ITEC 2001: Being Cool in Lahti! (Jerry Young, ITEA Journal Editor)
Editor’s Note: This report was written and produced by and large by the editor. Major assistance was lent by David Spies (jazz) and Cristina Fava (master classes) with further assistance from Steve Call, Julie Gray and Scott Watson. Because of the short amountof time between the end of the conference and our production deadline for the Journal,it was necessary to present only a descriptive report of this fantastic event. No attempt has been made at trulycritical reviews, although we have tried to supply informative commentary as appropriate to attempt to give readers as much flavor and information as possible relative to performances and literature. All opinions expressed are strictly those of the writers. Special thanks go to the Public Relations Staff (Anne Antil-Olkku, Press and Information Officer) for ITEC 2001 and photographer Pekka Saarinen for their assistance.
The city of Lahti is first mentioned in historical records in the late 1400s. The first inhabitants of this beautiful part of the world would be dumbfounded to see this picturesque city of 100,000. The beautiful lakes, quiet parks, quaint city market, and (most important) the kind, friendly people made this the perfect setting for yet another world-class ITEC. Sibelius Hall, the central site for ITEC activities, is the pride of the city of Lahti, and justifiably so. Set on the shore of beautiful Lake Vesijarvi, this facility is among the largest all-wood structures in Finland, if not the world. It is the largest all-wood structure built in Finland for the past one hundred years and, according to the Hall’s Executive Director, it is being studied by virtually every organization in the world that is considering building a new concert hall. The conference was also well served by the fine facilities of the Lahti Conservatory and its principal, Eero Pulkkinen.
Twisted Steel performs ITEC opening music. (Photo by Pekka Saarinen).
Harri Lidsle and his staff not only prepared a tasty menu in terms of musical and educational delights, but also provided a setting, activities, and organization that enabled every participant to have an uplifting personal experience that gave everyone a chance to appreciate Finland and the Finnish people. It was a special treat to have Finnish celebrity Erkki Toivanen as Festival Host, expertly providing commentary in Finnish and English for all of the evening concerts and assisting with the daily press conferences. Composers came – from Iceland, Germany, Norway, and (of course) Finland. Time was provided to meet with them, and the result was inspiration for everyone. Conference participants were able to sign up for lessons with almost any of the large number of internationally known artist/ teachers who were present at the conference – a rare opportunity. There’s always more to an ITEC than just the events in the program, and this one was no exception.
Although the conference began officially on Sunday afternoon, activity was evident on Friday. Competitors in the euphonium artist, tuba young artist, and quartet competitions came to Lahti early to de-jet lag and rehearse. The initial round of the euphonium artist competition took place on Saturday afternoon, along with rehearsals for rapidly approaching artist recitals and other competitions.
Harri Lidsle delivers opening remarks. (Photo by Pekka Saarinen).
The ITEC staff seemed to be everywhere at once arranging final details. Those of us who have participated in ITECs over the past 30 years know that it’s impossible to cover every single detail or to anticipate every potential disaster, but Harri Lidsle and his staff came as close as has any ITEC staff up to this point in time. When Twisted Steel sounded the first notes of ITEC 2001 on Sunday afternoon, all was in readiness.
ITEC 2001: Concert and Recital Performances
The conference opened at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon with a vivacious performance by Twisted Steel, a quartet comprised primarily of former students from the University of Southern Mississippi (USA). Their varied program consisted of works ranging from Gabrieli to Hoist. They adapted well to the wide- open spaces of the lobby of Sibelius Hall. The balance and warmth of their sound made for a stirring opening for the conference, and certainly stirred anticipation for their more formal recital later in the week.
After this brief concert, conference host Harri Lidsle gave a hearty Lahti welcome to conference participants and brought ITEA President, Skip Gray and Festival Host, Errki Toivanen (who provided commentary for all main stage recitals in Finnish and English throughout the week), to the podium for welcoming remarks, as well as the Festival manager/organizer, Niina Kiveld. Toshio Saito, President of the Japanese Euphonium/Tuba Association and Manfred Heidler, President of Deutches Tubaforum were also present. Opening ceremonies at ITECs are always a great time of greetings, meeting old friends, and making new friends – but the primary feeling stirred is one of anticipation of great musical and educational things to come. Thus, at Lahti, we moved directly to the first concert from the opening ceremony.
Opening Concert with the Vassa City Orchestra: Opera Arias
The first formal concert at Sibelius Hall was unlike any this writer has experienced at any of the ITECs since 1980. It featured no less than thirteen artists in a program of opera arias together with the Vassa City Orchestra. However, it was refreshing to experience a program wherein the musicianship of some of our greatest artists was presented for an audience consisting of both conference participants and music lovers from the local community. In addition to the several soloists, the audience was treated to fine performances of overtures (all related to works that the soloists performed)by the Vassa City Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Hannu Norjanen. The first half of the program primarily featured the euphonium and baritone. After theNabucco Overture (Verdi), the crowd was greeted by the familiar warm sound of Dr. Brian Bowman (University of North Texas, USA) playing Verdi’s Ingemisco.
Dr. Bowman’s performance was followed by an unusual sight and sound at an ITEC – a trumpet soloist! Following the Overture from Don Giovanni, Pasi Pirinen, principal trumpet of the Finnish Radio Orchestra, delivered a fine rendition of Mozart’s Queen of the Night aria (fromThe Magic Flute). The Miraphone Quartet (France) next came to the stage to perform an original (but operatically-based) work,Rossini’s Dream. The arrangement was clever and even humorous, as Rossini (apparently) often dreamed of Verdi, as themes from La Traviata were visited upon the listeners. I hope this work will be made available, as it provides the opportunity for orchestra audiences to be introduced to the sound of the euphonium/ tuba quartet. After Rossini’s la Cenerentola Overture, British baritonist, Helen Tyler came to the stage. Ms. Tyler presented a lovely rendition of Puccini’s Vissi d’ arte , a work well suited to the light, singing sound of the baritone as exemplified by her playing. Sverre Olsrud (Norway) took the stage next and gave a stunning rendition of Puccini’s Che gelida manina, (from La Boheme). For the listener who is familiar with Puccini’s opera, Mr. Olsrud made it possible to re-live this moment in the opera wherein Rodolfo tells Mimi about himself, his life, and his newly discovered love. And those who didn’t know the opera simply had a moving musical experience. The first half of the program came to a close with Adam Frey’s (USA) performance of Nessun Donna from Puccini’s final opera, Turandot. Frey’s dynamic control made this an especially memorable and moving musical moment, again, recalling all of the excitement of its moment in Turanclot.
The second half of the program brought the tubas to the fore. After an extremely fine reading of the Overture to La Traviata (Verdi), Norwegian tubist Oystein Baadsvik came to the stage to deliver a stunning performance of his own arrangement of Gabriel’s Oboe (Morricone), which was completed only forty minutes before the concert! Baadsvik’s incredible lyricism paired with amazing range and flawless intonation drew an especially enthusiastic response from the Sibelius Hall audience. ITEA President, Skip Gray followed with an emotion-filled reading of Torna e Sorrento (De Curtis). As always, Dr. Gray’s delivery showed an obvious understanding of the composer’s intent and was presented with his characteristic singing tone. Gray’s performancq was followed by one of his principal teachers, Dan Perantoni. It was truly a treat to hear a true legend among artist/teachers on an ITEC stage once again. As is always the case when Mr. Perantoni walks on to any stage with an instrument, the reasons for his international reputation were immediately evident. He offered up a gorgeous reading of Sartori’s Con te partiro (“It’s ‘Time to Say Goodbye”). Our sentiment is that it’s not even remotely close to time for this superb artist to even say “so long,” let alone “goodbye!” The concert concluded with two more works from Rossini – first, his Overture to An Italian in Algiers, then a hilarious and absolutely virtuosic performance of his famous “Cat Duet.” This performance featured Maestro Norjanen in the role of a mouse (wisely staying on the podium, away from the cats!) with trombonist Valtteri Malmivirtai (Helsinki Philharmonic) and Pasi Pirinen on trumpet – both cleverly and elaboratell costumed as cats. The duo aria was performed entirely with Harmon mutes and fabulously well rehearsed stage action by everyone involved. Needless to say, it was a great audience pleaser. The encore du jour featured all of the concert artists (including Malmivirta and Pirinen) in a unison rendition of the Slave’s Chorus from Nabucco. Congratulations to Maestro Norjanen and the Vassa City Orchestra for providing the ITEC with a fine performance under the pressure of very limited rehearsal time. Musical professionalism is alive and well in Finland.
William Hess, Euphonium Soloist
After a short break, the second Sunday program took place in Carpentry Hall, the smaller of the two halls available in the Sibelius Hall facility. The first artist was euphoniumist, William Hess. As a veteran of over twenty years of ITEC attendance, I do not recall an undergraduate musician being invited to perform as an artist. Mr. Hess is, without doubt, among the most promising young euphoniumists anywhere. His program included the Ropartz Piece in E-flat minor, Richard Peaslee’s Arrows of Time (originally written for trombonist Joe Alessi), the Sparke Euphonium Concerto, and Hora Staccato by Dinichu. Hess’s performance displayed remarkable confidence, accuracy and musical expression across the entire range of the instrument, and a warm, well-controlled vibrato – not to mention virtually flawless technique. Make a note of this young man’s name and hear him perform at your first opportunity. Mr. Hess was accompanied by a now familiar figure at low brass events in the U.S. and abroad, the talented Caryl Conger. This was but the first of several sterling performances presented by this exceptional artist/ accompanist.
Mr. Hess’s performance was followed by one of the premier professional tuba quartets in the world today: Junction. The members of Junction are Sharon Huff and Angie Hunter, euphoniums and Stacy Baker and Velvet Brown, tubas. All four members are virtuoso players and consummate musicians. The performance itself was virtuosic in every respect. Every piece performed was a tour-de-force for euphonium/tuba quartet, and every challenge was met effortlessly. This group is a “must-hear” as soon as you can, any time, anywhere that you can. The truly important aspect of this group’s ITEC performance was the literature they introduced. One of the primary missions of this group is to commission and perform new repertoire. If their track record continues along these lines, they’re going to make some amazing contributions that will further legitimize the euphonium/tuba quartet as a chamber music medium that the rest of the musical world must take seriously. Literature of this quality could do the same thing for our medium as Haydn’s string quartets did for that medium in his time. Two of today’s original works, Central Junction by Brian Balmages and El Bosque Verdi by Alice Gomez, were world premieres. Both works allow for display of technical virtuosity, but musical value is not set aside for technical display. Both works are outstanding, but I found the Gomez work to be of particular interest. The work employs Gomez’s distinctive musical language, but the rhythmic aspect of the piece was particularly “grabbing” for me. One of the other works on the program was a very recent arrangement (commissioned by Junction) of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor by Dr. Todd Fiegel. Dr. Fiegel is a prolific arranger who has produced a number of major contributions to the euphonium/tuba ensemble repertoire already and is continuing with more projects for our instruments. This arrangement, while challenging simply because of the nature of the music, is one that any mature euphonium/tuba quartet should explore. The final work on the program was Eldorado by a young West Virginia composer, Gabriel Stockhausen. While this work contains technical challenges, its interest for me lay in the interesting textural writing. Although this work is not currently commercially available, it would be worth contacting a member of Junction to find out about its availability. It’s another important addition to the repertoire. Responding to the enthusiastic audience’s demands, Junction took the stage for an encore, Bruno Seitz’s arrangement of Aaram Khachaturian’s famous Sabre Dance – at light speed. It is so encouraging to hear groups like Junction, Sotto Voce, Tubalate, and the Miraphone Quartet (in addition to long-established groups like the Colonial Tuba Quartet and young groups like Twisted Steel) stretching the limits of this important medium. It’s not unreasonable to envision a time when the euphonium/tuba quartet will be as established and popular a medium as the string quartet. If we continue to amass the kind of repertoire generated by these groups and perform it to a high standard, the musical world cannot ignore us.
Music from Norway: Sverre Olsrud and Oystein Baadsvik
The first recital on Monday was brought to us from Norway. The featured artists were euphoniumist Sverre Olsrud of the Norwegian Army Staff Band with pianist Caryl Conger and tubist Oystein Baadsvik with pianist Barbara Young. Olsrud’s program focused on music from Norwegian composers or of Norwegian origin and included two “modem” world premieres from noted Norwegian composer, Ole Olsen (Concerto for Euphonium and Serenade), an unaccompanied work from Geir Davidsen (Idioom), Johan Halvorsen’s Danse Novegienne (this arrangement by Olsrud another world premiere), Hugo Alfven’s Herdsrnaidens Dance (in an Olsrud arrangement), and Arban’s Fantasie Brilliante. Sverre Olsrud is already known around the world as one of our premier euphonium soloists. His performance in Lahti only confirmed the things those who had not previously witnessed one of his performances had heard. He is certainly at the top of his profession. Everything on the program was well performed. The Olsen works are welcome additions to the repertoire and should receive performances from serious euphoniumists around the world. The performance of the Olsen Concerto has particular significance. It was written in the same year as the better known Ponchielli work for euphonium and, like the Ponchielli, has been unknown for many, many years. Mr. Olsrud told the audience that it’s possible that there was a performance of the work in 1905, however it has laid dormant since then. It is distinguished from the Ponchielli in that it is definitely more in a true “Romantic era” style. Interested euphoniumists should contact Mr. Olsrud for information regarding the availability of this important work. This arrangement should immediately enjoy broad popularity among euphoniumists all over the world. Mr. Olrud’s considerable technique was brought to the fore in the Halvorsen Danse (originally for clarinet), the Alfven Herdsmaidens Dance (originally for violin) and the Arban (which, believe it or not, uses a Norwegian Sunday School tune for its melodic material!). Once again, Caryl Conger made the music complete with her musical and virtuosic abilities as a chamber musician.
The second half of the morning concert featured Oystein Baadsvik and Barbara Young. Baadsvik is a tubist of great musical sensibility and sensitivity – as well as a player with control of the entire range of the instrument and amazing technique. He performed his own arrangements of Bach’s Arioso and Schubert’s Ave Maria, both renditionsshowcasing his command of phrasing and line. A third arrangement, the traditional Irish Kesh Jig by Lunden Vellden, was described by Mr. Baadsvik as being in a Mozart-like style. It is a lot of fun to listen to for any audience and very challenging for both players. Both Mr. Baadsvik and Dr. Young were up the challenge. The concluding work on the printed program was Gordon Jacobs’ Tuba Suite. In a pre-rehearsal conversation with Mr. Baadsvik, I found that he shares my puzzlement that this work is not performed more often. It is loaded with musical challenge and audience appeal. In addition to Baadsviks’ sterling performance, Barbara Young gave an exceptional reading of this work with a particularly nice reading of the piano interlude. The audience insisted on a little more, so Baadsvik shed his coat and tie and performed an absolutely amazing encore. The work consists of a theme composed by Baadsvik some time ago with improvised variations. The work (which is reminiscent throughout of an Australian didjeridoo via almost constant virtuosic use of multiphonics) was made particularly exciting by the fabulous acoustic of Sibelius Hall’s main concert hall. The last time I remember as exciting, fun and high-impact an encore was at the 1990 ITEC in Sapporo, Japan when Jorgen Amsted performed the now popular tuba version of Blackbird.
Steven Mead and Pat Sheridan in Recital
The afternoon concert found the ever- popular combination of Steven Mead andPatrick Sheridan on Sibelius Hall’s main stage together with pianist Kari Tikkala. Steve Mead took the stage first. His concert presentations, whether at an ITEC or at a community concert, are always fresh and entertaining. This program began with the world premiere of Howard Snell’s Four Bagatelles. “Variety” must be Maestro Snell’s middle name! This four-movement work includes a quasi-jazz pyrotechnic first movement, a sweet, lyric second movement, an angular, unaccompanied third movement, and a final movement that is a technical showpiece (with plenty of opportunity for Mead to have fun with a little extra stage action). Arthur Butterworth’s Nocturne was described by Mr. Mead as “dark,” but I found it more haunting/ plaintive. He played it with a lot of “implied story line” – all the listener had to supply were the details of his/her own version of the story. Mr. Mead then brought the principal euphoniumist of the famous Black Dyke Mills Band (and his former student), David Thornton, to the stage to perform Derek Bourgeois’ Fantasy Rondo.
Patrick Sheridan and Steven Mead. (Photo by Pekka Saarinen).
This is not an arrangement for the faint of heart, as it truly demands two virtuoso players, but when they’re preserm (as they were at this performance) everyone is going to have fun. Mr. Mead continued the performance with his own arrangement of Astor Piazzola’s Café 1930, a work that has been a “standard” on several of his recent recital tours. He plays this work with a panache that is not describable. When a tour brings him closd to your area, go hear him play this piece – and if it’s not on the program, request it! Mr. Mead’s solo portion of the program concluded with Michael Garson’s Jazz Variations on a Theme of Paganini. This is another setting not for the shy, retiring 1 player. One of our prominent jazz players commented to me that Mead’s performances in this arena dub him as “the Rich Matteson of legit!” High praise indeed and well deserved. Keeping up with Steven Mead in terms of both musicality
and stage presence is no easy task, however, Kari Tikkala did it with ease.
As with Steven Mead, ITEC audiences (not to mention a variety of other audiences around the world) have come to expect something amazing to happen when Patrick Sheridan takes the stage. No one was disappointed today. He began his portion of the program with Karl Tikkala by performing a set of art songs or art song-like works. It was wonderful to hear one of his trademark tunes from The Student Prince, as well as Lori’s Aria from Copland’s Tender Land. Jim Barnes’ re-setting of his now famous Yorkshire Ballad for tuba and piano is a terrific addition to the bass tuba recital buffet. The first portion of Mr.
Sheridan’s recital concluded with his self-confessed favorite, Estrallita, and he gave his best reading for the ITEC audience. The solo portion of the recital concluded with a blazing performance of Arban’s Variations on a Tyrolean Theme. I think some kind of record was set – I also think that Karl Tikkala could have done the piece even faster! Steven Mead then came back to the stage for two duos with Sheridan. The first was Offenbach’s Barcarolle – an arrangement that would work very nicely for any euphonium/tuba duo recital, The program came to an end with a barnstorming, antic-filled performance of the Tubanette Polka. If you’re lucky enough to find Pat Sheridan and Steven Mead in the same place at the same time, insist on a performance of this one!
Sinfonia Lahti Chamber Ensemble features Gourlay, Myllys, Miettunen, and Levy
The evening concert featured works for euphonium or tuba and chamber orchestra. Conference host, Harri Lidsle, made a stellar choice when he secured the services of the Sinfonia Lahti Chamber Ensemble. They provided an unforgettable evening for the audience of ITEC and Lahti community listeners. To prepare accompaniments of the high level of difficulty heard on this concert and accompany at a consistently high artistic level in the very short amount of
Harri Miettunenperforms Lundquist’s Landskap. (Photo by Pekka Saarinen).
available time for a conference such as ours are marks of world-class professionalism. The orchestra and its conductor for the evening, Maestra Susanna Malkki were simply outstanding – as were all the soloists! James Gourlay (GB) gave the world premiere performance of Askell Masson’s concerto, Maes Howe, Tuba Concerto. This work was commissioned by Harri Lidsle expressly for the 2001 ITEC with support from NOMUS, Kulturfonden Island-Finland and the Association of Finnish Brass Players. The concerto is a descriptive work about Maes Howe, a large tomb mound in Orkney, Scotland that dates from the Stone Age. Jim Gourlay was an obvious choice to premiere this extremely expressive (and extremely difficult) work. Gourlay is famous for his ability to play anything set in front of him, and he met the challenge on this occasion. The piece is full of special effects for both the soloist and the orchestra. Hopefully this work will find its way onto a compact disc recording soon and will receive more performances. It doesn’t demand a huge orchestra, so the numerous chamber orchestras around the world may find this a good vehicle to feature their tubist. Jukka Myllys came to the front of the orchestra next to premiere Harri Ahmas’ new Concerto for Euphonium and Orchestra. Ahmas is a bassoonist in the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, as well as being a very active composer. The composition of this work was supported by the Finnish Composers Association’s Sibelius Fund, and it was composed with Jukka Myllys in mind. The work demands all of Jukka Myllys’ considerable musical and technical skills. The composer took full advantage of Myllys’ command of the full range of the euphonium at both extremes. He accomplished a musically effective, expressive interpretation of the composer’s ideas.
Conductor Susanna Malkki and Eran Levy.(Photo by Pekka Saarinen).
The second half of the program included two more familiar works. Harri Miettunen, the very well known Finnish tubist from the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, gave a brilliant reading of Torbjorn Lundquist’s Landskap. This work was first made popular by Michael Lind (for who the work was composed) in the late 1970s. It remains as one of the loveliest works for tuba and small chamber orchestra. The combination of Miettunen’s beautiful, dark sound and the sensitive, musical interpretation of the accompaniment made for a most enjoyable musical experience. The final work of the evening was Jukka Linkola’s Euphonium Concerto. Israel’s Eran Levy, a euphoniumist who is enjoying a meteoric rise in reputation, gave an amazing performance of this extremely difficult work. The demands placed on the upper register in this work are extraordinary, however, the composer really has made the extreme upper register work musically. This was my second hearing of this concerto during the current calendar year, and I am convinced that it is such fine music that it simply demands that euphoniumists develop the skill to play it. This is music that audiences all over the world will come to hear. Mr. Levy met every technical challenge of the work with ease – and performed it from memory as well! At the end of the first full day of ITEC 2001, it seemed impossible that the experience could get even better – read on!
Because Tuesday’s 11:00 concert session was, in fact, the finals for the Euphonium Artist Competition, no comments are appropriate here. (See Dennis AsKew’s competitions report for more information.) Suffice it to say here that the competitors were all winners for having had the opportunity to perform with the Vassa City Orchestra.
Steve Rosse and The Miraphone Quartet
The 3:00 concert on Tuesday was a true treat. Steve Rosse (Australia) and Caryl Conger (USA) presented a recital of two works that date from the late 1970s, a new work, and a lesser known (at least to this American writer) work that absolutely should be receiving numerous performances everywhere. The two best known (but also not often enoughperformed) works were the Thom Ritter George and Donald White Sonatas. Both of these works were written for Rosse’s principal teacher, Daniel Perantoni in the
Steve Rosse (Photo by Pekka Saarinen).
late 1970s. Both of these works rely heavily on rhythmic drive from both artists for maximum musical effect – and it certainly wasn’t missing from these performances. The White’s second movement’s very dark mood and the magnificent melody of the George second movement were presented with their very best musical effect. Tommi Karkkainen’s Music for Tuba and Tape was written for Harri Lidsle, but Harri generously granted Mr. Rosse the right to premiere the work in Australia and to give its second performance at ITEC 2001. This work presents an interesting sound palette in the tape (CD) accompaniment that gives the tubist a lot of room to be creative with the material provided by the composer. Ernst-Thilo Kalke’s Concertino in F is a work that was previously unknown to me, however, Mr. Rosse told me that it has been on the competition list for the Markneukirchen competition in recent years. Although the work certainly contains challenges that make it a great competition piece, it would be a shame to relegate it to the ears of jurors! This is definitely a virtuosic work, but it is full of joy. The writing for both piano and tuba contains elements of pop, jazz, and blues rhythmically, harmonically, and melodically. Perhaps not everyone will be able to bring what Steve Rosse and Caryl Conger brought to the work in this performance, but I believe it’s worth the effort to give it a try.
The Miraphone Quartet in Sibelius Hall. (Photo by Pekka Saarinen).
The Miraphone Quartet marched onto stage for the second half of the afternoon recital. Those ITEA members who attended ITEC 2000 in Regina will remember the great antics and wonderful audience interaction of their concert last year, and they didn’t disappoint their listeners this year. Philippe Wendling, Patrick Couttet, Philippe Gallet, and Olivier Galmant are all members of the Paris Police Band and former students at the Paris Conservatoind While the French should be proud of thic group, so should we all. As mentioned in the comments relative to Junction’s concert on Sunday, this is yet another group that, along with the other outstanding quartets currently on the scene, will standardize the euphonium and tuba quartet as an important chamber music medium. The program began with two “barn burners:” Ingo Luis’ arrangement of Fucik’s Entry of the Gladiators and Smalley’s arrangement of Rossini’s La Danza whetted the appetite of the audience. The group followed with most!’ new or recently composed works and one euphonium/tuba quartet standard. The Casbah of Tetouan by Kerry Turner (originally for brass quintet) was reset for euphonium/tuba quartet by Philippe Gallet’s wife very successfully as evidenced by their performance. The quartet demonstrated that it’s a very good thing
o have a nice relationship with the management of your employers. Jean- Jacque Charles, the assistant conductor of the Paris Police Band has written two works for the group. The first is a two- movement work called Pictural, a very programmatic two movement work. The first movement, “Modigliani,” features close harmony and was played with perfect balance and intonation. The second movement, “Toulouse Lautrec” provides the opportunity for display of fabulous ensemble technique. The second work by Charles, Tribal, received its world premiere in this recital. It’s a short work which begins in a very primitive (“tribal”) vein, but gradually evolves to be quite “progressive” (as opposed to primitive) in nature. Other works performed included the very well known Ralph Martino Fantasy, Patrick Couttet’s arrangement of Webber’s Music of the Night (world premiere of this arrangement), and Christian Jous’ Entrevue. The latter work, which closed the program, has a clever introduction featuring contrabass tuba and entertaining stage work by other ensemble members, followed by a tarantelle-like section and a samba. This group is already well received and successful everywhere it goes. As is true of the other young professional quartets, it’s only going to get better. Don’t miss the Miraphone Quartet when they come to your part of the world.
The Vassa City Orchestra with Griffiths, Szentpali, Brown and Ham
The Tuesday evening concert found the Vassa City Orchestra back in the main hall of Sibelius Hall to provide accompaniment for four concerto artists (including two winners of ITEC competitions). The evening opened with the now familiar Legend of Heirndall by Elizabeth Raum. We have heard performances of this work by various artists at previous ITECs and at the U.S. Army Band Tuba/Euphonium Conference. This was my first opportunity to hear this magnificent work with orchestra. If you thought
Roland Szentpali (Photo by Pekka Saarinen).
It was magnificent with piano, you haven’t heard ANYTHING yet! Raum’s orchestration of this work makes it reach maximum musical effect, enhancing the programmatic aspect of the piece Imm easurably. I believe that this versionof the work will catapult it into concert halls all over the world. John Griffiths gave an inspired performance fueled by the accompaniment of the Vassa City Orchestra. We all continue to be grateful to John for his efforts in inspiring the composition of major repertoire for the tuba. His performance was followed by a now very familiar face on ITEC and countless other tuba festival stages and in the first of several performances this week – Roland Szentpali. This time, Roland was cast in the role of competition winner. He took the first prize in the Lieksa/ITEC artist tuba solo competition, and this performance with the Vassa City Symphony was part of the prize. Roland, together with the orchestra, gave a well- considered interpretation of Markus Fagerudd’s concerto, ligo ligo. This is repertoire of major difficulty, but both artist and orchestra were up to the task. After intermission, Velvet Brown came to the front of the orchestra to give the world premiere of Franz Cibulka’s Konzert fur Tuba und Orchester. This performance was, in fact, the premiere of the orchestral version of the work. It was originally composed for Ms. Brown with piano accompaniment and given its initial premiere with piano at the Taubtaler Kulturtage 2000. The composer took full advantage of Ms. Brown’s abilities. Like so many composers, he has discovered the wide range of capabilities of our instrument and hasn’t hesitated to use his musical skills to employ those possibilities to full musical advantage. Tuba connoisseurs have come to expect great performances from Velvet Brown, and all expectations were met with this performance. If you have access to a good orchestra, contact Ms. Brown for information on getting this piece and the orchestral accompaniment. It is most attractive for a broad range of audiences. The evening closed with Philip Wilby’s Concerto for Euphonium. Way composed this work in 1995 for Robert Childs, and it has since enjoyed wide popularity among the best euphoniumists. It was a perfect choice for the finals of the euphonium artist solo competition, as only the really dedicated musician is going to succeed with this work. Jason Ham, who will complete his undergraduate music work in the U.S. in December before assuming his recently won position with the U.S. West Point Military Academy Band, was the winner of the ITEC 2001 Euphonium Artist Competition. He turned in a stunning reading of Wilby’s Concerto, bringing a number of audience members to their feet at its conclusion. We’ll be looking forward to hearing a lot more from Mr. Ham in the future.
Tormod Flaten, Adam Frey and Joe Skillen perform new works
Norwegian euphoniumist Tormud Flaten brought Wednesday’s first music to our ears at the 11 a.m. program together with the amazing Roberto Arosio. Flaten, principal euphoniumist with the EikangerBjorsvik Musikklag brass band, is another of the current generation of inspired euphonium players in Norway. He presented a varied program, beginning with Philip Wilby’s flugelhom solo, Flight.
This is a piece well-suited to the euphonium in every way, but be sure that you’ve done your Clarke and Arban studies (as has Mr. Flaten) before you tackle it. Following the Wilby, Mr. Flaten played three movements from Bach’s Suite for Violoncello No.4 and the famous Massenet Meditation from “Thais,” displaying his fine musicianship and interpretive abilities. The “fun” for this concert was then had with Torstein Aagaard-Nielsen’s Two Insects. These are part of a series of “insect” pieces from this composer that began with a “mosquito” for trombone. The works of this day were “Dance of the Dragonfly” and “The Moth.” These are very clever programmatic works with plenty of challenge for the euphoniumist. (The moth, by the way, smashes into a street lamp in the end…) The audience then enjoyed a work from the late John Golland, Peace. Although not as well known as his larger works for euphonium, this is a piece that should be as well known. Written in memory of a child from GoHand’s family, this is a beautiful, reflective work that is very user and listener friendly. Flaten’s portion of the recital ended with Howard Snell’s Variations on Drink to Me Only. Steven Mead commissioned this work for the 1999 British Baritone and Euphonium Festival. This music is a cut above the run-of-the-mill theme and variations solos in that it has greater and more interesting variety of musical styles present, as well as both lyrical and technical challenges. It was a real treat to learn of this great Norwegian euphoniumist, and I’m sure we’re going to be hearing more from him.
The morning concert continued with a world premiere from Josh Perry (USA) performed by Adam Frey. According to Frey’s accompanist for the performance, Roberto Arosio, this new work “…sounds a little like Berg.” And I would agree. This piece, Tragedy Mask, was inspired by the Hindemith work of the same name. Mr. Perry’s compositional language is very individual, but very accessible to the listener. The expressive “feel” of the piece is very much neo-romantic. If you’re looking for “something completely different” for your recital program, this piece is worth a listen. Wednesday morning’s recital concluded with Louisiana State University’s Joseph Skillen and the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire’s Barbara Young. Their first selection was Robert Schumann’s Drei Romanzen. Both partners gave this beautiful work a nice reading with the necessary and expected emphasis on expressive line, facilitated by extra nice dynamic variety. Paul Hayden’s Chaconne was written especially for Joe Skillen. Thevery angular writing in this piece makes it challenging for both tubist and pianist. While the work isn’t truly serial (at least for my ears), I perceive that it uses serial techniques as part of its structure. I found it quite easy to enjoy, and it certainly displayed the musical/technical prowess of both players. The program concluded with the Ewazen Sonata/Concerto for Tuba and Piano. If the reader hasn’t noticed, this ITEC found a lot of the “newer” in addition to the “absolutely new” repertoire on stage. While the Ewazen isn’t a “brand new” piece, it’s still a piece that everyone hasn’t had a chance to hear, but it’s absolutely one that everyone needs to hear, as (at least in my opinion) it’s one of the best “newer” things around for the tuba. Whether with piano or with orchestra, this piece “works.” The piano version of the work was done for piano by the composer, so it’s pianist-friendly and (according to Barbara Young) actually fun to play. Joe Skillen gave the work in all its aspects a great performance on this concert.
A Danish/American Mix: Barbara Vestfalen and Skip Gray
The Wednesday afternoon recital opened with a new star on the horizon, Danish euphoniumist Barbara Vestfalen. Read all about Barbara’s recent projects in Jorgen Amsted’s article in the summer 2001 TUBA Journal. As reflected in that article, euphonium players may be smallin number in Denmark, but the future is bright with young players like Ms. Vestfalen. She is already contributing to the future of the instrument by inspiring new works. Her ITEC program consisted of works-by Scandinavian composers. Four Fantasias by Nielsen Gade is a very Romantic era-style piece. The movements are Schumann-like works of modest length. Axel Jorgensen’s Opus 21 Romance was composed around 1970 and is very much in the same vein as the Gade Fantasias – very beautiful recital music that any audience would enjoy, as did today’s audience. Noted Danish composer Ole Schmidt’s Sonata was especially composed for Barbara Vestfalen last year and was premiered at her degree recital. Ole Schmidt has written many works for brass, but not a major work for euphonium until now – and with very fine result. The work is in a very accessible musical language, but shows that Mr. Schmidt has been listening. His requirements of the soloist incorporate challenges of technique and musicianship that would interest any of our finest artists. This is significant repertoire that I hope will be available to everyone soon. Barbara, along with numerous other young artists who performed this week, represents a new generation of euphoniumists who, like Brian Bowman and Steven Mead in their turn, must now go to the “Ole Schmidts” in their own countries and ask for new works in order to advance the repertoire (and thus the future) of the euphonium. Harri Miettunen brought members of the Lahti Chamber Ensemble with him to the stage to perform Leonid Bashmakov’s MUTU for Tuba and Woodwind Quintet with percussion. Although the language is different and percussion is added to the sextet, it has much the same spirit as Julius Jacobsen’s famous Tuba Ballet (for tuba and woodwind quintet). The tuba functions both as ensemble member and as soloist throughout the piece. In solo passages, the tuba must “walk the high wire” from time to time. Bashmakov uses the extreme upper register, and these passages must be precisely in tune to work musically. Harri Miettunen and the Lahti Chamber Players turned in a very nice reading of this fine work. This one really deserves more hearings, so if you have a woodwind quintet and a great percussionist available, try it out! (See the review of MUTU in the New Materials section of this issue of the Journal.)
Skip Gray, president of ITEA, took time from his busy ITEC schedule to share his great musicianship along with his long-time collaborator, Caryl Conger. Their program began with Allen Vizutti’s Fantasia for Tuba. This work was composed for Skip ten years ago, but the original version was for brass ensemble and percussion accompaniment. At Caryl Conger’s suggestion, the work was later re-scored with piano. As might be expected of a work by a trumpet virtuoso, the piece involves a lot of technical playing which Gray negotiated with ease. It is in one continuous movement, but it has considerable musical variety. The next work was (surprisingly!) the famous Ralph Vaughan Williams Folk Song Suite which most of us know as a band work. After hearing the band work on the radio, Skip’s young son asked “…if Daddy could play that on tuba.” Thus, this arrangement was born. The arrangement is successful and useful in that it really makes the listener listen to the work with “new ears,” both for general purposes and as a study for interpretation of the band work. Dr. Gray and Caryl Conger gave the Sibelius Hall audience a fine reading. The final work of the afternoon program, Kent Holliday’s 1992 Sonata for Tuba and Piano, was written with both of these performers in mind. It was nice to hear a work wherein both artists have equally interesting musical work that really contributes to the expressive whole. It is traditionally tonal, but each movement has plentiful rhythmic and harmonic interest. The outer movements have lots of technical challenges. This was yet another in a series of great ITEC performances from Skip Gray and Caryl Conger.
The Finnish Guards Band with Bowman, Szentpali, Frey, Hokozano and Sheridan
Wednesday evening the Finnish Guards’ Band made the one hour drive to Lahti from Helsinki to share music making with our euphonium and tuba artists. This is among the oldest military bands in the world and currently is Finland’s premiere wind band. The program opened with Sisus, a work written for the Concordia College band (Minnesota, USA) by the great Finnish composer friend of euphonium and tuba, Jukka Linkola. The first concerto
artist of the evening was former TUBA President, Dr. Brian L. Bowman, performing Jan Krzyvvicki’s Pastorale for euphonium and band, a piece which is reviewed in the New Materials section of this issue of the Journal. This is a thirty-year old work, however, it was only published last year by the Tuba-Euphonium Press. The work is indeed by and large of a pastoral nature, however, it also has a very grandiose side. This piece is yet another new discovery for me. It is a very “friendly” piece for both soloist and band that has a place in the repertoire. Dr. Bowman gave another spectacular performance. His trademark sound and musicianship are better than ever. The next work on the program was one of the concerti that is enjoying a rapid rise in popularity, Frigyes Hidas’ Concerto for Tuba and Band. For those who haven’t had the opportunity to hear this great work, it explores the upper register timbre of the F tuba perhaps more than any other single work in contemporary tuba repertoire. In the hands of a player like Roland Szentpali, however, one hardly notices the extreme range demands. Great artistry is where talented performers and gifted composers meet, and that was the case on this evening. The final work on the first half of the program was Finnish composer Haiti Wessman’s Preludium and Toccata for Euphonium and Wind Band. Haiti Wessman has contributed several works to the low brass solo repertoire, and it is 411 especially appropriate that we had a world 1 premiere from him for the Lahti ITEC. The piece was written in cooperation with the soloist of the evening, Adam Frey. This work really uses the band well. The bandestration is excellent from beginning to end. The prelude portion of the work is a brief and grand introduction to a true virtuoso work. When euphoniumists start to work on this piecei they should also have their Arban book open to the double tonguing section, as there is extensive double tongue work throughout the Toccata from the get-go. Both Adam Frey and the band gave a very convincing performance.
The second half of the program began with Robert Smith’s Wilson Suite for Euphonium and Band. This work, commisi sioned by the Willson Company (Switzerland), is nature-inspired. The first movement depicts a tornado, the second rain, and the third a storm. Shohiro Hokazono, euphoniumist from the Japanese Air Force Band, gave a world- class performance of the work, and the Guards’ Band also gave an outstanding reading of the work, lending a special touch to its programmatic nature. I’ve heard Mr. Hokazono perform before. He’s always ready for the task at hand, but this performance was extra special – among the very best at an ITEC where every 40 performance was fabulous. He represents the great tradition of euphonium playing in Japan at its very best. The final soloist for the evening was the inimitable Patrick Sheridan performing Martin Ellerby’s Tuba Concerto, yet another of the relatively recent concerti that are making a splash around the world (and, notably, a number of them seem to be coming from England!). This work is very audience friendly in that it is absolutely one of the most exciting concerti of the lot. This 41 performance by Mr. Sheridan was beyon4 exciting. Just when one thinks they’ve heard him reach his pinnacle in any given aspect of technique, articulation, or expression, he takes another step forward. Here’s hoping we find a recording of this work with wind band featuring Pat Sheridan in the near future. The evening came to a close with Aulis Sallinen’s Palatsi-rapsodia, featuring the Guards’ Band. Again, a large ITEA thank you to the Finnish Guards’ Band and conductors Elias Seppala and Raine Ampuja for facilitating this concert.
A Tuba Sandwich Recital: Bowman, AsKew and Frey
The Andante and Rondo (Capuzzi/arr. Philip Catelinet) was performed at the first ITEC in 1973 by (then U.S. Coast Guard) tubist, Tucker Jolly. Dr. Brian Bowman chose this revered work to open the Thursday morning recital. As mentioned earlier, the classic Bowman sound that has so long set the standard for euphoniumists in the U.S. and around the world continues to be “right there.” The Finland premiere of John Stevens’ Soliloquies was next on the program. This work, designed to be accessible to a broad range of euphoniumists in the college/ professional ranks, consists of four contrasting movements, each conveying a different mood. Dr. Bowman gave a stirring performance. Congratulations to John Stevens on yet another “winner.” Eidolons by William Latham received one of its earliest performances from Brian Bowman and Barbara Young at the University of Illinois in 1977. The composer, a faculty member at the (then) North Texas State University, was commissioned to write this work by the NTSU TUBA Chapter. As Dr. Bowman is a member of the music faculty at the (now) University of North Texas, he elected to bring forward this “chestnut,” a very forward-looking work in the late 1970s, for the ITEC program and took advantage of the opportunity to recreate the musical partnership of twenty-four years ago with Dr. Young. Dr. Bowman Closed his portion of the program with the euphonium classic, Romance by Gustav Cords and dedicated the performance to his wife, Vinette, who traveled with him to Lahti for this conference. Once again, this is the outstanding musicianship and lyrical sound that has made Brian Bowman’s name household fare in the homes of low brass music lovers around the world for more than thirty years. Drs. Bowman and Young provided a brilliant beginning to another great day at ITEC 2001.
Dennis AsKew and Caryl Conger next came to the front of Carpentry Hall to make music. As competition coordinator for ITEA, this had to be a special pleasure for Dr. AsKew, as he was wearing his administrative hat (rather than his musical hat) for most of the week. AsKew and Conger began their program with the Telemann Sonata in E minor. So often, low brass players don’t “do their homework” when playing Baroque or Classical works – that was not the case with this performance. The interpretation was well thought out with appropriate ornamentation, etc. Just a Thought by our special American composer friend, James Grant, came next on the program. This work is part of a recent series of works commissioned by a consortium of some seventy euphonium and tuba players. It is in a pop/ballad style. The melody and phrasing scheme makes one think of Sinatra, in fact. Here is a piece that would be accessible (very accessible, in fact) to any amateur player, but is also suitable as a lyric interlude on any recital program. The program closed with Enrique Crespo’s Escenas Latinas . Avid euphonium and tuba fans know Crespo’s work in several venues, many from his latin-influenced Three Milongas on the Gerhard Meinl’s Tuba Sextet album of several years ago. These dance-based movements are in the same spirit (as the milongas), although somewhat different in flavor. Like Crespo’s earlier works, they are fun for both players and audiences and are very challenging rhythmically. Dr. AsKew’s tuba was a victim of the Bermuda Triangle of the airlines, so special thanks to Yamaha Scandinavia for facilitating this performance by providing him with an 822 F tuba. Although this was AsKew’s and Conger’s first time to work together, it seemed as though they had been a team for years.
The final work of the morning was the Vladimir Cosma Euphonium Concerto, bringing the very busy gentlemen Adam Frey and Roberto Arosio to work once again. Cosma is a French film music composer who composed this work for the 1998 World Euphonium Solo Competition. Frey describes the work as nice, but very difficult (particularly the final movement). This is indeed an “ultimate” competition work in that it is a grab bag of everything a euphoniumist at the top level of artistry should be able to do. Interestingly, the work seems to have a rather “Latin” feel throughout the piece. It is indeed very difficult, but this performance was brought off with great panache by Mssrs. Frey and Arosio. Frey’s enjoyment of the work is readily evident in his stage presence, and his memorization of this large and complex work is worthy of note.
Arosio Rides Again… with Levy and Szentpali
Wednesday’s 3:00 concert featured pianist Roberto Arosio with euphonium soloist Eran Levy and tubist Roland Szentpali, two of the brightest young artists on the international scene. Mr. Levy began his program with Debussy’s Syrinx (originally for flute) and gave a tender interpretation of this work, which has become a standard “borrowed work” for euphonium and tuba players around the world. The Allegretto quasi Menuetto movement from Brahms E minor Cello Sonata followed. This movement is very well chosen. It lies very well for the euphonium and is a perfect piece of Romantic era repertoire for euphonium – one of those works that is idiomatic for a wind instrument, making no musical sacrifices. Levy next played an original euphonium work. The Boccolari Fantasia di Concerto is one of the early euphonium solos which is NOT in theme and variations form. This solo was brought to the fore and popularized by Brian Bowman in numerous performances with the U.S. Air Force Band in the 1970s and 1980s, and it is wonderful to hear it come to life once again with the younger generation of euphonium players. After the energy of the Boccalari, the peaceful relief of Levy’s lyric reading of The Last Rose of Summer provided a clean palette for the Levy/ Arosio interpretation of “Rasch und Feur” from Robert Schumann’s Fantasiestucke, Op.73. This is another Romantic era work that lends itself well to the euphonium. I was lucky enough to hear an early rehearsal of this work with these artists – their open collaboration in developing the interpretation was wonderful to hear. It’s important to remember that the relationship with an accompanist or an accompanying ensemble is a collaboration and, as evidenced in this performance, the results of that attitude are almost always fruitful. Levy’s portion of the recital ended with Paganini’s Mow Perpetuo – an amazing virtuosic display. It should be noted tlit Mr. Levy performed his entire program from memory and effortlessly so.
The second solo artist of the afternoon was Roland Szentpali, an internationally recognized “young lion” of the tuba who we were fortunate to hear a lot at this ITEC. He began his program with a bit of humor, explaining (tongue in cheek) that, as a tubist, he prefers to avoid sharp keys, so he transposed the Vivaldi Concerto in G major to F major. Regardless of choice of key, the performance was one that was effortless and musical in all its facets. Also, the choice of key flowed seamlessly into Cherubini’s Sonata in F major (originally for horn), Roland’s choice for the second work of the day. This sonata is quite user friendly for F tuba players, as well as for their audiences. That said, one wants to approach this work with both eyes open, because it has technical demands worthy of any Arban
A person can’t do this alone!!
Special thanks go to the dedicated ITEC 2001 staff in Lahti who have been working with Harri Lidsle for the past two years to make our week in Finland perfect. Staff members include Niina Kivela, Conference Secretary; Anne Antila-Olkku, Press and Information; Helena Heinonen, General Secretary (a.k.a. “Cash Mama”); Office Secretaries Taina Lehtovaara, Milia Kuisma, and Marika Kosonen; Antti Ahonen, Events and Entertainment Manager; Pekka Saarinen, Official Photographer; and Jani Alaranta and Sanna Paivanen, Computer Support. These wonderful people didn’t just do their work – they did their work with a smile that made everyone feel welcome and important.
Roland Szentpali says thanks to Anne Antila-Olkku and the information desk staff. (Photo by Jerry Young).
The office secretaries are caught in a rare stationary moment. (Photo by Jerry Young).
Harri Lidsle and Helena Heinonen taking care of business. (Photo by Jerry Young).
or Clarke solos. For Mr. Szentpali in this setting those challenges are child’s play. He gave an outstanding reading today. The real fun of his program came with his performance of Sarasate’s Gypsy Airs . Since most brass players are familiar with rhis “borrowed” repertoire (from the world of the violin), suffice it to say that he gave a virtuosic performance that left everyone in the audience with a smile. The last work of this outstanding program was a recent sonata for bassoon by Frenchman Alexander Tansmann, a work unfamiliar to most of the ITEC audience. It is absolutely a neo-Romantic work, very tonal, and a nice balance of lyrical and (very) technical writing which, of course, plays to the strengths of Roland Szentpali. Roland brought out his friend from Hungary, Janos Mazura, for a jazz duet to close the afternoon’s program. With young artists like Eran Levy and Roland Szentpali just beginning what promise to be brilliant careers, we can rest assured that the artistic future of our instruments is in great hands.
Photos by Pekka Saarinen.
Euphonium artist competitors have a light moment with JETA President, Toshio Saito and Adam Frey.
Sam Sharp of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA takes a minute for some respite in the midst of a busy Lahti ITEC day.
Mama Maria’s Italian restaurant honored the Conference by presenting special dishes, including “Spaghetti alia Daniel Perantoni” and “Gelato alia Brian Bowman.” Here Dan and Judy Perantoni and Bob and Krista Tucci “sample the goods” at Mama Maria’s.
The Elliotts (of Doug Elliott Mouthpieces) travelled all the way to Finland to display their wares. Thanks to ALL the exhibitors for their contributions to ITEC 2001.
Press conferences took place every day at ITEC 2001. The very first one on Sunday afternoon included (l,r) Erkki Toivanen, Patrick Sheridan, Harri Lidsle, Skip Gray and Hannu Norjanen (conductor of the Vassa City Orchestra).
A Gift from Japan: Hokazono and Sato in Recital
Carpentry Hall, part of the former joiner’s factory to which Sibelius hall is attached, was the setting for several solo and chamber recitals early and late in the week so that the Lahti Symphony could have access to the main hall for rehearsals. Friday morning’s musical activity began there with presentations from Sho-ichiro Hokazono (euphonium) from the Japanese Air Force Band and Kyoshi Sato of the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra and Musashino Music Academy (Senzoku-Gakuen University). Hokazono opened his program with two movements (one and four) from Bach’s Fourth Violin Sonata. These movements lie well for euphonium and show Mr. Hokazono at his musical best. The second work in the program was Knichiro !soda’s new work, Three Cherry Blossoms . This piece puts both euphoniumist and pianist to the test. While the euphonium part is challenging, the piano part is a tour-de- force and was absolutely masterfully played by Roberto Arosio. Mr. Hokazono did a splendid job of negotiating the numerous change of mood and technical demands of this very fine new work. Jun Nagao’s beautiful Sakura (for unaccom- panied euphonium) followed the Isoda piece. Mr. Hokazono’s lyrical playing is as fine as any heard this week. Even the jig- like fast portion of the music “sang” (and danced as well) for the audience. The final work on the first half of the program was Takashi Yashimatsu’s Metal Snail Suite. The first movement is a really fun work to hear, and I would guess that it’s also fun to play once the learning is done. The movement is very technically demanding, but is even more rhythmi- cally “exciting” (so to speak). The second movement is a lyrical, aria-like piece with demanding dynamic contours, beautifully played today. The third section is a light blues performed with mute that could easily stand on its own as a character piece. The fourth movement is unaccom- panied and quite exciting – interpreting this movement takes a lot of imagination. The fifth movement sees a return to the jazz idiom – almost a reprise of the blues movement. The beginning of the sixth movement seems to be somewhat incongruous with the rest of the piece, involving brief (and sometimes violent) exchanges between the euphonium and piano. Suddenly the final movement, a true “boogie-woogie” piece (on which Arosio really “got down”), breaks forth from the confusion of the prior move- ment, bringing the work to an exciting (and fun) conclusion. The Yashimatsu piece is a fantastic “audience piece” for accomplished euphoniumists – a fabulous “closer” for any program. Mr. Hokazono is a fine, consistent, and entertaining performer. We’ll be looking forward to hearing him more often on international stages.
The second set of performers of the morning, Kiyoshi Sato and Caryl Conger began their program with a welcome old friend, the Alec Wilder Sonata for Tuba and Piano. Mr. Sato’s interpretation of this standard work was lovely. His attention to dynamic detail was particu- larly appreciated. Performing this work with a person who knows it as well as Caryl Conger makes it a special treat for both the soloist and the audience. Hidetoshi Takumi is a Tokyo area theatre, film, and television composer who happens to be a good friend of the euphonium and tuba. He has already produced a fine euphonium solo work and several works for euphonium/tuba quartet and for tuba ensemble. He composed his Sonatina especially for Mr. Sato to premiere at ITEC 2001. It is a three movement piece of “absolute music” that uses a unique, but not unpleasant, musical language. The first movement is fast and energetic, requiring the soloist to get around the horn nimbly. The second movement is quite “dark” in character and more extended than most slow movements in three-movement format. The second and third movements seem to bring out the “film music composer” side of the composer best. Although the music is absolute in intent, one can hardly help envisioning a series of scenes. Mr. Sato closed his program with a traditional Japanese lullaby tune, Lullaby in Takeda. This was a very simple and elegant presentation of a beautiful tune reminiscent of an American folk tune (“Hush Little Baby”). It was beautifully played by the Sato/Conger duo, and this brought the morning concert to a pleasant close.
McDonnell, Perantoni, Hotzel and Twisted Steel in Carpentry Hall
A very full afternoon of musical festivities began in Carpentry Hall at 3:00 and went virtually continuously until almost 7:00p.m. The first artist of the afternoon was New Zealand euphoniumist Riki McDonnell, assisted by the ever- strong hands of Roberto Arosio. Although many of us have heard the name and great things about Riki McDonnell, few have had the opportunity to hear him perform live in our hemisphere, at least recently. He certainly lives up to the good reputation that precedes him. After the first note of the Brandt Concertpiece (Opus 12), it was evident that the audience was in for a treat. McDonnell has a rich, velvety sound that represents the best of the British euphonium school tradition. Robert Redhead’s Comfort my People (Themes from Isaiah 40) and Frocco’s Arosio (arr. Mauder), both examples of the finest in lyrical/vocal style on the euphonium, provided a nice contrast and a moment for reflection. John Ritchie, a New Zealand composer, wrote the next work, Introduction and Allegro, for the New Zealand Brass Band Association. As reflected by the title, this piece picked up the pace, displaying that Mr. McDonnell is a lot more than “just another pretty sound.” The work was delivered with a lot of energy and verve, setting the soundscape for Peter Graham’s The Holy Well, yet another lovely lyric work. Kenneth Young, tubist of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, composed Reveries for Riki McDonnell especially for his performance at ITEC 2001. This piece also highlight’s his considerable ability as an interpreter of melodies and is a particularly nice new work for euphonium. Here’s hoping it will be made available soon. The next work on the program, Bozza’s Rustiques for Trumpet and Piano, works very well on the euphonium. This is a very typical Bozza work with a mix of beautiful melodic material and “knuckle busting” technique. I had not previously heard the work played on euphonium – but I think I prefer it on euphonium! Brian Goff’s popular 1992 composition, Midnight Euphonium (a piece I’d like to hear more often) came next. If you’re seeking a nice ballad-type work for your next recital, maybe this is it. If you want to “know how it goes,” hear McDonnell’s performance on his CD recording on which this is the title track. He performed it beautifully today. Pokerekereana, a Mauri love song by Tomoana (arr. Mauder) brought the program to a close. Today’s recital was a primer in lyrical playing and consistent beauty of sound.
Following Riki McDonnell was former TUBA President and long-time international tuba artist/teacher Daniel Perantoni with pianist Caryl Conger. The program began with Handel’s Sonata No.3 in F Major (0p.1, No.5, arr. Fred Stemple). For those who have studied Baroque repertoire with “Mr. P.,” this performance brought back memories of lessons learned about basics of great musicianship and presentation. Anthony Plog’s Concerto for Tuba (commissioned by Miraphone’s Markus Theinert) has not yet been widely heard, so this was a great choice for an ITEC program. This was, in fact, the first performance of the work with piano. Most serious brass players are familiar with Tony Plog’s writing. If he has written anything that isn’t good, then he destroyed it. Per expectation, this isn’t an easy piece (although Perantoni makes it sound easy), but, as is true of other works by Plog, it will be worth your effort to play it. Mr. Perantoni discovered the music of Astor Piazzola via his association with the St. Louis Brass Quintet and has developed a special affinity for it. His arrangements of Piazzola’s Two Tangos for tuba and piano which followed the Plog Concerto are very sweet and tasty. These are more “hope they become available” items. When and if they are, I’ll certainly be playing them, and I think you’ll want to also. The recital concluded with Richard Domek’s setting of the Arban Carnival of Venice, a Perantoni standard, which was played better than ever. Thanks to Caryl Conger for another terrific performance.
After a short break, the afternoon of music continued with well-known German tuba virtuoso, Markus Hotzel. In fact, he opened his concert with a fanfare that he composed especially for this occasion, Little Opening for ITEC 2001 for solo tuba. After hearing F and E-flat tuba almost exclusively this week, it was a treat to hear a BB-flat tuba played so exquisitely and virtuosically. The first major work on the program was Hungarian composer, Zsoltan Gardonyi’s Sonate far Tuba. This work, written over fifty years ago, may have originally been intended for double bass, but was ultimately deemed appropriate for tuba. This three-movement piece may pre-date the Hindemith Sonate and actually bears resemblance to quite contemporary neoRomantic works in its demands of the performer. Works of this difficulty, along with other twentieth century works composed before 1950 (such as the Revueltas orchestral parts) serve to remind us that modern tuba playing didn’t begin in 1960 or 1970, but, indeed, many years before. Thanks to Hotzel for bringing this important work to our attention. The program continued with the Manfred Wess Capriccio, a true virtuoso work that takes the player from one end of the horn to the other with great vigor. This work requires remarkable facility of technique and articulation, however, inside all of the “fireworks,” there is a lot of very viable musical expression. This is a piece only for the top artists, and Markus Hazel absolutely qualifies in that category. Kudos (again) to Roberto Arosio for a spectacular job with the very demanding (and soloistic) accompaniment. And there was still more work to come for Mr. Arosio! The program closed with Jewgenij Feldmann’s Sonate fiir Tuba und Klavier, another work that should be reserved only for the most mature musicians. The words that come to mind to describe this piece are “very dramatic.” The pianist creates a background landscape/soundscape against which the tuba makes declamatory statements – very “atmospheric” in nature. Both instruments receive significant solo treatment throughout the piecei This is very much chamber music defined:I Today’s performance by Markus Hazel reaffirms him as one of the leading virtuosi of the new generation of tubists.
Twisted Steel had a remarkable two- week stint at the Lieksa and Lahti conferi ences. Their Friday afternoon concert found them almost at the end of a very busy week with only two children’s concerts (on Saturday) to go. Their program began with Tom Stein’s setting of the Russian and Ludmilla Overture, a good workout for fingers, tongue, and accurate ensemble playing. In total contrast, the group followed with the Barber Adagio, also set for euphonium/tuba quartet by Tom Stein of the University of Missouri – Kansas City. This is among the best of the several settings of this 20th century masterpiece. John Stevens’ classic, Dances, was one of two works originally composed for euphonium/tuba quartet on the program. William Hess was the featured soloist. Both soloist and accompanists gave the piece a very solid reading. Ensemble dynamics were particularly fine in this performance. For “something completely different,” the quartet turned to Skip Gray’s ever-popular setting of Gabrieli’s Canzona per Sonare No .4 , one of the finest and most performed arrangements for this medium. This work served as a fine segue to an arrangement of the aria Nessun Dcrrma from Puccini’s Turandot (arranged by Tom Stein). The program closed with a work that’s gaining rapid popularity, Peter Smalley’s Cool Suite. The addition of drum set to this work adds a new facet to euphonium/tuba quartet. As with Rhythm ‘n Brass, the use of set and other “spice for the ears” can really enhance the listening experience for the audience. The Smalley Suite is a very attractive set of four movements in jazz/ pop style that makes for an attractive Closer or opener. Twisted Steel played it extremely well, and thus put a nice exclamation point on a wonderful (if a bit long) afternoon of music making.
The World’s Heaviest Band
The World’s Heaviest Band plays for a large crowd at Lahti Harbor (Photo by Jerry Young).
Saturday morning began at the Lahti Harbor with “The World’s Heaviest Band.” Conference participants formed an impressive ensemble to perform for a large crowd at a major boat show. As Lahti Harbor is just outside the back of Sibelius Hall, this event was a natural. Under the baton of Osmo Vanska of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra (and Conductor Designate of the Minnesota Orchestra, USA), the ensemble performed a traditional Finnish tune, En voi sua unhoittaa poies, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy (both arranged by M. Lidsle) and, in honor of the hundreds of boaters present, Anchors Aweigh. The group represented our instruments very well to the audience of several hundred people attending the boat show. I’ve heard many such groups at ITECs, and I can’t remember hearing a finer performance. Some of the audience members abandoned the boat show and purchased tickets for the noon concert in Sibelius Hall!
Matt Tropman and Jens Bjorn-Larsen take the stage
The first “main hall” concert of the day featured Matt Tropman from “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. I have known Matt since he was a middle school student in Michigan. It is particularly exciting to be able to follow a career such as his from its beginnings to present. He began his recital with an unaccompanied arrangement from Gary Buttery. Buttery (retired principal tubist of the U.S. Coast Guard Band and our finest authority on ethnic music from a wide variety of cultures) set this piece from an ancient melody for oud, a traditional Middle Eastern instrument. Tropman played with feeling and obvious understanding of the provenance of the piece. The centerpiece of the program was Tropman’s own arrangement of several “highlight” tunes from Leonard Bemstein’s Westside Story. He was accompanied by an ensemble of Lahti musicians consisting of piano, bass, drum set, and multiple percussion (a total of four players). The arrangement is very tasteful. While he provides plenty of opportunity for the euphonium to shine, exploring the upper register, technique, etc., he also gives space for other members of the ensemble to display their musical skills. As this arrangement includes most of the principal tunes from the musical (in show order, by the way), it does take significant time to play, but the musical content and quality of the arrangement make if ideal for half of a concert. Before tackling the work, though, one should have as good command of the wide variety of styles represented as does Matt Tropman. This is an outstanding piece of work, and today’s performance was equally outstanding. The final work on the program was Picchi’s Fantasie Originate, a solo very familiar to U.S. euphoniumists, arranged by the earliest Italian/American euphonium superstar, Simone Mantia. Tropman and Caryl Conger gave the Sibelius Hall audience a superb reading of the work. Special thanks to The U.S. Marine Band, Colonel Tim Foley Commander and Conductor, for allowing Matt Tropman to come to Lahti this week. He represents the fine tradition of euphonium artistry that runs deep in the U.S. military bands in general and particularly in “The President’s Own.”
Matt Tropman (Photo by Pekka Saarinen).
Jens Bj0m-Larsen and pianist Kari Hanninen came to the stage to perform Danish composer, Vagn Holmboe’s, 1985 Sonata, Op.162. Jens has been a well- known soloist, orchestral musician, and teacher for a number of years. This performance reminded us why. His absolute control of the instrument is remarkable. This work requires much finesse in all three movements, but particularly in the tender second movement. The second work of the day, also by Holmboe, was Notater, Op. 140 for three trombones and tuba. This is another among a growing list of very fine Scandinavian works for trombones and tuba. The tuba serves both as an equal member of the quartet and as a soloist, the largest solo for tuba occurring in the second movement. This is a fun work of artistic quality that would work well on a recital for any graduate student or professional artist. The next piece on the program was Lamento written by Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina in 1977. It is a reflection of the pre- Glasnost Soviet Union and the lack of freedom of expression (artistic and otherwise) that existed at that time. This is a highly effective artwork that should speak to audiences everywhere. Again, Jens’ control of musical expression, particularly at extremely soft dynamics was amazing. The final two works on this program were by Jens Bjorn-Larsen’s friend Mortin Akerwall, and were taken from a set of six pieces based on poems, Moment d’ete. The first is an extremely gentle, soft piece, depicting the delicate balance of love. The second is a simple, lyric tune called “Song of May.” It is bright and hopeful in character. Jens Bjorn-Larsen is one of the great musical hearts of the tuba. He and Kari Hanninen provided a very special and musical conclusion to this Saturday morning in Lahti.
Father and Son Shine
After a very short break, the afternoon main hall recital began, featuring Robert and David Childs. They described their concert presentation as three faceted: contemporary/classical/fun. The program opened with a duo composed by Elgar Howarth in tribute to the late John Fletcher called simply Cantabile for John Fletcher. This duet (originially composed for Robert and Nicholas Childs) uses a dissonant language to which I am unaccustomed to hearing from Mr. Howarth, however it succinctly captures the anguish we all felt at “Fletch’s” untimely passing. We were next treated to a solo performance by Bob Childs. John GoHand’s Euphonium Concerto No.1 was premiered by Childs in Australia a number of years ago. Each movement has its own flavor. The first is a true virtuoso showpiece with a bit of jazz influence. The second is on the melancholy side, as it was written during a serious illness suffered by the composer, and the final movement (a return to the more joyous side) was written for his parents. This is a work that is “owned” by Bob Childs, although it is performed by others regularly. The depth of feeling in his interpretation is palpable. Today’s concert was a sort of “tag-team” effort. Bob Childs left the stage, and David took over to perform Philip Wilby’s Euphonium Concerto, another work composed for Bob Childs. Wilby’s works are well known and appreciated by euphoniumists everywhere. Suffice it to say here that David played the socks off of this one. Here is another young artist who not only is going to carry the torch of the euphonium to the generation to follow him – he’ll improve the design of the torch and turn up the heat of the flame! Charles Stanford, (a contemporary of Elgar) composed the next work, Caine, for the clarinet originally, but it works quite well for euphonium. Bob Child’s interpretation is gentle and sweet. David Childs next “jumped back into the ring” to perform an arrangement of the Hummel Fantasy. As noted by David, the late 18th/early 19th century “fantasy” is very comparable to the “air vane.” This work uses a bit from Mozart’s Don Giovanni to accomplish its mission. It suits the euphonium so well – early euphonium solo repertoire was obviously thoroughly influenced by such compositions, so this is appropriate “borrowing,” and the younger Childs negotiated it with ease. The Childs duo returned to perform Keith Wilkinson’s arrangement of Bizet’s Deep Inside the Sacred Temple. As an “oldster,” I immediately began to relive the sounds of Nicholas and Robert Childs that we have all enjoyed so much over the years. The Childs signature sound and sensitivity lives on. David left the stage to give his Father a chance to shine with his self- confessed favorite theme and variation solo, Rule Britannia, after which he (David) followed suit with the Tutta Camerat version of the Arban Carnival of Venice. Both players displayed great virtuosity and control with these “just for fun” tunes. The recital ended with Philip Sparke’s Two Part Invention written originally for the Childs Brothers duo. Based on a familiar Bach two-part invention, this work “invents” a lot more material and challenge for the performers and fun for the audiences. The audience demanded an extra bit of fun, so the father/son duo obliged with an exciting rendition of The Flight of the Bumblebee. This concert represented another ITEC “first,”as I don’t recall any other father/ son duos performing at one of our conferences.
And Something for the Younger Set…
While Jens Bjorn-Larsen and the Childs Duo were performing in the main hall, other things were happening in other parts of Sibelius Hall especially to involve youngsters in ITEC 2001. With balloons flying in Carpentry Hall, Twisted Steel strolled into the first of their two Saturday Children’s Concerts at noon, delighting their young audience with the jazzy and upbeat Just a Closer Walk with Thee. The kids quickly got into the spirit of the program with help from Finnish narrator Alex Saraskari, who introduced each piece and encouraged a great deal of “kid-like” interaction – finger snapping, clapping, and singing – to the strains of The Pink Panther, Cool Suite, and a varieti of Finnish children’s songs. Hoping to recruit future ITEA members, the group took time during the program to demonstrate the range and musical capabilities of both the euphonium and the tuba. After the “cool” tunes and toe tapping were over, Twisted Steel invited their young listeners onto the stage for their final selection, William Tell Overture. The young faces watched with amazement as the musicians galloped their way to a rousing conclusion. (Thanks to Julie and Alex Gray for being our special eyes, ears, and pen for this event! Ed.)
The Lahti Symphony Orchestra, featuring Harri Lidsle and Steven Mead
ITEC 2001 extends special gratitude to Maestro Osmo Vanska and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra for their participation in this conference. This marks the first time since 1990 (Sapporo ITEC) that a fully intact major symphony orchestra has made itself available to us. They proved to an international audience on both Friday and Saturday evenings why their international reputation is well deserved. As the same program was performed each evening, I attended the Saturday evening performance. The overture for the evening was Verdi’s Triumphal March from Ada. This was a very crisp, clean reading, replete with antiphonal herald trumpets in the left and right upper balconies of Sibelius Hall’s main concert hall. The brass playing was nothing short of glorious. After this exciting prelude, the Lahti Symphony’s own tubist and our Conference Host, Harri Lidsle, got the spotlight to perform Kalevi Aho’s Concerto. Lidsle worked closely with Aho during the compositional process for this work, which was supported by the Madetoja Fund, Saveltaidetoimikunta, and the Association of Finnish Brass Players. The work, which is in three movements, is in a nontraditional musical language, as were several works this week. The first movement is alternately angular and lyrical with several tension/release cycles. The second movement begins with extreme tension and builds from there, using repeated crescendi throughout the movement. The tuba seems to be “commenting” on orchestral statements. In this movement, the composer uses very transparent orchestrations with woodwinds and percussion to allow the tuba color to dominate the texture. A cadenza allows the soloist the opportunity to put a personal touch on the movement. I would describe this movement overall as “music looking fora film.” It truly sets the image machine of the mind to work. The final movement begins very lyrically with barely an edge of tension. As the movement progresses, tremolos in the strings and busy (virtuosic) woodwinds behind the tuba build to a climax. In the last part of the movement, a gradual decrescendo takes place wherein the tuba is again featured against a veil of strings and harp, leading the work to a quiet, almost surreal, conclusion. Harri Lidsle’s singing tone, imagination, and facile technique lent much to this premiere performance. Special thanks to the composer for including the euphonium in his orchestration of this work and, again, thanks to Maestro Vanska and the orchestra for the immense amount of preparation that was invested in this performance.
After intermission, ITEA President, Skip Gray, greeted the audience and expressed appreciation to the City of Lahti and Maestro Vanska and the Orchestra. Plaques of appreciation were presented to Past-President Scott Watson and Conference Host Harri Lidsle, and ITEC 2002 co-hosts Dennis AsKew and Bart Collins extended an invitation to all present to come to Greensboro, North Carolina for next year’s conference.
An Unforgettable Finnish Week
by Yuval Zolotov
Editor’s Note: Yuval Zolotov, a young tubist from Israel, experienced his first /TEC in Lahti. I asked him to provide a short summary of his experiences and thoughts relative to his time in Lahti. As you’ll read below, there’s reason for YOU to consider making his experience your own in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA next May!
My name is Yuval Zolotov and I am a 21 year old tuba player from Israel. I wanted to share with you some of the thoughts and feelings after attending my first ITEC in Lahti, Finland. Months ago, it seemed to me like a bad idea to spend so much money and effort just to hear players who are better than me, but looking back, deciding to attend was one of my best decisions, and the week was one of the greatest weeks that I have ever experienced. I always knew that tuba players are of a somewhat different nature than other musicians (and humans), but this week lent truth to this thought (sorry euph. players – I haven’t explored your nature yet!!). Everybody was so enthusiastic about sharing their talent and knowledge, and it was a pure joy to spend so much time among these fine musicians. I had the opportunity to play in three masterclasses and four clinics, and this experience influenced my playing immensely. I heard different musicians saying different things, and it all has already had great effect on my progress on the tuba. Traveling with my tuba to Finland was not an easy task, and the airlines rubbed me for my “overweight” baggage, but it was surely worth the effort!!! Hearing the world’s finest musicians and players in this compressed week was very enjoyable, and I’m sure nobody will forget this great musical experience (not me, anyway).
In addition to the musical events, we had lots of fun. Especially unforgettable are the memories of Brian Bowman folk dancing and the boot throwing of Warren Deck (playing a traditional Finnish game). Among other things, we walked “Nordically,” tried the Tuba Sauna and, of course, tried our best in the Tuba Throwing Competition. The World’s Heaviest Band was a fun and interesting experience too. I’m not so sure that we were 500, but the many local people who came to hear and cheer made this rainy event a great fun.
Harri Lidsle and the wonderful ITEC Team deserve many compliments and great credit for this wonderful week. I’m sure they have worked very hard for this week, and they did a great job. In my opinion, both time and money are issues of priority. I highly recommend that everyone plan to take part in the next ITECs. This week was remarkably helpful for my playing, and I had a great time too. I really hope to see all my new friends soon and hope that others will join us for the future conferences. See you in Greensboro!
P.S. – I’m sure that you won’t find a tuba player anywhere on the globe that doesn’t know what a “Lapin Kuhn” is….
Norwegian composer, Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen’s Euphonium Concerto, the first work on the second half of the program, was commissioned by Steven Mead and ITEC 2001 with support from the The Norwegian Composer’s Fund. According to the program notes, the work “…is in one movement that can be divided into five different sections.” The various sections contrast widely, ending with “…a coda that contains material from previous sections and a concluding fecitativo.” The composer generated a unique melodic/ harmonic system for the composition of this work. Again, quoting from his own notes: “I started with only seven notes and generated a harmonic reservoir. I made a chord out of the seven notes and then made chord progressions that always ended with the inverted version of the first. In these chords I also found the material for the solo part.” This new concerto showcases everything that Steven Mead does so well in terms of lyricism, agility, and overall superior musicianship within a framework that we are not so accustomed to hearing him. His adaptability is truly phenomenal. As one who has been hearing a variety of performances from Mr. Mead for over fifteen years, I would have to say that this performance makes it clear that Steven Mead can play anything, period. Congratulations to Steven Mead, Maestro Vanska and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra for their magnificent preparation and realization of this new work. The program concluded with a stirring performance of Janacek’s Sinfonietta, featuring the Nordic Brass Ensemble performing the supplementary brass parts.
SUNDAY (the last day!)
The World Honors Euphonium/Tuba Ensemble
The final day of the conference opened with the World Honors Euphonium/Tuba Ensemble under the baton of ITEA Vice President, Mary Ann Craig. The program began with Greg Fritze’s setting of Banchieri’s Two Fantasias, an antiphonal work with choirs spread to four parts of the concert hall. The work began in total darkness with each “choir” being lit by spotlights as intial entrances were made – a very effective touch. The program continued with Ray Dempsey’s challenging work, Now Hear This. The clarity of the technical passages was remarkable. Mike Forbes has made a new setting of von Suppe’s Poet and Peasant Overture for large euphonium/tuba ensemble. Somehow, he managed to “get it all in there!” If you have a large ensemble, this is one your group will really enjoy playing and audiences will enjoy hearing. The ensemble did a superb job. All of the inherent problems (whether played with orchestra, concert band or euphonium/ tuba ensemble) relative to balance were solved in the rehearsals. What an exciting performance! For a total contrast, the ensemble next played the Tchesnokov Salvation is Created (an. E. Goias). This beautiful performance was dedicated to the memory of mentors and champions of the euphonium and tuba who have passe4 away. After this quiet musical moment, the first half of the program ended with the world premiere of Gregory Fritze’s Uluru. Uluru is the Aboriginal name of the large monolith in the Australian Outback known more commonly as Ayres Rock, which the Aborigines believe to be magical. This is one of Fritze’s most exciting works yet. It feeds the imagination with all manner of programmatic material both from the ensemble and from the accompanying percussion. While the piece is technically demanding, it would not be at all impossible for most college • ensembles. This is one of those works that offers both the opportunity for doing some great teaching and a piece which will be an audience highlight anywhere. The second half of the program opened with a new arrangement from Skip Gray of Giovanni Gabrieli’s Canzona 12 done especially for this occasion and this ensemble. I expect that this arrangement will be as popular as his setting’ of Canzona per Sonctre No.4 , a $ staple in the euphonium/tuba ensemble repertoire. The ensemble continued to showcase Greg 410 Fritze’s work with a lovely performance of his setting of Percy Grainger’s Colonial • Song, another “must” for your library. The ensemble gave a beautiful performance. 10 The ensemble gave the audience some good fun with ITEA Euphonium Coordinator, Gail Robertson’s, arrangement of Karl Jenkin’s Paladio. This is another outstanding arrangement, and the ensemble really played it to the hilt. The soft playing was just fabulous, and that’s what makes for a successful
audience experience with this piece. The “lighter” portion of the program continue/ with Greg Fritze’s arrangement of Barry Manilow’s One Voice, a long-time favorite’ of Dr. Craig. David Thornton (principal euphoniumist of the Black Dyke Mills Band) began the work with a walk-infrom-the-back-of-the-hall “spotlight” solo in a darkened hall. When the lights came up, the ensemble was in a scattered formation on stage, providing some nice visual variety for the audience. For strength of form, the spotlight solo was done in reverse at the conclusion of the piece with a return to a darkened hall. The next work, composed by Stephen Mellillo, was written as a tribute to film composer Erich Komgold and is simply called Erich! . It contains highlights from Korngold’s long career. It’s amazing to hear all the Komgold trademark compositional devices which have been “acquired” by noted modern film composers. This is a fun work that’s full of challenge and reward for any ensemble, but be sure you have a “top-drawer” timpanist to work with you. The WHETE delivered a high impact performance of the work on this day. The program closed with two arrangements from Washington, D.C. military band members (Michael Forbes of The U.S. Army Band (Pershing’s Own) and Kelly Diamond of The U.S. Navy Band). Forbes’ Just a Closer Walk setting is reminiscent of the arrangement of this work made popular by The Canadian Brass and is very entertaining. There is even room for some improvisation, if desired. Kelly Diamond’s setting of Karl L. King’s classic march, Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite ended the concert. This circus march is a barn burner for any ensemble that plays it, and the WHETE smoked it in their reading. Thanks to Dr. Mary Ann Craig for her effort in planning and carrying out a great experience for these fine performers this week. The members of the ensemble were: Euphoniums Tommy Johnson (USA), Mizuho Kojima (Japan), Ryan Moore (USA), David Thornton (England), Helen Tyler (England), Miranda van der Berkt (The Netherlands) and Tubas Andy Critz (USA), Hidehiro Fujita (Japan), A.J. Gatewood (USA), Miika Jamsa (Finland), Neil Konouchi (Japan), and Johanna Schmidtke (USA).
All Good Things Come to a Good End: The Nordic Brass
The final concert of the 2001 ITEC was like its first, a dazzling display of musicianship. The Nordic Brass Ensemble, a virtuoso ensemble made up of members from Sweden, Norway, and Finland, presented a wonderful concert featuring fine transcriptions, original works and works with featured tuba soloists Markus Hotzel and Jens Bjorn-Larsen. Highlights of this impressive concert were the ensemble’s performances of Jukka Linkola’s Short Stories, Oyvind Westby’s 3 1/2 Miniatures for Tuba Trio and Percussion, Nisse Landgren’s Piece for Tuba and Brass with tuba soloist Markus Hotzel, Jens Bjorn-Larsen’s virtuosic rendition of Monti’s Czardas, and the ensemble’s unusual treatment of the Renaissance work Revecy Venir du Printemps by Claude Le June. Both Mr. Hotzel and Mr. Bjorn- Larsen showed themselves to be first rate soloists. Hotzel’s performance was characterized by an enormous dark tone and great control, while Jens Bjom-Larsen’s performance of Czardas had in its phrasing a true feel of a gypsy violinist that is missing in many brass performances of this showpiece. The ensemble’s performances of early music had an unusual flair with the use of non-traditional aspects such as Latin percussion and Harmon mutes for inventive color. Those who heard the Nordic Brass Ensemble perform in the Janacek Sinfonetta the previous evening would not be surprised at the group’s world class performance, with its full sound, flashy technique, and exacting playing. This concert was perhaps as representative as any at the 2001 ITEC – a gathering of top notch artists from many different countries rendering inspiring performances. (Thanks to Scott Watson for his coverage of the final ITEC concert. Ed.)
ITEC 2001: Masterclasses, Lectures and Meetings
Manfred Heidler: The German Tenor Horn: An Untold Story
Monday morning came a bit early for those who enjoyed the first round of the jazz competition. A small (but very enthusiastic) group of conference participants arose and arrived at Sibelius Hall for Manfred Heidler’s 9:00 a.m. lecture, The German Tenor Horn – an Untold Story. Manfred Heidler (whose article on this topic appeared in the TUBA Journal, Vol.27, No.4) is one of the foremost scholars on the development of brass instruments and wind band literature in Germany and, in fact, the world. His lecture in Lahti was particularly exciting because it contained information that he has recently discovered as part of his continuing research. The lecture was both informative and enjoyable. Herr Heidler included recordings of tenor horn performances and projected images of various early low brass instruments from 19th century print sources. It is most interesting to note the influence of military bands and their music on choices made by important orchestral players during the 18th and 19th centuries. Our congratulations go to the German Army and the German government for their support of the research and scholarship of exceptional individuals such as Manfred Heidler. It is also encouraging to know that our ITEC events are, in addition to presenting the best in performing artists and music, also presenting the best scholarship our profession has to offer.
Daniel Perantoni Masterclass
2:00 each day (Monday through Friday) featured a time for learning. Masterclasses were offered by some of the world’s finest teachers. Monday’s 2:00 tuba master class was given by Indiana University’s Daniel Perantoni – who is unquestionably one of the most successful artist/teachers of the past forty years. After some brief introductory marks wherein he reminded the audience that: 1) our worst enemy is tension, 2) one should think of “blowing from the lips” and 3) everyone needs to practice exhalation. He then heard and critiqued performances by students from Israel and Norway, giving hints on performance and interpretation of the Vaughan-Williams Concerto and on jazz performance. The hour melted away in what seemed like ten minutes.
Brian Bowman Masterclass
On Monday, August 6th at 2:00 p.m. in Carpentry Hall, Brian Bowman, Professor at the University of North Texas, presented a masterclass to a large and attentive audience. It was immediately clear that the smooth and warm character- istic of Mr. Bowman’s sound is not only a prerogative of his playing, but also a goal that he is trying to accomplish with his students. In fact, while teaching the two euphonium players who volunteered for the lesson, he stressed the need for a student to work on conquering a good sound and not only on reaching perfect technique. It was amazing how Mr. Bowman was able to make a difference with just a few suggestions on breathing, mouthpiece buzzing, and buzzing with an embouchure visualizer, and how the sound of the two students (two female players respectively from Finland and The Netherlands) improved. (Thanks to Cristina Fava for this report. Ed.)
Warren Deck Masterclass
The news that Warren Deck would present an open master class coaxed an impressive number of tubists from their beds on Tuesday morning. Warren’s warm, supportive, encouraging, and friendly approach to pedagogy made the decision to participate an easy one for those who brought along their tubas. His approach in the class was to allow students to articulate concerns and then deal with specific concerns very directly. It would be impossible to reproduce the master class here in print, however, a word of wisdom from Warren that we can pass along is that, in working for improvement, be sure that in your practice time you focus on exactly the behavior(s) you really want to improve, eliminating extraneous factors. Also, when working on excerpt/audition repertoire (and this would certainly apply to any musician on any instrument), conduct and sing each passage so that you have an extremely clear concept in your mind before you begin to play.
The History of Wind Band Repertoire in Finland: Kauko Karjalainen
At 2:00p.m. on Tuesday, noted Finnish scholar, Kauko Karjalainen, Ph.D., gave a pre entation on the history of wind band music in Finland, focusing on the euphonium and tuba. Dr. Karjalainen is an amazing and very dedicated researcher who has gone to considerable effort to locate and organize information about wind band develop- ment and is amassing a body of informa- tion that will connect with the work of other scholars (such as Manfred Heidler) to give us a much more complete picture of our musical heritage. Much of his source information is available from the Finnish Military Archives, as well as from the Helsinki University Library (www.lib.helsinki.fi/hyk/hul/indexe.html). He has already assembled an impressive database of works for the traditional Finnish brass band (usually a brass septet) which includes all manner of information useful to those interested in this repertoire. His database includes compo er/arranger information, year of composition (when available), complete instrumentation information, and other valuable data. It is his hope to eventually make this database available on the Internet. It is through this information that one can trace the eventual inclusion of the tuba and euph onium by various composers, as well as the terminology used to refer to the instruments in musical scores. In his presentation, considerable attention was given to the music of the famous Adolf Leander (known as the “fath er of Finnish brass playing”). Refer to his article in the summer, 2001 issue of the TUBA Journal for more information on his research.
Orchestral Tuba Playing with Warren Deck
“Orchestral Tuba Playing” was the title of Warren Deck’s masterclass (Tuesday, August 7th at 2:00 p.m.). Mr. Deck, principal tubist of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Professor at Juillard, stressed the importance of being aware of the other performers while playing in an ensemble. He introduced some rules that are essential in ensemble and orchestral playing, however, they also work for the solo performer. His first rule is to phrase by following the bar lines more than to phrase by tessitura. Furthermore, he underlined the importance of subdivision to give direction to a note, and how a performer must be aware of its value and of the way he/she releases this note. In fact, subdivision helps to keep a steady tempo. Another suggestion he gave is to be careful not to work too much on slowing or speeding up the tempo while performing an espressivo, but rather to work on the tone change and on dynamics. A key point is to be objective while practicing. For example, he said if you have to play loud and low passages, assign a scale to dynamics based on your capability in order to hold the loudest tones without any problem. In conclusion he suggested practicing excerpts with recordings to learn how to “fit in” with an orchestra. (Thanks to Cristina Fava for this report. Ed.)
Warren Deck makes his point (Photo by Pekka Saarinen).
Warm-up with the Artists
There was an “early morning” warm-up time scheduled for each morning of the conference. As attendees at recent ITECs know, these morning soirees have usually been led by Sam Pilafian, however, because of extenuating circumstances, Sam was unable to be with us in Lahti. The ever-energetic Steven Mead stepped in, and a good mixture of fun and excellent pedagogy made it easy for euphonium and tuba players to get out of bed and come to the lobby of Sibelius Hall. I joined the group on Wednesday morning. Steve’s routine begins with a lot of stretching (and at ITEC a lot of very funny repartee with the group) followed by a series of breathing exercises. Then (to get the heart rate up), there was serious, leg- lifting marching in place (see photo), eventually combined with deep breathing exercises. With air moving easily and bodies totally relaxed, the group moved to mouthpiece work, first blowing through “the small end,” then through the “real end.” After some arpeggio work, a tonguing/buzzing exercise, and some pedal register long tones, everyone was ready to seize the day. This time with Steven Mead sent participants away well warmed up, but also with a smile on every face.
The Physiology of the Musician
The perfect segue from the Mead warm-up time on Wednesday was Markku Paatelma’s session on physiology. Mr. Paatelma is a Finnish health and sport sciences specialist, not a musician, but he did some homework on the physiology of musicians for this session. He talked about factors leading to problems at work across all professions, with stress being the number one culprit. For musicians, the fact that (at least for many of us) music is both our vocation and avocation com- pounds the possibility for extra stress. The balance of the session was spent in talking about flexibility and the importance of proper posture, whether sitting or stand- ing. Finding a chair designed with proper lower back support is difficult at best – but it’s worth the search or modifying your favorite “playing chair” to get this support. It’s interesting that there’s good back support built ence in musical instruments manufactur- ing, Gerhard Meinl thoroughly answered these questions in his masterclass (Wednesday, August 8th at 2:00p.m.) to give an answer to. He divided the con- struction process into fixed and variable factors. Fixed points are the ones that cannot be changed, such as material, bore and piston maximum width, length (depending on the pitch) and ergonomics.
Steve Mead gets conference participants into warm-up action! (Photo by Jerry Young).
The variable components are the bell, the cone that can be cylindrical, elliptic or conical, the valves (piston or rotary), where and how often to bend, the thickness of the material, The History of Wind Band Repertoire in Finland: Kauko Karjalainen At 2:00p.m. on Tuesday, noted Finnish scholar, Kauko Karjalainen, Ph.D., gave a pre entation on the history of wind band music in Finland, focusing on the euphonium and tuba. Dr. Karjalainen is an amazing and very dedicated researcher who has gone to considerable effort to locate and organize information about wind band develop- ment and is amassing a body of informa- tion that will connect with the work of other scholars (such as Manfred Heidler) to give us a much more complete picture of our musical heritage. Much of his source information is available from the Finnish Military Archives, as well as from the Helsinki University Library (www.lib.helsinki.fi/hyk/hul/indexe.html). He has already assembled an impressive database of works for the traditional Finnish brass band (usually a brass septet) into car driver’s seats, but not into most ordinary chairs! As a veteran of back difficulties, this writer would encourage euphonium and tuba players who have the slightest concern or family history of lower back problems to visit Mr. Paatelma’s colleague in their communities with their instruments for an evaluation of both how instruments are picked up and held, as well as how to sit with them properly. It may save you a lot of discomfort (or even injury) over a period of years. Thanks to the ITEC 2001 organizers for adding this session – something along these lines should be a part of every ITEC.
Gerhard Meinl discusses details of manufacturing (Photo by Jerry Young)
How to Make an Instrument
How is a tuba, or a euphonium, made? How important in its construction is the human component versus the technical? Thanks to seven generations of experience in musical instruments manufactur- ing, Gerhard Meinl thoroughly answered these questions in his masterclass (Wednesday, August 8th at 2:00p.m.) to give an answer to. He divided the con- struction process into fixed and variable factors. Fixed points are the ones that cannot be changed, such as material, bore and piston maximum width, length (depending on the pitch) and ergonomics. The variable components are the bell, the cone that can be cylindrical, elliptic or conical, the valves (piston or rotary), where and how often to bend, the thickness of the material, where which and how many braces, the copping strips, the aesthetics of the hom and the industrial or handcrafted production of the instrument. However, above all these factors, there is always the human component. Mr. Meinl clearly stated that without the help of musicians such as Warren Deck, Dan Perantoni or Bob Tucci, who helped to correct intonation and sound response problems, his instruments would have never reached the standard of perfection for which they are known. To conclude, to construct an instrument a manufacturer needs tools, experience, technology and science, but also musicians’ input. (Thanks to Cristina Fava for this report. Ed.)
0ystein Baadsvik Masterclass
At 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, 0ystein Baadsvik began his masterclass with comments on breath support. One of the great features of ITECs is the opportunity to hear different “takes” on fundamental aspects of playing. How can one not hear ideas from masters such as 0ystein Baadsvik, Daniel Perantoni, Brian Bowman, Steven Mead, Bob Tucci, etc. all in a few days’ time and not take away something that makes one better? After the initial introductory information, Mr. Baadsvik worked on the second movement of the Vaughan Williams Concerto with Yuval Zolotov of Israel. He cleverly helped Yuval with buzz efficiency. The new and exciting device of the day was a simple toothpick. When one slides the toothpick along the side of the mouthpiece shank while inserting it into the lead pipe, it allows the efficiency of the buzz (or lack thereof) to be more evident while taking advantage of the partial resistance of the instrument. The player can adjust the amount of mouthpiece shank that goes into the instrument by changing the length of toothpick used. Obviously, this is easier than trying to hold the tuba (or euphonium) with one hand while trying mouthpiece experiments in the lead pipe with the other. Andreas Hofmeir, a German tubist, presented the Lebedev Concerto in One Movement for the next portion of the class. Mr. Baadsvik used this performance to discuss vibrato on the tuba relative to frequency and amplitude, as well as exercises to facilitate control of vibrato. Andreas was also able to improve his technique and articulation through a series of breath and articulation exercises. Mr. Baadsvik is an accomplished teacher – all Scandinavians should be proud to have such a remarkable artist/teacher in their part of the world.
General Membership Meeting
The General Membership Meeting that is required at all ITECs by the ITEA Constitution was held first thing on Thursday morning. Velvet Brown, Association Secretary, provides us with the minutes of the meeting as follows:
I. Opening Remarks: Skip Gray, President, welcomed everyone to the ITEA General Meeting followed by the introduc- tion of Executive Committee members and announced the Board of Directors for which Scott W atson serves as the Chair, ex. officio.
II. Financial Report: In Kathy Brantigan’s absence, Skip Gray gave the financial report. He spoke positively about the expertise of Kathy Brantigan as the treasurer of the association and her specialty in the non-profit sector. He reported that the organization is solvent and the books are put into order. Finally, the association hopes to take on projects that will bring in new revenue.
III. Conference Coordinator: Sharon Huff explained that the purpose of the conferences was to provide members of the association the opportunity to meet and produce new music. She introduced Dennis Askew and Bart Collins as the ITEC 2002 hosts at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, May 28-June 1. The goal is to have an international conference every two years and regional conferences in the alternate years. Sharon asked to have interested conference hosts contact her or other members of the Executive Committee. Skip announced that there is a rebirth of the cycle of regional conferences that is a return to the grassroots of the organization. There are 13 regional conference sites around the world planned for 2003.
IV. Secretary: Velvet Brown explained that her duties involve facilitating and documenting the communication of the organization as well as recording the proceedings of the Executive Committee Meetings and the General Membership Meetings. She looks forward to the opportunity to serve the organization and membership.
V. Publications Coordinator: Jerry Young represented Ed Goldstein at the meeting. • Website: Jerry asked everyone to visit the website ITEAonline.org. He announced that the Web- publishing project is underway and that parts of the Journal will be online. The E-membership is still in progress.
• Journal: The Journal is published quarterly. He acknowledged his wonderful staff. He is seeking more variety for the journal such as pedagogical articles and articles that would appeal to the amateur players. He announced that articles can be sent in any language. News items should be sent to Joe Skillen.
• Tuba-Euphonium Press: The mission of the Press is service oriented. The original idea was from Harvey Phillips and officially started by Scott Watson. Valuable manuscripts and old publications were saved and promoted. Jerry reported that sales are doing well. There is also a CD sales section. This is a great avenue for composers to get music to tuba and euphonium players.
VI. Past President’s Report: Scott Watson thanked everyone for giving him the honor of serving as President. He strongly encourages the participation and communica- tion of new ideas and concerns to the association. Scott also thanked Sam Pilafian for his 6-year commit- ment with high energy and support to the organization. He then summarized the activities of the last 2 years.
1. Name Change through constitutional vote.
2. New logo.
3. Donation by Summit Records of the proceeds of the “Portrait of a Legacy” CD for a scholarship residency in Chicago for the Orchestral Auditions Competi- tion Winner.
4. Website- outreach to association, clinics, on-line chats. Tom Bratton -web coordinator. E- memberships in progress. Back issues will be on line soon.
5. Development of Educational Committee.
VII. Vice President Report: Mary Ann Craig reported that her duties involve working with regional conferences. She wishes to expand the presence of the organization and tuba/euphonium players into economically challenged countries, presenting mini- conferences, masterclasses, etc. She asked for support to send recordings and music to these countries. Jerry Young suggested that individuals sponsor memberships for under- privileged players.
VIII. President’s Report: Skip Gray announced that the association is working to formulate a strategic plan. The strategic goals are:
1. Expand the abilities of the association to undertake projects that will advance its mission
• commission more works
• better conference support
• outreach to pre-university level
• major membership campaign • solicit support through government and corporate resources
2. Improve Membership Benefits
• what can we do for the membership?
• strive to help members
• CD Legacy project
• Endowed legacy scholarships
• Index and old journals on line
3. Advance the documentation and dissemination of information relating to history, national/ regional styles and traditions, and important persons and groups from the Tuba- Euphonium world.
• projects and grants
• publish juried research articles in Journal
• provide history of early docu- mentation of the association • expand outreach
IX. President’s Closing Remarks: There will be a ITEA display booth at the 2001 Mid -West Conference in Chicago. kip stated that the association wants to serve the Tuba-Euphonium world with even more success. He believes that we are reaching the ongoing goals: to admire, respect, and promote individual styles and ideas. He challenges each member of the organization to recruit at least 2 new members for next year.
Zdzislaw Piernik Masterclass
Famed Tuba soloist Zdzislaw Piernik of Poland presented an intriguing and inspiring masterclass on Thursday at 2 p.m. Mr. Piemik stressed the importance of a lyrical style throughout the class, performing several Polish vocal and operatic works in addition to the Schumann Traumerai and Saint-Saens’ The Swan. (His recording of this work is quite famous.) Piemik then had the first student participating in the masterclass play The Swan, getting him to develop a singing style. A highlight of the class was his work with another student on the Penderecki Capriccio which was written for Mr. Piemik. He had many suggestions on the interpretation of this masterwork, including many that were suggested by the composer that are not self evident from the notes on the page. One interest- ing aspect of this session was its true international flavor. At one point Mr. Piemik was speaking in Polish, which was being translated into English, which was then being being absorbed by a Japanese student whose English was a second language! Piemik indeed showed that he is a master tubist in addition to being a famous soloist. The session ended with Mr. Piernik demonstrating his “Prepared Tuba,” performing excerpts of avant garde works that were written for this instrument. All in attendance were enthralled by the inventive and wide ranging sounds that were made by the various bells and other reeds used in combination with natural tuba sound. This performance was the “talk of the day” at the conference. Zdzislaw Piemik reminded us that he is indeed an important trailblazer in modem music for the tuba. (Thanks to Scott Watson for covering this masterclass. Ed.)
An ITEC 2001 Special: Fun Together
A unique feature of this ITEC was the inclusion of recreation time for conference participants. Monday’s activity, “Nordic Walking,” is a major physical fitness phenomenon in Finland. It involves using modified ski poles as one walks (at least this is the “short explanation…”). Several conference participants gave it a try. More than euphoniums and tubas left Finland at the end of the conference! Two sets of Nordic Walking sticks came to Wisconsin with me, in fact! Other activities through the week included team rowing on Lake Vesijarvi, Finnish folk dancing, and a fishing outing. The concept of having time to enjoy the local area and culture as part of an ITEC is a good one that will hopefully be continued in the future. Several conference participants took advantage of these opportunities and enjoyed them immensely.
Robert Tucci Masterclass
Friday began with a rare treat for everyone – a masterclass with Bavarian State Opera principal tubist and master teacher, Robert Tucci. Bob Tucci is a man who really likes and cares for people. Over the course of the first several days of this ITEC, he had met and remembered countless people – and was able to 5% to articulation..Many players put as much as 30% of their effort into articulation. DO NOT allow articulation to interfere with tone production. Mr. opportunity to work with Mr. Tucci at any time, don’t pass it up. NOTE: To avert any false rumors, theJournal wishes to report that Mr. Tucci is NOT retired from the Bavarian State Opera as was indicated in the ITEC 2001 program – nor does he have any intention of retiring soon!
Bob Tucci gives advice (Photo by Jerry Young).
Jens Bjom-Larsen Masterclass
Jens Bjorn-Larsen began his 1:00 p.m. Friday master class with Yuval Zolotov of Israel playing a movement from a Bach flute sonata. In his comments, Jens focused primarily on discussion of musical interpretation of the work (the part of playing we should focus on most) and used those comments as a point of departure to discuss approaches for improvements in fundamentals. He drove home the point that, as musicians, “we are what we practice.” We should be able to articulate what we want from our playing at any given moment in practice or performance, and we should work for that result. Yuval was asked to try numerous exercises and different approaches to the music with very good results.
Jazz Improvisation Competition and Evening Jazz Concerts of ITEC 2001 Lahti
Contributed by David Spies, Southeastern Oklahoma State University
The jazz component of the 2001 ~(!/InternationalTuba and Euphonium Conference in Lahti, Finland consistently demonstrated world-caliber jazz musicianship and has set the bar by which other ITECs will be judged.
Every day there was at least one concert which featured first-class jazz artists on the tuba and euphonium. Although this reviewer tried to attend every jazz concert, there were some which remained unattended. My colleague Steve Call of Brigham Young University helped cover some bases, which was greatly appreciated!
The most anticipated concert of the conference was the appearance of the Austrian jazz low brass ensemble Heavy Tuba with Jon Sass and vocalist Dorretta Carter. Fortunately the group performed twice, once on Sunday evening in the Main Hall of the Sibelius Hall, and once on Tuesday evening in the Brass and Jazz Klubi, a tent pavillion across the street from the Sibelius Hall. Although the concert in the Sibelius Hall met with some slight amplification and lighting problems, the concert went very well. The ensemble, with four euphonium/ trombone players, three tubas and complete rhythm section presented a significant challenge for the sound personnel to strike a balance between the electronic and natural acoustic of the hall, which they ultimately conquered. All sound problems disappeared in the pavillion, where there was absolutely great sound from the ensemble. Hundreds of people turned out for each program.
Heavy Tuba personnel mainly come from Austria with the following noted exceptions: Jon Sass (USA), Walter Baldinger and Christian Deisenhammer on tuba; Anton Miesenberger, Antti Rissanen (Finland), Petra Krumphuber and Bernhard Ortner, each doubling on euphonium and trombone; Kurt Erlmoser on guitar; Helmar Hill on piano and key- board; Werner Lederbauer on bass; Herwig Stieger on percussion; Ewald Zach on drums; Heimo Schmid as leader; with Reinhard Brunner on sound and Dulci Jan on lights. Their guest vocalist was the British jazz/gospel/soul singer Dorretta Carter.
Doretta Carter sings iwth Heavy Tuba.
The program was very diverse, centered upon a fundamental funk groove, with ample highlights. Reincarnation of Zarathustra was a swing/funk/rock/march treatment of the opening to Strauss” tone poem, followed by the bossa/samba Maybe Later Tonight. At the Station, by Antti Rissanen, was a fantastic funk vehicle for Sass, who laid down an amazing funk bass, and Rissanen, who was the ensemble’s other primary soloist. The group’s other brass improviser, Petra Krumphuber, showed much promise in her limited solo feature. Dorretta Carter was powerful, dynamic and stylistically compelling. Her rap- rhythm and blues treatment of J.S. Bach”s Toccata in D minor was right on target. Combined with the gospel-rock Handbags and Glad Rags and the Otis Redding-like soul of Here Comes The Night, her set brought the house down. Culminating the concerts were a far-out funk version of Helter- Skelter and Sass’ ever- popular Meltdown/em>.
Heimo Schmid’s ensemble sounded every bit as high-octane as their recordings. Sass was great, putting out volumes of funk/soul/R&B lines, which were at the same time smooth and incredibly intense. However, the story of the conference was the proficient bebop/funk stylings of 26- year-old Antti Rissanen. Time and again it was Rissanen who shone in his every appearance at the festival. Later Sunday evening was the semi- final round of the Rich Matteson Jazz Improvisation Competion with the house rhythm section the Pessi Levanto Trio. Consisting ofTuure Koski, Mika Kallio and Sami Kuoppamaki, the trio was terrific all week! There were three competitors: Martin Taxt from Norway, Greg Monskie from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and Antti Rissanen from Finland. Early on it was apparent that although Taxt and Monskie were good, Rissanen was in a class by himself, demonstrating fluency of thought and a highly developed jazz vocabulary worthy of professional status. Rissanen took chances with his solos and displayed a tremendou amount of formal and stylistic variety. His interaction with the rhythm section was musically very exciting. Very impressive as well, since Rissanen had just played a two and one-half hour concert with Heavy Tuba! The final round Wednesday evening found the other two soloists in very competitive form, stepping up their level of proficiency with their original compositions. Rissanen, however, went for it with his version of John Coltrane’s Giant Steps, a significant risk. Having survived a few harrow- ing choruses of incredibly fast turn- arounds, Rissanen came through with his original composition, which was very eloquent and sophisticated with much outside playing. The lock was Rissanen’s version of Canteloupe Island, which swung incredibly hard. The final results of the competition were as follows: Second Place (two $500 awards), Martin Taxt and Greg Monskie; and First Place (new euphonium awarded by the Mirafone Corporation), Antti Rissanen. Judges for the Rich Matteson Jazz Competition were Steve Call, Marc Dickman, and David Spies.
Tuesday after Heavy Tuba’s performance was the Pessi Levanto Trio with Hungarian tubist Janos Mazura and Norway’s 0ystein Baadsvik. Marc Dickman sat in for Sam Pilafian who was unable to attend. 0ystein and Janos, former place winners in the Riva del Garda Street Musician Competition, proved to be in fine form. Particularly notable were Baadsvik’s tune Jessica, a Kellaway-ish up-tempo rock tune, and Dickman’s arrangement of the Art Blakey tune Moanin’.
Particularly notable is the representation of different periods of jazz history at this conference. The early evening jazz club slots on Wednesday and Thursday evening at the club were packed with locals for the Estonian vintage dance orchestra Modern Fox. Performing music from the 1930s and 1940s, the zoot-suit highly entertaining. Friday”s appearance by Baby Boy Varhama & Misc. co. was very welcome, as they presented a diverse fare of blues, ragtime, country, and gospel. Marc Dickman sat in with the Jazz Apostles, another vehicle for trombonist/ euphoniumist Antti Rissanen, which presented music from the Golden Era of Swing in combo fashion on Friday evening.
The late night slot on Thursday was devoted to the Settlemen Jazz Orchestra, in existence since 1965 as the Settlement Big Band. Consisting of talented amateurs and professionals from around Finland, the band recently underwent a name change reflecting the change of focus towards modern concert jazz. Lieksa Brass Week tuba artist competition winner Roland Szentpali was featured with the band, as was the magnificient Daniel Perantoni. In a tribute to Rich Matteson, Peranperformed Rich”s arrangement of Summertime, complete with Rich’s solo chorus. In addition, he performed the premiere of David Baker”s Blues for Mr. P. Based upon the third movement of Baker’s concerto commissioned by Daniel Perantoni, it was received with much acclaim by the audience.
Perhaps the most outstanding jazz concert was on Thursday evening in the Main Hall of Sibelius Hall. Finland’s hottest jazz trio of over ten years, Trio Toykeat, performed a stunning concert. Virtuosity, intensity, musical dynamism and charm overflowed from this ensemble. lira Rantala on piano, Erik Siikasaari on bass, and Rami Eskelinen on drums played mostly originals by the talented Rantala to an enraptured audience. Marc Dickman and Janos Mazura performed brilliantly on the first set of this concert. The second set opened featuring the Concertmaster of the Lahti Symphony as their guest artist. Artistically, Trio Toykeat was superb!
Mr. Fonebone is a Finnish band led by trombonist Antti Rissanen. The band’s press information states that their music is “derived from the high energy modal style of the sixties, but mixed with influences from Finnish folk music and with a touch of the long dark Nordic winter.” Along with Rissanen’s trombone, the front line included Mikko lnnanen on alto and soprano saxophones and Ingrid Jensen on trumpet and flugelhorn. The rhythm section included Kari Ikoned on piano, Tuure Kaski on bass, and Teppo Makynen on drums. The band’s set included all original compositions by members of the group. It is clear that they have worked together extensively because of the high level of magical interaction displayed in the performance. Rissanen’s and Jensen’s solos were imaginative and moving. Rissanen’s trombone solos were Monk- like in his melodic development. He utilizes a masterful vocabulary of “outside” statements, always returning to familiar modality. Jensen’s playing is truly “world class”, demonstrating a mastery of the instrument that allows her to communicate her musical thoughts with apparent effortlessness. Drummer Makynen produced a relaxed polyrhythmic pad that soloists floated on and flew ih and out of, while spurring on soloists with his energetic interplay. Although the tuba or euphonium was not featured, this was music-making of the highest level. (Thanks to Steve Call, Brigham Young University for reporting on Mr. Fonebone’s performance!)
My deepest regrets and warmest wishes to the Ladies First Big Band, Esko Heikkinen and Super Brass, and Superjamit for my inability to make your performances. If the level of jazz perform- ances for the rest of the conference was any indication, I believe that your performances were every bit as strong and entertaining as those reviewed here.
Kudos to the folks at ITEC 2001 Lahti for such an incredible jazz forum. Hopefully the level of jazz offered at future ITECs will only move ahead from this standard!