Congratulations to Nicholas and Jacob

Nicholas Orndoff was accepted to the All Northwest Band and Jacob Shaffer was placed in the All State Orchestra. Congratulations on this recognition of your hard work! Last year Nicholas was placed in the All State Orchestra and Jacob into the All State Band, though I forgot to brag about them at the time.

Performance comparison: Winter

I was recently driving home, listening to the local classical station--yes, amazingly enough, Seattle still has classical music broadcast on the radio--when I was immediately taken by the music that was playing. The piece seemed familiar and yet I couldn't decide if it was from the Baroque era or if it was perhaps a modern, minimalist piece. Soon enough I realized that I was listening to one of the oldest of warhorses, "Winter" by Vivaldi. The musicians had so reinvented the work that it almost seemed like a new piece.

The performance linked below by Itzak Perlman, one of the greatest violinists of our time, is top drawer in every way. He sets a high bar for technical accomplishment and expressive performance:

Itzak Perlman performs "Winter" by Vivaldi

But it was Fabio Biondi, a violinist which whom I was entirely unfamiliar, that I found so startling during my commute. He has led his musicians to create a performance that is entirely alive and truly makes it seem that the music was written just recently.

Fabio Biondi performs "Winter" by Vivaldi.

Fabio Biondi and his ensemble Europa Galante are part of the early music movement, that is, playing music on the instruments or copies of the instruments, for which the composers wrote. I can't say that I truly believe this is the way that Vivladi heard these works and yet this reimagination is just what my modern ears need to hear these pieces for the gems that they are. This level of creativity is the challenge to every artist no matter their medium.

Concert schedule - Fall 2014

September 28, 2:00: Jacobsen Recital Series performing the Concerto for Trumpet and Bassoon by Paul Hindemith.
October 10, 11, 12, 7:30, 7:30, 2:00:
Northwest Sinfonietta performing works by Vorisek, Dvorak, Bartok and Sarasate.
October 19, 2:30: Brass Band Northwest performs Heroes of England with music by Holst, Sparke, Vaughn-Williams and Vinter.
October 25, 7:30: Tacoma Symphony Orchestra performing with Evelyn Glennie including works by Respighi and Ravel.
October 26, 2:00: Jacobsen Recital Series performing the Concerto for Trumpet and Bassoon by Paul Hindemith.
November 2, 3:00: Lake Washington Symphony Orchestra, the Planets by Holst.
November 14, 15, 16, 7:30, 7:30, 2:00: Northwest Sinfonietta performing works by Gluck, Jones, Mozart and Youtz.
November 28, 29: Pacific Northwest Ballet, Nutcracker
Decemer 4: Edmonds Community College Choir, Rutter Gloria
December 7, 2:30: Tacoma Symphony performing Sounds of the Season.
December 9, 7:30: Brass Band Northwest performing All I Want for Christmas with guests PepperJill and Jack.
December 12, noon: Pacific Northwest Ballet, Nutcracker.
December 18, 19: Tacoma Symphony performs Messiah, Chapel Hill, Gig harbor then, St Chrels Borromeo
December 13, 14, 20, 21, 23, 3:00pm: Tacoma Symphony/Tacoma City Ballet, Nutcracker.
December 26: University Unitarian Messiah Sing-a-long

Philip Smith retires

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Philip Smith, principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic, is retiring. He led that trumpet section for 36 years and produced a CD of excerpts that has become the de facto standard for orchestral trumpet playing. After the retirement of Bud Herseth, Phil Smith must be viewed as the leader of orchestral trumpet playing in America. He is notable enough that his departure was the subject of an article in The New Yorker:

Philip Smith, master trumpeter

The article and his comrades appropriately praise his career, but what I find telling is the one quote from Mr Smith, a master trumpeter who still, apparently, battles nerves:

A thirty-six-year career in the same orchestra means that expectations can remain high over a lifetime. “People keep showing up, and they want Mahler’s Fifth in 2013 to sound as good as it did in 1978,” he said. “And you’re going, ‘Shoot, man, I’m not sure if I can do that.’ So you have to watch the little voices and try to shove them out of the way. Try not to get focussed on mistakes. It’s like watching the Olympics—how many times you know these people are tops of their field, they get to the Olympics and the voices win. So it’s a constant battle to say, ‘Don’t let the voices win.’ Sing, sing, sing, sing, sing. When the voices start going, start singing.”

Jens Lindemann in Seattle and Tacoma

NWBBF2014 for Website
Jens Lindemann will make two Seattle-area appearances at the end of January! On Saturday, January 25 he will give a masterclass and perform with Brass Band Northwest for the Northwest Brass Band Festival at Seattle Pacific University. At 1:30 on Sunday, January 26 Jens will give a masterclass at the University of Puget Sound. Contact me for more information.

Fast practice

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Jason Sulliman has posted a great video on fast practice. Rather than starting slowly and clicking up the metronome, fast practice involves starting at tempo but with only a small portion of the passage, gradually adding notes. My favorite method is to start at the end of a passage and to keep adding beats to the front of the lick.
Check out his video on Youtube:
Jason Sulliman fast practice video

Concert schedule - spring 2014

January 25 (Seattle): Brass Band Northwest hosts the Northwest Brass Band Festival with guests Jamie Hood (clinician) and Jens Lindemann (trumpet soloist.)
February 13, 14, 15
(Seattle, Tacoma, Puyallup) Northwest Sinfonietta performing Beethoven Symphony 6.
February 23 (Tacoma): Tacoma Symphony Orchestra performing Verdi and other opera excerpts.
February 28 (Tacoma): Jacobsen Series, music of Poulenc (La Masque Bal) and Weill (violin concerto.)
March 22 (Tacoma): Tacoma Symphony Pops featuring the music of Barbra Streisand.
March 23 (Bellevue): Brass Band Northwest performs for Sunday services at Bellevue Presbyterian Church.
April 6
(Bellevue): Brass Band Northwest performs Gregson, Holst, Leland (premiere) and Lovatt-Cooper.
May 4 (Bellevue): Brass Band Northwest performs for Sunday services at Bellevue Presbyterian Church.
May 10
(Tacoma): Tacoma Symphony Orchestra performs Liszt and Mahler.
May 16, 17, 18 (Seattle, Tacoma, Puyallup): Northwest Sinfonietta, Rossini, Pasatieri (premiere) and Beethoven.
May 31 (Bellevue): Brass Band Northwest presents ESPANA!, music from Spain and Latin America.

Concert schedule - December 2013

December 7, 3:00 (Tacoma): Tacoma City Ballet presents the Nutcracker.
December 8, 2:00 (Tacoma): Tacoma Symphony Orchestra presents Sounds of the Season.
December 10, 7:30 (Bellevue): Brass Band Northwest presents ’Tis the Season.
December 13, 12:00 (Seattle): Pacific Northwest Ballet performs the Nutcracker.
December 14 & 15, 3:00 (Tacoma): Tacoma City Ballet presents the Nutcracker.
December 17, 7:00 (North Bend): Brass Band Northwest performs ’Tis the Season with the young musicians of the North Bend Elementary School.
December 20, 7:30 (Tacoma): Tacoma Symphony presents Messiah.
December 21 & 22, 3:00 (Tacoma): Tacoma City Ballet presents the Nutcracker.
December 22, 10:00 (Seattle): service music at View Ridge Community Church.
December 24, 2:00 (Seattle): PNB presents Nutcracker.
December 24, 5:00 (Seattle): service music for View Ridge Community Church.
December 26, 7:00 (Seattle): University Unitarian Church Messiah Sing.

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