What’s happening with Sérgio Carolino
By Deanna Swoboda, ITEA Vice-President/President Elect
Editor’s note: It’s been several years since Sérgio Carolino was “introduced” to ITEA members, which was suggested to me by Gerhard Meinl when conversing about new and upcoming global talent. The result was an interview-article by Andrew Miller that appeared in the Spring 2004 issue (Volume 31:3). Since, if this cat remains a secret to you, then you’ve unfortunately missed ITEC Budapest and ITEC Cincinnati and you need to spend some time on his Myspace page or a multitude of other websources. He is an innovative artist to say the least.~JRS
A trip to Porto, Portugal is a must! The city of Porto is beautiful, the people were very accommodating and helpful, and the food was excellent…including port wine! Portugal is a vibrant country and should be considered as one of the best places to visit. The city life is alive and full of music and the arts. Among the highlights are a new arts center (which is home for the Porto National Orchestra), many jazz clubs, theaters, and concert halls. The countryside and more rural areas are rolling with grape vineyards, farmland, and hills of green.
With an invitation from Sérgio Carolino, I traveled to the Porto Higher School of Music and Arts (ESMAE) to present three days of masterclasses and a recital for his students. The ESMAE is positioned on top of one of the many city hills in Porto. This old building has a lot of character and authentic beauty. The energy of the school is alive with people practicing, working, or taking time for friendship and sharing ideas over a cup of coffee. As a younger professor, Sérgio Carolino is building a competitive tuba-euphonium class at the school. The level of the tuba-euphonium students at ESMAE is equal to the finest conservatories around the world. Mr. Carolino is a very energetic teacher who continually motivates his students to the highest levels and has established himself as an international classical and jazz tuba player. He approaches all music with enthusiasm and creativity. This is also affecting his students in a positive way. The students have a “fire” in their playing and a desire to succeed in the music profession. He is building a strong reputation as a professor while advancing his professional playing career as an international soloist.
One of the most important concepts for tuba and euphonium playing is the “concept of sound.” All of the students were able to produce a dark, resonant tone quality that made the instrument “sing.” When a good tone has been developed, it is easy then to work on technique and musicality. It was a pleasure to work with so many talented students!
While in Porto, I had the sincere pleasure of meeting mouthpiece maker, Toni Romera (www.romerabrass.com). He is making some very nice mouthpieces for brass instruments, for the tuba in particular, with the help of Sérgio Carolino.
As a young person, who or what inspired you to play the tuba? Why did you choose the tuba?
Well, I’ve been inspired by diverse kind of players and music styles. To name only a few who have had a big influence in myself to play and to study the tuba: Kirk Joseph (Dirty Dozen Brass Band), Bob Stewart and Howard Johnson (jazz tuba incons), John Fletcher (Philip Jones Brass Ensemble), Danny Rubio (The Dukes of Dixieland), Michael Lind (Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra), Albert Mangelsdorf (German Jazz Trombone player and innovater), Warren Deck (New York Philharmonic Orchestra), Dave Bargeron (Blood Sweat and Tears), Ruffus Reid (jazz bass player), Victor Wooten (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones), Frank Sinatra & the Tommy Dorsey Big Band), Ella Fitzerald, and Miles Davis. I always wanted to play an instrument where I could serve as the bass line function. Being a big fan of the late Jaco Pastorious, I wanted to do the same thing with the tuba or sousaphone!
Who were your teachers and how did those people prepare you for a career in music?
Swoboda and Carolino
Before going to the Geneva Conservatory of Music to study music, I was more like a autodidact, learning by listening to many recordings and trying to imitate what I heard… when in Geneva, my main teacher was Mr. Pierre Pilloud of the Suisse Romande Orchestra in Geneva, Switzerland. I tried to learn as much as I could by studying in masterclasses with some of the greatest tuba players in the world, like Roger Bobo, Melvin Culbertson, Gene Pokorny, Shmuel Hershko and many others. I always wanted to play many music styles so that could have much more fun and enjoy much more making music.
What is the most important concept in your teaching?
I like to incorporate the concept of a dark, focused, and projected sound on the instrument. I also believe that it is important to master the extreme registers and dynamics of the tuba. It is important to practice all of these techniques on a daily basis.
How would you describe the Portuguese tuba and euphonium sound?
The Portuguese tuba and euphonium sound is dark and sweet. It is important to develop a sound concept in your mind before you play. I believe that the sound of our instrument is comparable to the palette of sound colors available in speech. Different languages have different sounds and different syllables. This is very similar to playing the tuba. The Portuguese language is very beautiful and transfers to the tuba and euphonium quite well.
Describe your music career in Portugal
I have a very healthy and busy musical career in Portugal. For the last 10 years I’ve been playing, recording with the most famous jazz and classical musicians in many and diverse projects, sharing the stages of the most famous festivals and concert halls. I am a lucky guy!
What are your future projects?
I have some different CD projects that will be finished and available at the end of 2009. I will record music written for myself in different settings as solo tuba and wind band with Portuguese Symphonic Wind Band, original music for a project called TUBAX with Mário Marques on the soprano saxophone, AMOROSO string quartet, Telmo Marques on the piano. I also have a project with original music for tuba and harp. Other projects will include music for solo tuba, sax quartet, and vibraphone called Tuba ’n Saxe’s Company!, music for solo tuba and trombone ensemble named Mr SC & the Wild Bones Gang. By August I will have two new CDs in the market: one with my pocket tuba band with Anne Jelle Visser (tuba) 2tUBAS&friends in which we have special guest Roger Bobo as narrator. The other CD I will perform as soloist with the Porto National Orchestra with the Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra by Portuguese composer, António Victorino D’Ameida. I am also preparing three new CDs for the middle of August with The Postcard Brass Band, with two extra members playing accordion and trumpet. Following that we will have the first audio recording with the Portuguese Tuba Ensemble HOW LOW CAN YOU GO? with Roland Szentpáli and Harri Lidsle as soloists. In September I will also record the second CD with my jazz fusion trio TGB (tuba, guitar and drums).
How can ITEA better serve Portuguese members?
I think that ITEA can help the Portuguese members by paying a bit more attention to the immense activity with competitions, masterclasses, and concerts in Europe. We have so many young talented musicians emerging! There is a lot of great music being written by Portuguese composers and numerous high level competitions/masterclasses in Europe that need more press. More people should know about the opportunities.
What challenges do Portugal tuba and euphonium players face?
Well, I think that the challenges of being a professional musician are more evident for all tuba and euphonium players around the globe. I think that we all must be very versatile and learn to play many styles. I believe that we must be ‘special’ to have a successful career. It’s important to find a niche for yourself that is unique and continues to build a positive reputation for our instruments. We need to use our gift to make MUSIC. We are tuba and euphonium players, but it is most important to make music the priority. 21st century musicians must be great musicians and entrepreneurs. In addition to playing well they must also be able to “sell” their niche to the public.
For more information about and to hear music samples of Sérgio Carolino please visit him at www.myspace.com/Sérgiotubabondcarolino.