The International Euphonium Institute 2005 Debrief
By Adam Frey, IEI Director
Our mission was once again very successful this year. I am pleased to say that I think the level of improvement far surpassed my expectations. I have to admit that I thought IEI 2004 was an amazing and inspiring week for the participants, myself, and the euphonium itself. I tried to imagine what it would be like with twice as many participants, two mass ensembles, two staff pianists, an entire recital of world premieres, and of course the camaraderie of meeting and teaching and spending a week with so many enthusiastic euphonium players from all over and my good friend Thomas Ruedi. Well it was even more inspirational, motivating, and enjoyable than I imagined. IEI 2005 turned out to be a tremendous week and while I do not want to tell you about it from my perspective, I do want you to know that I am thrilled by the amount of dedication and support from the participants and staff of the week and think this embodies the love that all of us have for our instruments. I hope that this continues to spread and create more awareness, repertoire, abilities, and skills.
IEI Artists Mark Jenkins and Thomas Ruedi with IEI Director Adam Frey
I would to offer a few quick highlights for me at IEI 2005. Things certainly were implemented more smoothly (buses), and the t-shirts look awesome (except I forgot to put my wife’s name as part of the staffäthanks honey, and I will not miss that one again!!). We had so much new and great music–a total of 18 world premieres! Some of these works are being published by Euphonium.com, so look for them in the future. In addition, it was quite a highlight to also present an entire recital with Caryl Conger, conduct the massed ensemble, work on Roman Carnival (look out for it next year), and of course meeting and talking with all the participants over meals and between classes and working with them in master classes and rehearsals.
In this article, I have included a wide variety of comments from various IEI 2005 participants presenting perspectives from a high school freshman to a university professor with a DMA in euphonium to a highly motivated undergraduate student to one of our great amateur supporters. Also, I wanted to present some more specific comments of mine as well as information on IEI 2006 at the end of this article. Also a thank you to our sponsors for IEI 2005: Yamaha, Willson, Woodwind and Brasswind, and the Georgia Arts Council. Enjoy the commentary, take it to heart, and come experience IEI first hand next year!!
~Adam Frey, Euphonium Soloist and Teacher, Director of the International Euphonium Institute
A few words from IEI participants:
The IEI in Total
Ryan Black, Graduate Student, The University of Alabama
From the opinion of a person who participated in the first IEI and with the constant improvements even after a year, it is bound to go from the premiere euphonium camp in the south to the premiere euphonium camp in the nation. This year’s activities and events surpassed the IEI 2004 and will continue to do so for years to come. Adam Frey has done a fantastic job of providing such a variety of events and guest artists, that one could not possibly get tired of this virtual seven-day euphonium heaven. Besides the various master classes, there were also many opportunities to gain performance experience in a stress-free environment in such ensembles as euphonium choir, quartets, solos, and other ensembles in the Emory University Performing Arts Studio as well as at an outreach concert at the Alpharetta First United Methodist Church. The outreach concert provided everyone with an opportunity to bring the performances to the public and participate in a service to the community of Alpharetta, Georgia. We were very lucky to have something new this year. We performed a New Works recital where all the students premiered new works for the euphonium. What a great time it is to have such a plethora of composers writing for our instrument.
The participants of the IEI 2005 had the chance to enjoy many soloists of different backgrounds in music as well as from the international guest artist Thomas Ruedi from Switzerland. Each guest artist led a warm-up class, a master class, and played a recital. There were also guest artists who lead a master class in their specialty, such as Michael Moore’s orchestral class, Mark Jenkin’s military excerpt class, Dr. Marc Dickman’s jazz master class, and University of Georgia’s director of choral studies Allen Crowell’s Arias and Songs class. Besides the specialty master classes, Thomas Ruedi and Adam Frey lead classes such as: practice routines, phrasing and musicality, and an articulation enhanced class. We were treated to the resident composer, Sy Brandon’s class about composing. There were also guests such as Kevin Lyons from the Atlanta Symphony, The Georgia Brass Band, and Georgia State University’s Dr. Tom Gibson playing in the various recitals. You would think that there couldn’t be any more than what has been listed, but there was a lot more.
The ensembles were split into a high school ensemble and a college ensemble. The college ensemble was very fortunate to have Georgia State University’s Director of Bands, Dr. Robert Ambrose, conducting and to also be premiering a work written specifically for the IEI 2005 from the resident composer Sy Brandon. The high school ensemble played challenging but well-known music conducted by several of the IEI’s guest artists. The college ensemble was challenged daily with lyrical and technical pieces that motivated all of us to practice.
Of course the IEI wouldn’t have gone on without two guests that deserve a great deal of respect, resident pianist Caryl Conger and assistant pianist Magdalena Shumanova. Caryl Conger returned from last year’s IEI with enthusiasm that motivated us to play our best and to think of the music in a different way. Her skills on the piano were unmatched and provided us with the stability some of us needed or haven’t experienced before. Newcomer Magdalena Shumanova came to her first IEI with a huge amount of excitement, ready to learn and get her first taste of a euphonium fest. Magdalena provided an unwavering sense of musicality and assisted with some of the participant’s musical dilemmas. Both accompanists complimented each soloist in a way many have yet to experience, and I think I speak for all the participants in saying that we readily look forward to their return to the IEI next year and in future years.
IEI Outreach Concert
One thing that hasn’t been stated is the camaraderie that developed between everyone at the IEI this year and last year. Having high school students, college students, college professors and soloists, you would think that there would be some separation between each group. No, there was none. Everyone got along well and we created contacts and friends from all over the country that will last a lifetime. From the video game playing in the dorms to the nightly outings at Taco Mac and the Brick House, everyone talked among each other like old friends. There were soloists talking casually to high school students and college students talking to amateurs. Through word of mouth of the high school students and the college students attending the various competitions and conferences around the world, this camp will surely become the one must-go-to event. We have to be able to appreciate the tremendous amount of work and time involved in planning an event this colossal. From all the participants, we want to thank Mr. Adam Frey for providing us this fantastic opportunity to learn and create music in such a nurturing environment and to Emory University for providing us with facilities to work in this year and last year. We look forward to the years to come and to promoting this event as well as the euphonium to the general population. One would think that all this is a mere impossibility, but it CAN happenäonly at the International Euphonium Institute.
Review of International Guest Artist Recital of Thomas Ruedi
By Mark Carlson, Graduate Student, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Thomas Ruedi kicked off the second IEI with a fantastic recital. Those who came expecting the effortless, effective playing evident on his CD, and those who were previously unfamiliar with his playing left impressed, even astounded. Those familiar with his wonderful CD Elegie were not surprised to find a recital program of transcriptions. How exciting to hear a euphonium program that opens with Handel and follows with Schubert! Ruedi’s warm, singing tone lent a special signature to each piece of his diverse program. He brought much attention to the detail demanded by the delicate phrases, making them sound as if they were originally intended for the euphonium. The fiery Martinu displayed Ruedi’s fondness for variation-set warhorses and found him using the euphonium’s many colors in the process. The lovely Granados Madrigal and stark Bloch Prayer showcased Ruedi’s sensitivity and flexibility. The delightful ease with which Thomas plays is mirrored by his droll smile and disarming “let’s have a go” attitude onstage.
His lovely tone and impeccable musicianship aside, this is possibly the most attractive aspect of Thomas’s playing–his dedication to uncovering the nature and form of the music and using all his techniques to relay that story to the listener. This was particularly evident on Kroll’s rollicking Banjo and Fiddle , as he subtly shaped each recurring phrase with great care.
Ruedi and accompanist Carol Conger immediately made clear the teamwork they brought to the task at hand. I was reminded of something I enjoyed in Thomas’s playing when I heard him perform at the Lieksa Brass Week last summer–his control and sensitivity are so great that he often plays delicately enough to slip right into the piano’s texture and dynamic. A truly stunning program and great way to start a week of euphonium playing!