Clark Media Productions

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Filtering by Tag: ATW

ATW Events

Hi Everyone, Well, Jim Nova just tore out of here in his M3 on his way back to Pittsburgh... what a great week!  I have been attending the ATW (formerly Eastern Trombone Workshop) most years since 1993, and I can say it just keeps getting better.  The folks at Pershing's Own, U.S. Army Band just do a fantastic job of putting the week together.  For those of you that don't know, the workshop is run by the trombonists in the Army Band, and they all do it on a voluntary basis.  It is clear what pride they, and the entire Band, take in putting on this fantastic event.  If you are so inclined, WRITE to the commander of the Army Band, Col. Timothy Holton, and let them know how much you enjoyed the week!  Chris Branagan and Sam Woodhead and their crew did a superb job once again!

Here's a few more things I heard that I really enjoyed:

Tim Higgins and Steve Menard performing an arrangement of Brahms Four Serious Songs on one of the noon recitals.  Sophia Kim Cook played piano for them, and she is fantastic!  Tim and Steve sound like they were trombone-cloned at birth, or at least studied with the same well-known Australian in Chicago.  Really beautiful playing, and the guys even looked like they were having fun, despite the "serious" nature on the music.

Tim Higgins, recital.  Tim sounds so beautiful, and he's one of those players that when you hear him, you just want to hear more.  Notably, Tim played a piece he composed, Three Selections from Poesis, which was a really interesting combination of solo trombone (2 movements) and writing for trombone section (1 movement).  He was beautifully assisted by Steve Menard, Chris Davis on bass trombone, and Seth Cook on tuba.  Following his own work, Tim premiered Radiant Spheres by David Biedenbender.  The composer related to the audience an interaction he had on a flight with a woman who was dying of cancer, and spoke of her realization that time was moving both quick and slow... The piece reflected that and was very touching.  Really beautiful playing, and friendly guy too.  Go get his solo CD, HERE...

Jim Nova gave a very cool presentation on his whole overdub process.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, visit here and here... With the proliferation of software that facilitates overdubbing and "looping", it's easy to lose sight of the time, artistry, and sheer musical ability that goes in to creating Jim's recordings.  Jim has performed with the Boston Pops for going on 19 years, and John Williams knows Jim and his playing very well.  Jim's passion for this music is totally evident in his performance, but also in the way he is willing to share his creative process for making his recordings.  During his class, he took the audience (that were connected using multiple headphone amplifiers, hubs, and provided earbuds) through the process of recording one of his arrangements.  He demonstrated by live recording on bass, tenor, and alto trombone, then he had two trombonists join him on stage to work on standard orchestral excerpts using some of the same recording techniques.  It was a great way to bridge the learning gap and relate what you hear on a recording to what you might do in your own practice.  Jim's grasp of current technology, and more importantly how to use that to your advantage to foster true improvement was very inspiring.  Jim has some exciting ideas in the works for his recordings... stay tuned!

Another highlight this year was the playing of both Angel Subero (bass trombone) and Wesley Hopper (tenor trombone).  Both players are members of Triton Brass, and they demonstrated amazing flexibility performing different styles.  Angel has such a fat bass trombone sound, and plays with such style and energy, I really enjoyed everything I heard him play.  Wes has such a beautiful, clear sound, and he was a joy to hear.  I really liked his mohawk, too.  Triton Brass' performance of the Anthony Plog Concerto 2010 was very well done, and the piece was interesting and as another attended said, very "Plog-ish"!  Valor Brass will be giving that piece a serious look in the coming months!

Another great highlight this year was the playing of Brian Hecht.  Brian is currently bass trombonist of the Atlanta Symphony.  Brian played in the US Navy Band in Washington, DC, for a hitch, and I am sorry to say I never ran into him when he was in DC, and the Sail Loft where the Navy Band works is literally about 200 yards from the Marine Band's facility.  Yikes.  Well, I'm happy to say I got to hear him this year.  He played a bit on one of the noon guest recitals, and then again in a master class on friday and Saturday night with Col. Holton and the Army Band.  He sounds fantastic!  Great guy, and beautiful player.

Well, that's it for now.  It was a great week and I hope that if you didn't make it this year that you will consider it for next year.  I heard a rumor that next year's workshop will occur a week earlier in the calendar, so think about your plans now!

Your Virtually,


American Trombone Workshop, Friday report

Hey everyone,  I got to spend quite a bit of time at the ATW this week at Ft. Myer, Virginia.  What a great event!  As always, Chris Branagan, Sam Woodhead, and the entire US Army Band does a fantastic job of putting on a world-class workshop.  I have a number of things I want to write about, but I'm going to start with some events and exhibitors from today that made a great impression on me... First off, exhibitors...

Sterling Music Editions - Sterling is run by US Navy Band (and former Kalmus Music employee) trombonist David Miller.  Now, normally most people wouldn't get all that excited about a music publisher, but man, I can tell you David has some amazing things!  I have a pet peeve, and that is poorly produced (and highly priced!) sheet music.  I hate it when I spend a significant amount on a new piece only to find it is printed on low quality paper, with poor page turns, and (gasp!) white glossy paper to boot (too much glare).  Everything David publishes is absolutely beautiful.  Nice paper, which I admit to having a fetish for... I got that from my friend and former roommate Jack Sutte, who loved to walk in to Patelson's Music in New York and just smell all the old French paper...... yeah, I know, weird, but strangely compelling as well, and I guess it rubbed off on me!   Anyway, David's works are produced as printed music should be, for the performer, and quite inspiring to look at.  In addition to his own arrangements, he publishes works by his Navy Band colleague Andrew Skaggs.  Andy is a beautiful trombone player, and I had the fortune to play next to him on a few pieces on the Washington Trombone Ensemble concert at the workshop on Wednesday night.  David just published a new edition of Adolphe Danhauser's solfege book, in alto clef.  For anyone who has endured sight singing from the Danhauser book, this if a fabulous walk down memory lane, and it is a challenging and enjoyable addition to the alto trombone repertoire.

Dillon Music - always a treat.  The folks at Dillon provide fantastic customer service, and this visit was no exception.   Jose helped me out trying out some Greg Black mouthpieces, and was a pleasure to chat with.  They have just about anything you would ever need as a trombonist!

Giddings and Webster - Ivan Giddings is a no nonsense guy that makes some of the most awesome mouthpieces on the planet.  Stainless Steel, baby! Ivan has a large selection of sizes available, and they play wonderfully.  I bent Ivan's ear while I worked on finding something that works for me, and he was very helpful.  Go check it out, or better yet just order a Euros or Boreas and be done with it!  Seriously, Ivan has a large number of sizes and signature mouthpieces available, and he has something to work for YOU!

Soulo Mute - Soulo makes both Cup and Bucket mutes.  Man, I have NEVER played a bucket mute that sounds this good.  Absolutely beautiful.  The bucket has a couple of different positions it can be placed and the sound is just so... BUCKET... and mellow... and dark... and just, man, it just makes me want to play something (anything!) with a bucket mute.  I might even play Tuba Mirum with this thing I like it so much!  The cup mute is very nice... adjustable cup, and it gets a very "old school" cup mute sound.  Gorgeous.

Tonight's Concert

Wow, what a trio of soloists!

Dr. Benjamin McIlwain performed Polina Nazaykinskaya's Concerto for Trombone ; Pittsburgh Symphony trombonist James Nova performed Norman Bolter's "Of Mountains, Lakes, and Trees" with the composer conducting; and Vanessa Fralick, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, performed Henri Tomasi's Concerto for Trombone.

The soloists all performed beautifully.  These were three very difficult pieces.  The Nazaykinskaya started out deceptively tame, but beautiful, and got progressively harder and more interesting as the piece went on... As someone sitting near me said at the end, "my face hurts!".  Very challenging and interesting - Dr. Mcilwain gave the piece its due diligence and performed beautifully.  The Bolter piece was a tour de force for James Nova.  Playing alto, tenor, and bass trombone, Jim demonstrated not just what it means to be a "utility" player in a major symphony (Pittsburgh), but what it means to be a true musician first, and complete student of the instrument as well.  What an incredible piece.  Each movement is published as a separate work as well, just in case you don't happen to play bass, tenor, AND alto!  Finally, Vanessa Fralick gave a very interesting and beautifully jazzy performance of the Tomasi Concerto.  Vanessa has a beautiful approach, and such an easy sounding high register.  Anyone who thinks "girls can't play high", well, Ms. Fralick gave us all a master class in lyrical high register playing, not to mention STYLE, tonight!  Well done, all around.

I have some other thoughts on events I have heard this week, so stay tuned!





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