Semester Preview, Part 1: Brass Trio Performances and Guest Artists

free-happy-new-year-2015-clipartGreetings to my readers, and best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2015! Here is my customary semester overview, but this time I decided to break it into two portions. We have a lot of events going on this spring, with quite a few of them occurring in the first few weeks of the semester. Here goes.

Brass Trio Performances

Black Bayou Brass will be very active this spring, beginning with a recital program at the Big 12 Trombone Conference, hosted by James Decker at Texas Tech University. We performed at this conference in 2011 and had a wonderful time, and are looking forward to returning. Our program will consist primarily of original works for brass trio.

  • Flash, by Jérôme Naulais: A great piece which we’ve performed numerous times in recitals and on tour. We’ll be recording this work in May of this year (more on that in a future post).
  • Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56, BB 68, by Béla Bartók/arr. David Jolley: This is a fantastic arrangement of these brief piano pieces. They have been recorded by the NY Brass Arts Trio, on an album I reviewed here. They are fun and challenging. Special thanks to David Jolley for making this arrangement available to us!
  • The Brass Abacus, by William Schmidt: A wonderful piece, though seldom performed or recorded. Consisting of five sections which correspond to the letters A, B, A, C, and US, this extended work is full of interesting melodic and rhythmic devices. It is still available, I believe, from Western International Music, which William Schmidt founded. For more info on the composer and his music, check out this blog post by Anthony Plog.
  • Trio for Brass, by Gina Gillie: Completed in 2014, this charming new work was commissioned by the late Elliott Higgins and the New Mexico Brass Trio. Dr. Gillie is Associate Professor of Horn at Pacific Lutheran University, and was a classmate of mine at the University of Wisconsin. In addition to her active performing career on horn, she is also a gifted composer. This trio is very playable, yet encompasses a variety of styles and timbres. We are looking forward to performing it!

In addition to our conference recital, we will be also performing at high schools in Louisiana and Texas, as well as performing our own faculty recital at ULM and a guest recital at Ouachita Baptist University. The Big 12 repertoire will remain the core of our program, with the addition of a few other brief works to round things out.

Guest Artists

The brass area is also excited  to host several fantastic guest artists this spring. The following is a modified version of a press release I recently wrote to publicize these events, hence the slightly more formal language.

Grammy award-winning trumpet artist Dr. Christopher Moore and ULM trumpet professor Dr. Aaron Witek will give a joint recital on January 13th at 7:30 p.m. in the Emy-Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall. Musical selections will include works for two trumpets by Vivialdi, Morales, Pascual-Vilaplana, and works for solo trumpet by Basler, Clarke, Enesco, Peaslee. In addition, Dr. Moore will teach lessons to ULM trumpet students and present a master class while he is in residence.

Faculty members in the Division of Music at Ouachita Baptist University will present a concert of solo and ensemble works for brass on January 26th at 7:30 p.m. in the Emy-Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall. Ensemble members include Dr. Craig V. Hamilton, trumpet; Dr. Heather Thayer, horn; and Dr. Justin Isenhour, trombone (we were undergraduate classmates at Appalachian State University). The group will give a master class for music students on January 27th at 11:00 a.m.

Dr. Nicholas Kenney, Assistant Professor of Horn and Assistant Director of Bands at Southeast Missouri State University, will perform a recital on March 17th at 11:00 a.m. in the Emy-Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall. A frequent soloist and guest clinician, Dr. Kenney was named a finalist in the 2009 International Horn Competition of America. His program will feature the music of Antonio Vivaldi, Paul Basler, Eugene Bozza, and Bernhard Krol. ULM faculty members Dr. Richard Seiler and Dr. James Boldin will also perform on the concert. Dr. Kenney will present a master class on March 16th at 3:30 p.m.

Coming up in Semester Preview, Part 2: Orchestral performances, horn conferences, work on my book project, and more reviews.

Big 12 Trombone Conference

Our brass trio recently returned from a trip to Lubbock, TX where we performed at the annual Big 12 Area Universities Trombone Conference.  In addition to our performance at the conference, we also spent a day performing for high school students in Mesquite, TX, which is near Dallas.  Although we were only gone for a few days, we managed to fit quite a bit of performing (and driving!) into a small amount of time.  We departed on Thursday afternoon after a brief rehearsal – in fact this was the first time our group had rehearsed since the holidays.  Since things were in good shape when we left them in December, and because we had all continued to practice our parts over the break, we found that the program was generally still in good shape.  We spent Thursday night in Dallas, which is about 4.5 hours from Monroe.  On Friday morning we performed an abbreviated version of our conference program for two large high schools (4A and 5A) in Mesquite – John Horn High School and West Mesquite High School.  See the picture below for a view of us performing on the West Mesquite H.S. stage, complete with scenery from their upcoming production of Man of La Mancha. These schools have very fine band programs, and it was a pleasure to perform for them.  After grabbing a quick bite, we departed Mesquite for Lubbock, about 5.5 hours away.  We arrived in Lubbock a little after 7:00pm, and after dinner called it a night!  Saturday we spent mostly resting at the hotel and at the conference on the Texas Tech campus.  This was the first trombone conference I’ve attended, and I was very impressed with the quality of the performers as well as the overall organization of the event.  Jim Decker, Assistant Professor of Trombone at Texas Tech, deserves congratulations and a big thank you for putting on a very successful event.  Our brass trio was scheduled to perform last on the program that evening, so we had plenty of time to warm-up, relax, and otherwise mentally prepare for the concert.  The concert featured both soloists and chamber ensembles, and was approximately 2.5 hours long (!)  We ended up deleting one piece from the program (Nelhybel)  in order to save some time, but the concert still finished around 10:00pm. The performance went well, and although the audience had somewhat diminished by the end of the concert, those who were there seemed to enjoy our program.  Now comes the fun part – we departed Lubbock that night, arriving in Fort Worth around 3:30am on Sunday morning.  We caught a few hours of sleep, then made the return trip from Fort Worth to Monroe on Sunday.  All in all, it was a successful trip, but I’m glad to be back home and into a more regular routine of teaching and practicing.

%d bloggers like this: