This post is a bit late in coming, I suppose (particularly since one of the events I will mention has already passed), but I think it is a good practice to use an occasional blog post to mention some important upcoming performances and events. With a normal teaching load this semester (rather than an overload), my book recently published, and my long-awaited CD project finally nearing completion, my work life presently consists of teaching, practicing, and performing, with few additional time-consuming responsibilities. This leaves more time for reading, time with family, relaxing, and church activities, which is a nice change of pace compared to recent months.
In my solo performances this spring I am focusing upon the music of younger composers, defined as those born post-1970. While to my students calling someone aged 45 “young” might be a stretch, compared to the popular image of composers as “dead white men” it is a youthful age indeed. Besides, as age 40 looms closer and closer for me 45 doesn’t seem old at all!
January 16-18: Big 12 Trombone Conference
Just before the spring semester commenced at Ole Miss I traveled to Texas Tech University for the twelfth annual Big 12 Trombone Conference. This was my third appearance at this event, having also served as a clinician or performer at the 2007 and 2011 events. My teaching and performing responsibilities were packed into a two-hour span on Saturday afternoon, beginning with a clinic on low brass doubling (also a means of promoting my new book on the subject), and then a performance of 1.14 by Steven Verhelst (b. 1981), which was well-received. Otherwise I got to hear some great music and teaching as well as make and renew acquaintances with colleagues. I was especially glad to get to visit with Alex Iles, a very fine trombonist in the L.A. area (you might not know who he is, but you’ve heard him if you watch television or movies), and Douglas Yeo, retired Boston Symphony Orchestra bass trombonist who now teaches at Arizona State University.
March 19-21: South Central Regional Tuba-Euphonium Conference
One of my favorite things about the International Tuba-Euphonium Association (and something I wish its sister organization for trombonists would emulate) is its practice of having a big international conference every other year, with regional events in the intervening years. This allows more people to have an opportunity to present and perform, and makes travel to a major event possible for more people, as attending the international conferences can sometimes be prohibitively expensive depending on the location. This year I will be performing solo works by Frank Gulino (b. 1987), Nathan Daughtrey (b. 1975), and Roland Szentpáli (b. 1977), and conducting a performance by the University of Mississippi Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble at the South Central Regional Tuba-Euphonium Conference to be held at the University of Central Arkansas. I am especially excited about this opportunity for my students, most of whom have never attended a conference like this before. Even more important than their performance is the chance they will have to hear their colleagues from other schools, in addition to performances and lectures from some of the best tuba and euphonium players in the country.
April 20: Faculty Recital Series: “Music for Low Brass by Young Composers”
My “young composers” emphasis for this spring will culminate in a recital presenting works for alto, tenor, and bass trombones, and euphonium, by composers born in 1970 or later. The program I have planned at present includes works by the Gulino, Daughtrey, Szentpáli, and Verhelst (all mentioned previously), in addition to pieces by David Herring (b. 1970) and Boston Symphony Orchestra bass trombonist James Markey. It’s a good thing I have time to practice this semester, because this is a lot of great (and difficult) material!
April 24: University of Mississippi Low Brass Ensembles
The spring concert for the UM trombone ensemble and tuba-euphonium ensemble will include a number of original works and transcriptions for our instruments. Highlights of the program will be Celestial Suite for tuba-euphonium ensemble by Stephen Bulla (b. 1953) and How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place from the German Requiem by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), arranged by Elwood Williams. I hope to close this program with my own arrangement of Rolling Thunder by Henry Fillmore (1881-1956) for ten-part mixed low brass ensemble.
In addition to these there will be freelancing, regular performances with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and hopefully additional engagements with the Great River Trombone Quartet. Visits to local schools and community colleges as a soloist and with the Mississippi Brass Quintet are also being planned. Another semester filled with great music. I am blessed to do what I do for a living.