Notes from ITEC 2004

Notes from ITEC 2004

Many would agree that this year’s ITEC in Budapest, Hungary was one of the most exciting to date. The city of Budapest and the Hungarian culture was quite a setting for this experience, and what better a place to celebrate our wonderful instruments. This ITEC was quite innovative and refreshing. The saxhorn was given its due stage. The Association of Saxhorn, Euphonium, and Tuba based in France is an organization that has been around quite some time, and representing this group at ITEC were such members as Phillipe Fristch, Jean-Luc Petitprez, David Maillot, Sébastien Stein, Luc Bernard, and Gilles Lutmann among others. I encourage all members to visit the ASET website and also to review their article published in the ITEA Journal last Spring (Volume 32:3, also provided at www.iteaonline.org). The individual performances and the saxhorn quartet were frankly amazing. The quartet’s premiere performance was absolutely one of the best concerts I have ever heard, and Phillipe Fristch’s informative lecture backed by solo performances by Sébastian Stein and David Maillot on saxhorn and euphonium comprised some of the most interesting aspects of the conference.

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Saxhorn Quartet of the Republican Guard Band (France). Photo by Heidrun Zeplien.

Individual recital presentations were varied, demonstrating great creativity from the ITEC guest artists. There were recitals featuring new music, including Velvet Brown’s percussion and tuba performance program, Markus Hötzel’s music for tuba and piano, Sérgio Carolino’s Portuguese music, and James Gourlay’s program of British works. Refreshing euphonium programs were numerous, including performances by Jason Ham, Shoichiro Hokazano, and Tormod Flaten. In contrast, there was also traditional programming, such as Joszef Baszinka’s convincing transcriptions of J.S. Bach’s three sonatas for viola da gamba and Rynosuke Abe’s euphonium program also comprising several noted transcriptions. Breaking away from the expected solos and piano genre, Øystein Baadsvik, Steven Mead, and Eran Levi brought creative solo programs in chamber settings.

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Øystein Baadsvik (Norway). Photo by Heidrun Zeplien.

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Sébastein Stein (France), saxhorn. Photo by Heidrun Zeplien
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Velvet Brown (USA). Photo by Vincent Ribes.
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James Gourlay (Great Britain) in recital. Photo by Heidrun Zeplien.

Speaking of chamber music, Sotto Voce and Tubalaté made their ITEC appearances illustrating progressive approaches towards the genre. With each ensuing ITEC, these two groups rise to yet another level of chamber performance. Another interesting chamber performance was the Northern Royal College of Music’s tuba octet, comprising NRCM former students Tubalaté and Euph4ria, conducted by Roger Bobo. Added were the inclusion of several Young Talent’s Concerts, which featured chamber ensembles Tubakvartetten from the Vestby Cultural School in Norway and the Creative Tuba Quartet from Hungary.

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Tubalaté (Great Britain). Photo by Heidrun Zeplien.
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The NRCM Octet conducted by Roger Bobo. Photo by Heidrun Zeplien.
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Sotto Voce (USA). Photo by Vincent Ribes.

Lectures were just as diversified as recitals. Deutsche Tubaforum Vice-President Manfred Heidler lectured on the German baritone, revealing many historically significant facts on the instrument in the military bands in the mid-twentieth century. Igor Krivokapic presented the helicon, which in a similar fashion to the saxhorn, is often “left-out” out of the mix. However in Igor’s native Slovakia, the instrument is treated equally as a solo instrument, which was convincingly supported with Blas Umek’s solo performances on helicon during the lecture. Another well-attended lecture was John Stevens’ discussion on his compositions with performances by Sotto Voce.

Evening events are always eagerly anticipated at ITEC and usually involve soloists with large ensemble. These soloists were some of the best ever. Some new faces were featured in this venue, and several world premieres were given. Noted world premieres were Alessandro Fossi’s performance of Corrado Saglietti’s Piazza di Torino, Kent Eshelman’s performance of Tony Plog’s Nocturne, and Gary Bird’s performance of Gregory Fritze’s Concertino. All three works should emerge as staples in the repertoire. The jazz concert featuring soloists with the Budapest Jazz Orchestra probably generated the most excitement. Francois Thuillier, Sérgio Carolino, Antii Rissanen, and János Mazura brought the house down with deferring styles and fresh approaches towards the tuba and euphonium in jazz.

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Markus Hötzel (Germany), lecturing on the German BB-flat tuba tradition. Photo by Vincent Ribes.

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Manfred Heidler (Germany), German tenorhorn. Photo by Heidrun Zeplien.
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Alessandro Fossi (Italy), following the premiere of Corrado Saglietti’s Piazze di Torino.
Photo by Heidrun Zeplien.
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Gary Bird (USA), performing Gregory Fritze’s Concertino. Photo by Heidrun Zeplien.

ITEC 2004 ended with class with a boat ride for ITEC participants up and down the Danube. It was quite the party including great refreshments, vistas, and entertainment. This was my fifth ITEC, and, in a similar fashion to the ITEC in Riva del Garda, Italy, there is a huge benefit with ITECs hosted outside of the United States (in my opinion). It’s inspiring to see the array of performers from practically every corner of the globe, and events such as these are excellent vehicles for maintaining communication and camaraderie among us. Below are several selected impressions by Dennis Askew, James Gourlay, and Igor Krivokapic. Visit ITEAonline.org as more ITEC materials from the conference are submitted and posted for the membership.

Impressions: ITEC 2004
Dennis AsKew, President-Elect ITEA (USA)

Upon returning home from Budapest I began to reflect on what had gone on, not only in the past week but also over the last two years since I hosted ITEC 2002. Not only was the location vastly different for ITEC 2004, but also the level of expectation was different. Primarily, this was due to the efforts of our host, János Mazura, as he developed an artistic vision for the conference that would include the top artists on tuba and euphonium (always the desire) but also would include top artists on saxhorns, helicon (!), and ophicleide. János, through his contacts (and help from ITEA International Vice-President Gerhard Meinl) was able to pull together a wide array of artists from countries that have typically been under represented at our international gatherings. The result was absolutely what we needed. The artistic level throughout the conference was consistently very high, the ideas shared were idealistic, (without being unrealistic), and the friendships formed will prove to be essential to the future of ITEA.

I would like to share some of the lesser-seen aspects of the conference. We were able, again through the guidance of International VP Gerhard Meinl, to have a meeting of members/representatives from literally all around the world. We talked with these members about what they are doing in their countries, and for those countries that have national euphonium/tuba organizations what the organizations are doing and how ITEA can be a part of what they are doing—without trying to “take over” what they are doing. There are countries (France, Germany, Japan) that have active, vital organizations in place. There are others (Great Britain, Italy, Norway, and Portugal among others) who indicated interest in and desire to form their own organizations. We hope to help them in the formation of these new local organizations and have a membership in ITEA as an extension or add-on to what they are doing. Regarding this topic, ITEC 2004 was vital to help lay groundwork for more and better interaction among the euphonium and tuba players of the world.

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Scott Watson (USA) and Deanna Swoboda (USA) testing horns

Throughout the week of the ITEC, old friendships were revived—seeing people I first met at previous ITECs perhaps in 1986, 1997, or others and have kept in contact since then. Meeting people I had heard of, but never met—fantastic privileges all. Hearing “new” performers such as Alessandro Fossi from Italy and Sérgio Carolino from Portugal. Talking with Anatoly Dudin from the Moscow State Conservatory about pedagogy in Russia. Playing new models of instruments, mutes, and mouthpieces and talking with their developers (and finally—carbon fiber cases!—no more overweight charges on planes!). All these things would not have been possible without the planning and implementation by János Mazura. We owe him a great debt of gratitude for this truly international conference.

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Joszef Bazsinka and Joszef Bazsinka, Jr. (Hungary). Photo by Vincent Ribes.

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Brian Bowman (USA) and Steven Mead (Great Britain) take a breather from adjudication.

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Igor Krivokapic (Slovenia), lecturing on the helicon.

Impressions: ITEC 2004
Igor Krivokapic (Slovenia)
My impressions of the conference in Budapest are absolutely positivistic. Staying within the usual frames of expectations of such events, meeting the people of my profession and sharing the experience, or to be there where “the things are happening”—ITEC 2004 was a very successful and exceptionally well prepared event.

However, beyond the mundane concept behind these conferences I experienced something far more important. To organize an international conference for tubas, euphoniums, and low or conical brasswinds is, even in the beginning of the 21st Century, still a discovery of a virgin land. Remembering Roger Bobo’s opening speech last October at his masterclass in my hometown, when he was discussing his own experience and glorious excitement of expanding limits and opening a new chapter in music, he pointed out the great advantage tuba and euphonium players have since “the history” is happening right now in front of us. He also pointed out how this “not so far ago” this newborn child is still growing and maturing without the heavy bounds of tradition imposed on daily practice like most other musical instruments.

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John Griffiths (Canada). Photo by Heidrun Zeplien.

For me the particular spirit of tolerance, variety, pluralism, and willingness to expand our knowledge that was so strongly felt in Budapest is the essential force to push things forward. It should never stop either when we are living our common “tuba life” or we are meeting each other on such a Conference. And there are so many unknown lands still waiting for our discovery. I’m referring to the treasure of nearly a hundred invented and patented conical brasswind musical instruments from the smallest sopraninos to the huge contrabasses, our heritage from the era of “searching the perfect sound,” which has almost resulted in one sole bass tuba found in our symphonic orchestras or symphonic bands.

It is important that we don’t look at this enterprise as our “futile attempts of rediscovering the same” but to rather recognize the touch of Rembrandt’s genius in it, comparable to his famous Night Watch with innumerable shades of the same brown color.

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Eran Levi (Israel) and Silvia Wettstein Levi (Israel), soprano. Photo by Heidrun Zeplien.

I believe in future conferences we’ll make the new acquaintances with the shades of our soft, rich, and noble sounds produced on those many conical brasswind instruments thus far remaining unknown to many of us. In doing so we will concurrently create the sonic parallel to the great art of Rembrandt and follow the path of discovering the virgin lands, while remaining free of bounds that prohibit us from simply “making things to happen.”
I can hardly wait until the next ITEC.

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James Gourlay (Great Britain). Photo by Vincent Ribes.

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Luc Bernard (France). Photo by Vincent Ribes.

Impressions: ITEC 2004
James Gourlay (Great Britain)
This year’s ITEC was a truly exciting and uplifting experience for all who were lucky enough to attend. Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and so to be surrounded by centuries of culture and, of course, to be able to perform in the historic Liszt Academy was itself an inspiration. I arrived early as I was traveling with my wife and her mother. They are both Brazilian, but my mother in law was actually born in Budapest, having emigrated in the 1930s. It was great for her to go back to the city of her birth and visit family members she had not seen for decades; and great for me to have my own interpreter! The weather was very sunny and hot, which if you come from a rainy country like the UK, is good news!

My duties began on day one, as I was privileged to be one of the judges for the Artist Division solo competition. This took place, eventually, in an elegant recital room in the Academy’s older building, which provided a wonderful acoustic for the performers. I say “eventually” because there was a little confusion at first as to where exactly the competition would take place, but with lots of smiling, nodding and gesticulating, we were able to communicate with the Hungarian staff on duty that helpfully showed us all the rooms in the building until we were satisfied. The panel of judges with which I was working was extremely experienced and it must have been somewhat daunting to the candidates to enter the hall in silence and see Roger Bobo, John Griffiths, Sérgio Carolino, Vilmos Lászlo, Øystein Baadsvik, and myself, then to hear Roger ask, “what’s your name and what are you going to play?”

Air conditioning is not all that common in Europe, especially in very old buildings, but the performers mostly seemed oblivious to the extreme heat and played to a very high overall standard. The two unaccompanied works, John Steven’s Salve Marte, Salve Venere and William Kraft’s Encounters seemed to tax the candidates the most, particularly the multi-phonics in the latter work, which are so difficult to make sound good, in tune, and like music. The final round contained one of the est pieces of music ever written for a brass instrument, Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro. This was an excellent choice for a final round as it shows everything from breathing and phrasing to tone, intonation, and musicianship. It was a real pleasure to listen to all the competitors, with special congratulations going to the first three places and a special thank you to the accompanists, who were superb. It was very interesting, for me, to compare the various instruments that were used in the competition. The common tool was the F tuba with some players opting for an E-flat with front action valves. It seemed to me that the F tuba is often quite a large animal and that the E-flat has become slightly smaller, and as most players seemed to favor piston valves, it was often quite difficult to tell which was which. Listening to these young players, it became clear to me that it doesn’t matter which horn you choose as long as it sounds good.

As soon as the competition was over each day, I would catch one of the evening concerts, and, later in the week, some of the recitals. I was always inspired by those who performed. I also got to know a large amount of new repertoire, some that I will play, some I might play, and some other works that I probably won’t. In the large hall of the Liszt Academy it was a treat to hear fine soloists performing with fine orchestras and bands, but the generous acoustics occasionally meant that soloists had to work hard to be heard. No such problem in the small hall where the bulk of the recitals took place. Here the dry acoustics were ideal (even if the temperature was not), and I experienced some recitals that will stay in my memory for some time to come.

But an ITEC is not just about going to concerts and visiting the trade stands (although this time, the exhibits were excellent), it’s about meeting people from other countries and sharing ideas comparing notes and assimilating new cultures. In Budapest, I was able to see old friends, of course, but also to meet and work with new colleagues. On the last evening, the boat trip down the Danube was a wonderful end to a week filled with good music, fun, and camaraderie. We all owe János Mazura and his team our thanks and offer them our congratulations for their great work and huge achievement.

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Hank Feldman (USA) and Sly Slipetsky (USA) at the ITEC Jazz Club. Photo by Vincent Ribes.

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Joszef Bazsinka (Hungary) and János Mazura relaxing a bit…. Photo by Vincent Ribes.
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Sérgio Carolino (Portugal) and János Mazura (Hungary). Photo by Jenni Frilander.
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Roland Szentpáli testing out horns with a student. Photo by Vincent Ribes.

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Jason Ham and Rynosuke Abe (Japan) at the ITEC Jazz Club. Photo by Vincent Ribes.
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Antii Rissanen (Finland) and Marc Dickman (USA). Photo by Jenni Frilander.

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Paul Walton (Great Britain), Dennis Askew (USA), and Øystein Baadsvik relaxing at the ITEC Jazz Club.


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Markus Theinert (Germany). Photo by Heidrun Zeplien
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Steve Rossé (USA). Photo by Heidrun Zeplien.
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Kenny Carr & the Tigers (USA). Photo by Heidrun Zeplien.
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Tormod Flaten (Norway), Brian Bowman (USA), and Riki McDonnell (New Zealand).
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Tubalaté (Great Britain) singing Loch Lomond for the crowd at the ITEC Jazz
(also pictured Riki McDonnell, Walter Nirschel, and Øystein Baadsvik).
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Listen! (Norway) performing on the ITEC Danube boat ride.
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Velvet Brown (USA) and David Loucke (USA) demonstrating excerpts during Loucke’s ophicleide lecture.
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Mark Carter (Owner, Mr. Tuba, Great Britain).

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Jerry Young (USA) and BASSically BRASS performing outdoors in the Castle Hill district of Pest.


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Tubakvartetten from the Vestby Cultural School in Norway with Sotto Voce (USA).

ITEC 2004 Competitions Report
Louis Young, Competitions Coordinator
Competitions were held throughout the week of the conference during ITEC 2004 in Budapest, Hungary. Congratulations to all who participated in the competitions. Those who did not advance to the live rounds this year should definitely enter again for the next ITEC in 2006. The winners in each division were as follows:

Artist Solo Euphonium
Anthony Caillet, First Prize
Hiram Diaz, Second Prize
Akihiko Ito, Third Prize

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Anthony Caillet, winner of the Artist Solo Euphonium Competition. Photo by Vincent Ribes.

Artist Solo Tuba
Carol Jantsch, First Prize
Taishi Furumoto, Second Prize
Atsutaro Mizunaka, Third Prize

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Finalists for the Artist Solo Tuba Competition. Photo by Vincent Ribes.

Young Artist Solo Tuba
Michael Allen, First Prize
Jonathan Hill, Second Prize

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Michael Allen, Winner of the Young Artist Tuba Competition.

Arnold Jacobs Mock Orchestral Tuba
Tibor Takacs, First Prize
Robert Vida, Second Prize
Brent Harvey and Attila Peresztegi, Third Prize

Rich Matteson Jazz
Toshnori Terukina, First Prize

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Young Artist Tuba Competitor James Rivera (USA) and Ilona Mesko (Hungary), conductor, Ventoscala Strings.

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Doug Elliot (USA) and Kent Eshelman (USA) at the Jazz Club. Photo by Vincent Ribes.

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Philippe Fristch (France), lecturing on the saxhorn. Photo by Vincent Ribes.

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Riki McDonnell (New Zealand). Photo by Heidrun Zeplien.

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Carol Jantsch (USA) and Gerhard Meinl (Germany). Photo by Vincent Ribes.

The high quality of all the competitors who advanced to the live rounds made the job of the adjudicators very difficult. We would like to thank the adjudicators in each division for taking on such an important function that helped to make ITEC 2004 such a huge success.

The adjudicators in each division were as follows:
Artist Solo Euphonium
Steven Mead (head judge), Brian Bowman, Eran Levy, Shoichiro Hokazono, Jason Ham
Artist Solo Tuba
Roger Bobo (head judge), John Griffiths, James Gourlay, Oystein Baadsvik
Young Artist Solo Tuba
Velvet Brown (head judge), Chitate Kagawa (final round), Igor Krivokapic, Jozsef Bazsinka, Tim Northcut, Jason Roland Smith (semi-final round)
Arnold Jacobs Mock Orchestral Tuba
Lászlo Szabo (head judge), Csaba Szalay, Marcus Hötzel, Dennis Askew, Steve Rosse
Rich Matteson Jazz and Street Musician
Enrique Feldman (head judge), Marcus Dickman, Sérgio Carolino
Tuba/Euphonium Quartet
Gabor Adamik (head judge), Sotto Voce (Michael Forbes, Nat McIntosh, Demondrae Thurman, Patrick Schulz), John Stevens, Lászlo Dubrovay

Competitions of this magnitude would not be possible without the support of sponsors. We would like to thank the Yamaha Corporation, Johann Schlipfinger, and JA Musik Corporation for their support of the ITEC 2004 Conference and Competitions.

Tuba/Euphonium Quartet
MEGABASS TUBAKUARTETT, First Prize
(Robert Vida, Gabor Kurucz, Albert Timar, Peter Kavacs)
Tubas in the Sun, Second Prize
(Brent Harvey, Ashley Sample, Glenn Wilkinson, Mark Norman)
MEGABASS, Winners of the Tuba/Euphonium Quartet Competition

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Street Musician
Elisabeth Vannebo, First Prize

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