ITEA News Column
Lloyd Bone, Associate Editor
London Gabrieli Consort performs Grande Messe Des Morts
The London Gabrieli Consort, one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious authentic-instrument orchestras, recently completed a magnificent performance and recording project. A total number of 460 people, under the baton of Paul McCreesh with Robert Murray as solo tenor, gave two performances of Berlioz’ Grande Messe Des Morts in Wroclaw, Poland, followed by three days of recordings.
L-R Stephen Wick, Andrew Kershaw, John Elliott, Phil Humphries
The strings and woodwind, together with some of the choir, were from the Wroclaw area, but all the brass and a large proportion of the chorus flew out from Britain to take part in this project. The brass section included 12 natural horns, 16 trumpets, (some playing natural trumpets and some playing cornets, as in Berlioz’ original orchestration) 16 period “peashooter” trombones, two small “period” tubas, and last but not least, 4 ophicleïdes.
The instruments being used are from the players’ own collections. Stephen Wick played on a Muller C ophicleïde made between 1840–50 in Lyon, France. Andrew Kershaw was playing on a Gautrot B-flat ophicleïde made in approximately 1870. It has “F Besson, London” on the bell, but that is thought to be an importer’s mark. This instrument was once in John Fletcher’s collection. John Elliott played a Gautrot ophicleïde in C, thought to have been made in Paris in about 1835. Phil Humphries played on another Gautrot C instrument, thought to have been made in Paris in about 1860. It has the name “Hepplewhite” on the bell, but again this thought to be either an importer’s mark, or perhaps it was engraved for a presentation.
All the instruments were of the 11-key type, and it was fascinating to compare the differences/improvements in the three Gautrot models. The parts were quite demanding, having been restored to the original edition, which covers the full range of the ophicleïde. It was refreshing to discover that four of these instruments can play in tune while playing in unison! The occasional divisi sections required some attention before we were satisfied with the intonation, but everything came together beautifully.
The recording should appear next year, and it will be well worth hearing the magnificent sound that mid-19th century brass instruments of all types can generate. ~ submitted by John Elliott (London, England)
Tubalations Low Brass Celebration Day
On Saturday, October 2nd at Staines Salvation Army Hall in Ashford, United Kingdom, the Tublations Low Brass Celebration Day took place. Tuba virtuoso Les Neish led the day performing great solos with the Staines Salvation Army Band (Tim Parker) for the evening concert. In addition, at least five new works have been written for the occasion; an extended fanfare for the massed ensemble and brass band by Terry Treherne, Tubalations Flourish, an original work Pace by euphonium player Robin Langdon, an arrangement of Sonic Boom by Dave Collins from Yorkshire, another original work (nearing completion) from composer Esther Hopkins and (A) Musing Moments from The Masters, composed for us by Dean Jones father, David. In contrast, the inspiring vocal group Hallelujah Anyhow from the Staines Songsters will be adding their own brand of entertainment to the evening concert.
Other activities included a Les Neish masterclass, Charley Brighton demonstration of various tuning systems that were around in addition to the compensating system on low brass, (Enharmonic & 5 Valve systems), and Jeannie Wood gave a clinic on the Alexander Technique (taught in all major music & drama colleges) which aims to help musicians (and others) to be aware of unhelpful posture habits, which if left unchecked, can lead to stress, pain and underperformance.
You can get the full details on the Tubalations website: www.euph9.freeserve.co.uk/tubalations.htm or email Charley Brighton at email@example.com.
Les Neish in a workshop
Clinician Charley Brighton
2011 Ralph Taylor Award in Composition
The Marshall University Chapter of the International Tuba Euphonium
Association proudly announces the 2011 Ralph Taylor Award in Composition.
This year’s judges are Stacy Baker (Morehead State University), James Self (University of Southern California), and Tony Zilincik (Capital University). The winner composer will receive $100 (Sponsored by the Marshall University Chapter of the International Tuba Euphonium Association). The composition will be premiered and recorded at the 2011 Marshall University Tuba & Euphonium Day (April 9, 2011). The submission deadline is November 19, 2010. For addition information visit the ITEA news column online or email George Palton at George@georgepalton.com.
New Mouthpiece Creates the Sound of the Serpent
the Keith Rogers Mouthpiece
Berlioz Historical Brass has sponsored the development of a mouthpiece that permits a modern brass player to obtain the sound of the serpent. Now players of the euphonium and baritone horn may obtain an authentic and acoustically-accurate sound for late 18th and early 19th century parts originally scored for the serpent.
The rescoring of historical instruments has always been a problem. The unique timbre of the serpent creates sonorities and a blend of sound that is rarely achieved on modern low brass. But such compromises are willingly made by today’s players in recognition of the difficulties of taming the serpent and overcoming its many challenges. BHB coordinator, Craig Kridel, invited Douglas Yeo of the Boston Symphony Orchestra to conceive a mouthpiece that could produce a warm, breathy, serpent-like sound on euphonium. Yeo developed a metal prototype mouthpiece, made by Robert Osmun of Boston, and the mouthpiece was named in honor of the late Keith Rogers who continued the designs of serpents and their mouthpieces as the leading craftsperson at Christopher Monk Instruments.
Decisions were made to introduce aspects of historical instruments to the modern low brass player: the mouthpiece would be produced in wood to ensure a “chamber music” sound, and the shank would be wrapped by the player in order to achieve a comfortable fit. J.C. Sherman, Cleveland-area instrument maker and technician, was subsequently commissioned to begin developing the designs with Yeo and experimenting with types of wood for production. Sherman states, “We wanted to continue the efforts of Keith Rogers and Bob Osmun, keeping the feel light and flexible and the material affordable. We settled on a tenor and a bass rim suitable for players of larger instruments. Both rims had to create the sound of the serpent with the characteristic feel of modern brass.” Presently, two sizes of Rogers mouthpieces are available: the Rogers 255 (with an inner rim diameter of 25.5 mm) and the Rogers 280 (with an inner rim diameter of 28 mm), both maintaining a modern trombone/euphonium rim. The mouthpieces may be ordered in either blackwood or olivewood.
With the Rogers mouthpiece, repertoire from the late 18th and early 19th century becomes accessible to the modern low brass player. This mouthpiece project seeks to introduce modern players to the various roles of historical brass instruments rather than attempting to persuade or proselytize musicians to play the serpent. As one professional tubist said after playing a euphonium with a Rogers mouthpiece, “now I can finally play the Haydn Divertimento and other chamber ensemble works from the early 1800s.” For those low brass players who wish to explore the early 19th century harmoniemusik literature and to produce the originally intended sound for the serpent part of Mendelssohn’s “Reformation” Symphony, the Rogers mouthpiece brings forth new opportunities and exciting possibilities. For more information, go to www.berliozhistoricalbrass.org.
Grant Funds Low Brass Performance
The low brass students at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas presented “Tubas in the Park,” a concert of low brass music, on Saturday, May 1, 2010. The concert was funded by a grant from the San Gabriel River Trail Project, which is funded through a grant from the 3M Foundation. Grants from the San Gabriel River Trail Project are available to fund projects or art along the San Gabriel River in the San Gabriel Park. The grant made it possible for each student to receive a stipend for the performance and for the ensemble to purchase music from the Tuba Press. Eileen Meyer Russell, the low brass instructor at SU, wrote the grant, directed the ensembles, and performed with the students. Student performers included Ann Alston (euphonium), Benjamin Bracher (trombone), Austin Painchaud (tuba), Bryanna Tidwell (trombone), and Laura Wooden (tuba). The low brass students at SU intend to form a chapter of ITEA during the 2010–2011 academic year.
Petering Concerto Makes Online Debut
Composer Mark Petering
On August 7th in Los Angeles, California, composer Mark Petering’s Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra was released in an online debut. The composition was featured on the website of artist Aubrey Foard, who is the featured tubist on the recording, at http://www.aubreyfoard.com/petering-concerto.html. The piece was recorded April 26, 2010, and also featured Conductor Maxim Eshkenazy and musicians from The Colburn School Orchestra in Los Angeles. The concerto represents a culmination of years of hard work and fundraising on the part of the artists.
“What makes this piece really unique is that it’s musically satisfying to the musicians who perform it, while being accessible to the listener,” said Foard. “The work has been written to reflect a modern world, with a significant amount of Eastern influence in the percussion section and a number of flamboyant motifs in the solo tuba line. It is the hope of the composer, performer and sponsors that this concerto becomes a mainstay in the tuba solo repertoire, along with the more established tuba works.”
For more information contact Aubrey Foard at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.aubreyfoard.com.
FAFNER meets FAFNER
Brian Earl and Tim Riihonen (La Scala Opera House)
Composer and Tubist at Italy’s La Scala Opera House Brian R. Earl with the Melton BB-flat “Fafner” tuba and Timo Riihonen, singing the role of Fafner, on the set of Das Rheingold, at the opening night of La Scala’s new Ring Cycle, this spring. Wagner’s four masterpiece operas are being directed by the celebrated pianist-conductor Daniel Barenboim, currently La Scala’s principal director, and will produced individually over next two years, finishing with two cycles of the complete Ring in July 2013. Melton supplied Brian Earl with their “Fafner” instrument, designed for the Wagner’s demanding contrabass tuba Ring parts, specially for this prestigious series of productions. More information at www.brianearl.com.
Lauren Veronie in Texas
Lauren Veronie (United States Army Field Band)
Low brass players in east Texas were very fortunate this past February when SSG Lauren Veronie, euphoniumist for the United States Army Field Band, presented a masterclass and recital tour. The tour was funded by the United States Army Field Band as part of their Chamber Music Week, where a few soloists and many of the chamber music groups formed out of the larger ensemble traveled all over the country presenting recitals and master classes. SSG Veronie is native of Texas and received both her Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of North Texas studying with Dr. Brian Bowman. She visited Blinn College in Brenham, Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches and Sam Houston State University in Huntsville along with several high schools and middle schools in the Houston area including Willis and The Woodlands. SSG Veronie’s master class covered the gamut of pedagogical information based on the audience. The high school and middle school master classes included work on basic fundamentals in the low brass while the university level master classes added a detailed musical interpretation of several of the most common euphonium solo literature and also discussed musical careers in the military. Her recital program was a great example of diversity while also including some of the top euphonium repertoire including the Euphonium Concerto by Joseph Horovitz, Midnight Euphonium by Goff Richards, and Harlequin by Philip Sparke. These works were offset beautifully by some wonderful transcriptions including Pourquoi Me Réveiller by Jules Massenet and Arise, ye subterranean winds from The Tempest by Henry Purcell. Both recitals and master classes were a resounding success and East Texas looks forward to SSG Lauren Veronie future trips to the area.
Changes in the management team of German B&S Group
Management Board of B&S: Ferdinand Kleinschmidt, Andreas Gafke, Eberhard Schopferer and Gerhard A. Meinl
The Germany-based brass-wind instrument manufacturer B&S GmbH changes its management team.
Gerhard A. Meinl, who created today’s B&S-Group shortly after the German reunification in 1990 and who belongs to a seventh generation instrument dynasty, will continue to run the company as CEO with its locations in Germany, USA and China.
As for many years already, he will go on relying on an experienced management team: Ferdinand Kleinschmidt joined the company in 1986 and heads the Research & Development team. He has studied Tuba at Detmold Conservatory and is Master Craftsmen in instrument building and tool making. Eberhard Schopferer joined the company in 2005 and heads Production. In addition, Andreas Gafke joined the team in September 2009. With his long history in the area of wind instruments, he now leads the area of sales and marketing.
Gerhard Meinl’s long time partner Jakob von Wolff (35) will leave the management board as of July 2010. After ten years with B&S, he plans to continue his career outside the industry. However he will continue as a consultant and shareholder of the B&S-Group.
Gerhard A. Meinl comments this change as follows: “Jakob and I successfully worked for many years together and we have accomplished many important steps for our B&S Group – last but not least we initiated the distribution change in our home market Germany, Austria and Benelux which we will currently complete. As much as I’m regretful about his decision, I respect everyone’s personal life and career and I know, how important flexibility for success is. After many years, we are good friends and he will continue to be connected to our company. Who knows, what other changes life still bring in future…and I say this looking back on the 200 years my family business already exists.”
Jakob von Wolff himself adds: “We made some great steps for B&S in the past years. Now, B&S is perfectly prepared for the future. I will enjoy keeping an eye on the future development of B&S and seeing all that has been accomplished – even if it is from a slightly different perspective.”
2011 Composition Contest For Brass Chamber Music
The Humboldt Brass Chamber Music Workshop Announces the 2011 Composition Contest For Brass Chamber Music. Compositions should be an original, previously unpublished, work for brass octet (312.11)– 3 trumpets (cornets, flugelhorns), horn (in F), 2 trombones, euphonium & tuba. The composition should be a multi movement work, from 10-12 minutes in length. Composer’s original material written for another complement and adapted for brass octet is acceptable. You may write for trumpets in other keys (C, E-flat, picc), played and judged by the BCMW coaching staff.
Winners’ works to be performed during the July 2011 Brass Chamber Music Workshop, held in Arcata, California. All entries should be received no later than February 1, 2011. Winning submissions will be notified by May 15, 2011. Send submissions to: BCMW Composition Contest, c/o Tony Clements, 321 Dallas Drive, Campbell, California 95008. For further information, please email Tony at email@example.com or visit the News Blog at www.ITEAonline.org.
George E. Pheasant (1930–2010)
George Pheasant (Johnstown, Pennsylvania) recently passed away on September 16, 2010. Pheasant was born January 1, 1930, in Johnstown. He graduated from Dale High School in 1948. Beginning in 1947, following winning a talent contest playing his tuba, he began his musical travels with Horace Heidt traveling all over the east coast. He is a student of the great William Bell. He played in numerous local bands including The Little German Band, Corky Christy, the Civic Band, and with various well-known musicians including Al Hirt. He earned his B.M. at IUP in 1963 and taught music at various schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He retired and moved back to Johnstown in 1983. George’s life was music, music, and more music.
There will be an upcoming article in the Journal on the life and career of George Pheasant by longtime friend Jim Self.
Gary M. Stewart (1953–2009)
Gary Michael Stewart, the National Music Museum’s first Conservator, died unexpectedly at his home in Statesville, North Carolina in September 2009. Stewart held a Bachelor of Music degree (1975) from Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.), where he also took elective courses in technical drafting, advanced woodworking, metal machining and casting. He was the second student to earn the Master of Music degree in the History of Musical Instruments offered by the National Music Museum (1978), with a thesis focusing on the “Restoration and Cataloging of Four Serpents in the Arne B. Larson Collection of Musical Instruments.” Following a Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution (1977), Stewart was hired as the N.M.M.’s Conservator and Associate Professor, positions he held for thirteen years. During a sabbatical in 1988, Stewart served as a Conservation Consultant for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where he was later employed (1990–1993). Following several years as Conservator at the Wolfsonian Museum, Miami Beach (1993–2000), he returned to the N.M.M. (2001-2002) to prepare objects for exhibit at the Meredith Willson Museum & Music Man Square in Mason City, Iowa. Stewart’s many contributions to the N.M.M. are posted in a special tribute on the NMM website.
[Obituary originally printed in the Volume 37:1 issue of the National Music Newsletter Digest (March 2010). Please visit www.nmmusd.org for additional information.]