleague. Once our initial invitation was approved, Daren began taking care of logistics on his end – securing housing, performing venues, setting master class schedules, etc. – and he has been doing a fabulous job. On our end, we have been busy securing funding for our roundtrip airfare to Bangkok – a sizeable expense. Mahidol University very generously agreed to provide housing during our stay, but it was our job to pay our way there. Paying for a trip like this – literally to the other side of the w0rld – was not easy given the current economic situation, but thankfully we were able to put together various sources of funding, including grants and additional funding from our university. We have not yet decided on our recital program, but there will be a good bit of music by American composers, including some jazz arrangements. If you or an ensemble you perform with is interested in international touring, be persistent and plan way ahead. Funding is available for these kinds of projects, but you may have to dig a little to find it.
As we get closer to the trip I’ll be posting some more updates, as well as several posts during our visit.