Clark Media Productions

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Filtering by Tag: brass playing

American Conical Ensemble records James Curnow

There’s a new brass group on the block! This summer, at the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville, Kentucky, a new “super group” of brass musicians took the stage. Trumpeters Chris Martin (New York Philharmonic), Mark Ridenour (Chicago Symphony), and Matthew Harding (U.S. Marine Band), were joined by alto horn virtuoso Nathan Miller (Asbury University), Hiram Diaz (U.S. Marine Band) on euphonium, and Christopher Tiedeman (U.S Marine Band) on tuba.

Long time brass band supporter and world renowned composer and arranger, James Curnow, arranged a new piece for this virtuoso ensemble, which they premiered at GABBF. The group returned from Kentucky and really wanted a chance to record Jim’s wonderful arrangement of Appalachian fiddle music.

This recording features Amy McCabe and Anthony Bellino on trumpet (both members of the U.S. Marine Band), as well as Matthew Harding on piccolo trumpet, Nathan Miller, Hiram Diaz, and Chris Tiedeman.

The Virtual Trombonist Podcast, ep. 1: An interview with John Ohnstad

In the summer of 1993, I had the great fun and opportunity to work at Disney World as part of the All-American College Orchestra, performing at Epcot.  One of my colleague was a bass trombonist named John Ohnstad.  John was an interesting guy.  He was a fantastic musician, but wasn't a music major in college at all!  John has continued his parallel paths in both business and music, and we recently caught up at a reunion of our College Orchestra pals in Orlando.  I sat down to talk a bit with John about how he arrived at his musical career, and to also hear about his unique experiences studying with the late George Roberts. [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/220684998" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

John performs with a number of groups in and around Portland, here are some links to a few of them:

Rose City Trombones

Big Horn Brass

Portland Columbia Symphony

Art Abrams Swing Machine Big Band - and on their album "Speak Low/Swing Hard"

Listening Lately

Here goes... I've been getting back into some more listening the past week or so... Here's what I'm into lately... Sean Rowe - Sean has a new EP out, called Her Songs.  I especially like "Ode to Divorce" and "Soldier's Song".  "EP" is a little misleading since there is a video to go with each of the 6 tunes on the album.  Great stuff.

The Gaslight Anthem - I listened to the '59 Sound so much I got sick of it... I just realized this band has a few albums out since then!  The latest is Get Hurt.  I really like their sound!

Death Cab for Cutie - Kintsugi - I just love this album.  Still listening to it.  Bought tickets to their show at Merriweather Post Pavilion on September 13.

Valor Brass - yep, our album made it's way to my doorstep yesterday.  Currently available here.  We are thrilled with the sound from our engineer, Ed Kelly, at Cedar Knoll Media.  Phil Snedecor, longtime director and trumpeter of Washington Symphonic Brass was our producer.

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Berlin Philharmonic - I recently bought a one-week ticket to Berlin's Digital Concert Hall.  Wow, what an experience!  I binge-watched a number of pieces and concerts over the past week... check out their recent Mahler 5 with a new trumpet concerto called Aerial performed by Swedish virtuoso Hakan Hardenburger.  There is also a great interview with Hakan and conductor, Andris Nelsons, given by Sarah Willis.  I also enjoyed immensely the Wagner set from Siegfried/Gotterdammerung conducted by Daniele Gatti.  $180 for a one-year ticket is quite a bargain when you see what you have access to on the Digital Concert Hall.  Finally, check out a great behind the scenes tour of their production setup.  Cool!

Alright, one more thing.  This is cool.  Great tune, performing, and possibly the best horn section name ever... Tim Akers and the Smoking Section.  The tune is "Uptown Funk".  Enjoy.

Cheers,

The Virtual Trombonist

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,

Chris

Analog News

Isn't "analog news" just old news??  Well, actually, not in this case!  I wanted to call your attention to an interesting new project that my friend up in Montreal, Chris Smith, turned me on to... Paul Merkelo, principal trumpet of the Montreal Symphony, has recorded a new album of French trumpet concertos, including the Tomasi Concerto, Andre Jolivet's Concerto No. 2, and Incantation, Threne, et Danse by Alfred Desenclos. There's a great article about it here with a sneak peek playback of the entire Tomasi.  There's a nice interview with Paul that includes some insight into how the project came to be, as well as how he prepared to actually perform all three of these monster concertos on the SAME concert!

Wait, what about the analog part? Oh yeah, right!  The recording will be released on VINYL.  Yeah, baby!

Pre-order Paul's album here.

Cheers,

The Virtual Trombonist

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