Writing these semester previews is always a lot of fun, because it allows me to see at a glance the various activities going on over the course of several months. As the semester progresses and schedules get busier, it can be difficult to step back and see the big picture. As always, we have some great things happening musically in our region, and if you live nearby I invite you to come check them out. Ok, here goes!
- Guest Artists Galore: The brass area will be hosting some wonderful guest artists this semester. To kick things off, Daniel Brady, bass trombonist with “The President’s Own” Marine Band, will give a master class and recital on January 27th. He will be joined on the recital by ULM low brass professor Dr. James Layfield. Shortly after that, Dr. Brent Shires, Assistant Professor of Horn at the University of Central Arkansas and Third Horn in the Arkansas Symphony, will perform a recital on February 5th. Later that month, the Sotto Voce Tuba Quartet will perform and give a master class on February 10th. If you haven’t heard this group before you need to listen to them! This ensemble is one of the finest brass chamber groups out there. During their visit we will also have an all-day brass instrument and sheet music exhibit presented by Music & Arts. In April, renowned trumpet pedagogue Gordon Mathie will present a series of lectures and master classes for all brass players.
- Black Bayou Brass Performances: Our faculty brass trio will be giving several run-out concerts at area schools, as well as presenting our annual faculty recital on February 19th (more on the repertoire in a future post). We are also participating in a new music concert featuring brand new compositions for brass trio. This concert is being sponsored by the Mid-South Chapter of NACUSA – the National Association of Composers, USA. Although we haven’t seen any of the scores yet, we’re already looking forward to premiering these new pieces. To cap off the semester and academic year, we will be performing a program of music by women composers at the 2014 International Women’s Brass Conference, hosted by Dr. Raquel Rodriquez at Northern Kentucky University. This year’s IWBC has an impressive roster of guest artists, including Elizabeth Freimuth, Principal Horn of the Cincinnati Symphony.
- Orchestral Concerts: Lots of great repertoire happening with the Monroe Symphony Orchestra, Rapides Symphony Orchestra, and Shreveport Symphony Orchestra. Highlights include Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes and A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, and several excerpts from Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust.
- NELA Horn Ensemble: The Northeast Louisiana Horn Ensemble will begin rehearsals at the end of January. Now in its seventh season, this group has really taken off in terms of membership. We had 20+ horn players in the ensemble last year, and I anticipate a similar number this year. I’ve always wanted to tackle one of the London Horn Sound arrangements with this group, and this season we’ll be preparing Richard Bissell’s arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.
- Horn Quartet Performances: After taking last year off, I’ll be performing two concerts in March with Les Cors de la Louisiane, a quartet made up of players from the Shreveport Symphony. A highlight of these performances will be Stravinsky’s Four Russian Peasant Songs for Women’s Chorus and Horn Quartet, and Robert Schumann’s Jagdlieder, Op. 137 for Men’s Chorus and Horn Quartet. We’ll be collaborating with the Centenary College Camerata for these works.
- Focus on Transposition: This semester, transposition will be a special project for all of my horn students. Each week we’ll be looking at a different key, beginning with E-flat and going all the way to F-sharp by the end of the term. If you’d like to join in, the work we’ll be transposing is Etude No. 1 from Lyrical Studies for Trumpet or Horn, by Giuseppe Concone, transcribed by John F. Sawyer, Switzerland: Editions Bim, 1972/1999. The rules are very simple: 1) Strive for 100% accuracy, and 2)You can’t write in note names, but you may write in up to TWO fingering reminders per line of music. Here’s the schedule of transpositions.
- Friday Reviews: Over the past several months I’ve accumulated some great new books and CDs, and I’ll be reviewing them on a more or less weekly basis. I really enjoy writing reviews, and I’m looking forward to getting back to it. Some of the new publications I’ll be writing about include Blow Your OWN Horn by Fergus McWilliam, I Like to Practice Scales by Ricardo Matosinhos, Intermediate Studies for Developing Artists on the Horn by Howard Hilliard, and two new E-book editions by John Ericson, Introducing the Horn and A Mello Catechism. On the recording side I’ll be reviewing J. Bernardo Silva’s unaccompanied CD, Solo, a new Christmas CD by the I-49 Brass Quintet (players from the Shreveport Symphony), and a fantastic new brass trio recording by the New York Brass Arts Trio.
Combined with the normal schedule of lessons, classes, meetings, etc., this should make for an exciting and varied semester!