(most recent news at top)
***Ithaca College faculty appointment***
As the esteemed Dr. Harold Reynolds retires from 32 years of teaching service at Ithaca College, I will be assuming the role of Interim Professor of Trombone for the Spring 2021 semester. As an IC alum, I am humbled to be entrusted with continuing the tradition of community, musical diversity, and excellent that IC has fostered for generations of musicians.
***Community Zoom masterclasses***
During this age of COVID-19, I have taken to Zoom to provide a FREE masterclass for our local (and not-so-local!) trombone community. Typically meeting on Friday afternoon, these classes are informal and open to students, teachers, and all trombone enthusiasts. Students are encouraged to perform current study repertoire, but certainly not required to do so! We have been hosting guest clinicians from around the country to lead the class, including university faculty and professional players, so participants can gain exposure to varying concepts and widen their network. To participate, please use the Contact Me link above.
***Adjunct Faculty appointment at the Eastman School of Music***
Starting the Fall 2018 semester, I will join the Eastman School of Music faculty as an adjunct to teach the Low Brass Orchestral Repertory course. It is a distinct honor to join this esteemed faculty and work with wonderful students!
***Viet Cuong — Trombone and Wind Ensemble commission***
I have assembled a consortium of 12 junior high school bands to commission the dynamic young composer Viet Cuong to write a new work for solo trombone and wind ensemble! This piece will fill a substantial void in the repertoire for trombone and band, as there are no works of substance for these performing forces. This piece is purposed for professional-level trombone solo, with a Grade 3 ensemble part that is not just an accompaniment, but a true collaboration. While searching for repertoire to perform with young bands, I found nothing that would be both engaging for the soloist and ensemble: there are plenty of “watered-down” concerto accompaniments, and some hokey, silly features for trombone. However, there is nothing substantially engaging for both parties. This commission will not only satisfy this need, but also involve young musicians in the commissioning process.
My other motivation is to provide junior high musicians the chance to interact with a professional musician. High school programs frequently host guest artists as clinicians and soloists, but junior highs are too often overlooked. I find this to be a shame, as this is a highly impressionable age: I myself tried to quit several times in my 6th-8th grade years! Also, this piece will provide a vehicle for private studio teachers to interact and build relationships with local band programs. As someone who has built private studios in various cities, I see this as an invaluable way for teachers to introduce themselves and collaborate with schools.
After researching several composers, I settled on Viet as his voice is truly fresh and his enthusiasm for the project was equal to mine. You can hear samples of his music on his website. I think you will agree that he is a unique talent and will contribute something great to the repertoire.
And perhaps most importantly, I’d like to acknowledge the directors and ensembles that are making this project possible. I can’t wait to collaborate with each one of you and your students!! Be on the look-out for information regarding premieres, which will start in Spring 2018.
Mill Middle School – Pim Liebmann (Williamsville, NY)
Frontier Middle School – Todd Macon (Hamburg, NY)
Amherst Middle School – Paul Biddle (Amherst, NY)
Lancaster Middle School – Jake Seymour (Lancaster, NY)
Clarence Middle School – Chris Gawlak (Clarence, NY)
McCracken Middle School – Chip De Stefano (Skokie, IL)
Casey Middle School – Kyle Gengo (Williamsville, NY)
Hutchinson Central Tech – Amy Steiner (Buffalo, NY)
Kenmore East Junior High – Phil Aguglia (Kenmore, NY)
Heim Middle School – Evonne Michel (Williamsville, NY)
Bloomfield Middle School – Scott Hoffman (Rochester, NY)
Canisius College Concert Band – Paul Biddle (Buffalo, NY)
***Jeff Dee leaving BPO***
Our beloved bass trombone colleague Jeff Dee won a position in the Pittsburgh Symphony in May 2016, and will be starting with his new orchestra this September. He will be taking a leave of absence from the BPO, and in the mean time, I will be moving over to Bass Trombone. We are extremely fortunate to welcome Tim Owner as Acting 2nd Trombone. I hope to feature a blog article by Tim very soon.
I was recently invited to join the chamber group Tres Bone, which is a professional trombone trio including Ken Wolff (alto and tenor) and Mark Morgan (tenor and bass). We are excited to make some new recordings and start concertizing this fall.
***Richard Myers Memorial Trombone Trio Composition Contest***
A contest esigned to honor the legacy of former BPO Principal Trombonist, master teacher, and prolific arranger Mr. Richard “Dick” Myers, as well as provide new works for the trombone trio repertoire. My colleagues in the BPO trombone section, Ensemble Publications, and HIckey’s Music hosted the contest during the winter/spring of 2016, and the Myers Family generously contributed a cash prize. Complete details and list of winners can be found at http://myerstrombonetrio.com
***Sonata for Alto Trombone commission!***
Composer Philip Wharton has been commissioned to write a new work for alto trombone and piano, which is expected to be delivered in December 2015. A protege of David del Tredici and John Corigliano, Philip’s work first impressed me with its inclusion of melody, playful interaction between instruments, and appeal to the listener. Philip has only written for trombone once before, which was over a decade ago. This means we will get something with a fresh voice from someone who doesn’t think like a brass player! I am indebted to my friends and colleagues who helped form this commission to make this a reality: Tim Higgins, Tim Owner, Steve Menard, Jim Nova, Ken Thompkins, Pete Sullivan, Ron Barron, Garth Simmons, Mike Hall, Will Kimball, Jim Decker, Gordon Wolfe, and Shachar Israel.
***ATB Trombone solo and Trombone choir Commission!!***
Rob Deemer, composition faculty at SUNY Fredonia and the Interlochen Arts Academy, is writing a work featuring trombone soloist on alto, tenor, and bass trombones, accompanied by trombone choir. The piece will be programable in a few different formats, making it a wonderful vehicle for 1 to many players. Joining me in this project is a consortium of trombone choirs without whom this concept would never come to fruition:
Ithaca College – Dr. Hal Reynolds
Texas State University – Dr. Martin McCain
University of Kentucky – Dr. Brad Kerns
University of Akron – Dr. Jim Albrecht
SUNY Fredonia – Carl Mazzio
Oberlin Conservatory – Dr. Lee Allen
Louisiana State University – Steve Menard
From the composer:
I am looking forward to writing a new work for trombone soloist (on alto, tenor, and bass!) with trombone ensemble…I’ve written works for solo trombone, soloist with orchestra, trombone quartet, and trombone ensemble, so this new project will up the ante even more. My intention is to explore the lyricism, power, and humor inherent in the trombone and to feature the soloist in a way that will challenge him in a satisfying way while providing enough “meat on the bones” for the trombone ensemble so that everyone will have fun! – Rob Deemer
I will be featuring several guest bloggers over the coming months, hopefully with new posts every 3-4 weeks. Topics will include freelancing and career diversity, doubling instruments, vocal music on trombone, and many others. If there is something in particular you’d like me to feature, please let me know!