Five Ways to Diversify Your Recital Repertoire

Today’s post is by our very own Co – Head Brass Chick –  Kate Amrine

IMG_9698 for email.jpg

A passionate and creative performer, Kate Amrine is a prominent trumpet player balancing a multifaceted career from developing new repertoire and curating concerts to freelancing with many different groups in the New York City area. Recent performances include a tour of Japan with the New York Symphonic Ensemble, a solo recital in Mississippi at the Music by Women Festival, and an opera at BAM with string ensemble A Far Cry. Upcoming performances include a recital at the New Music Gathering, a big band tour, a concerto in her hometown in Maryland, and a concerto in Japan. She is extremely dedicated to commissioning and performing new music, premiering over 30 pieces both as a soloist and a chamber musician. Kate’s debut album As I Am was released in November 2017 featuring new music by women composers. Kate also frequently performs on Broadway and in other regional musical theater productions both in and outside of the NYC area. As an educator, Kate enjoys teaching in several after school music programs and serves as an Adjunct Instructor at New York University.

— here are the Five Ways to Diversify Your Recital Repertoire —


1. Don’t limit yourself to standard instrumentation like brass + piano or brass quintet. Look into chamber music that involve brass with winds, strings, or percussion. Some of my favorites are Eric Ewazen’s Trio for trumpet, violin, and piano; Handel’s Let the Bright Seraphim for trumpet and soprano; and Libby Larsen’s “Ridgerunner” for trumpet and percussion.  

 

2. Consider programming music by composers who are not dead white men. It can be such a great experience to work with a living composer who you know personally and can be a part of the process. Having an audience meet and hear from the composer also gives a whole new level to a performance. Use your recital as an opportunity to incorporate music by women composers and/or diverse groups who are often less represented and explored.  These efforts can have an incredible wave of reactions in audience members who may not have heard music by someone who looked like them and may not have realized those people even existed. 

 

3. Make choices with lighting and staging that go beyond a standard classical recital. Sometimes it can be boring for an audience member to watch a performer stand in the same place behind the music stand for a while. Consider changing it up visually. Collaborate with a dancer or a lighting technician on a piece. Think of how you can incorporate something visually that adds a different element beyond what simply playing the piece would have conveyed. Personally, I have performed a solo in a balcony overlooking the recital hall, performed a piece entirely in the dark, and performed a piece with the performers spaced out around the venue instead of front and center on stage. 

 

4. Perform some of your own compositions or arrangements. Outside of being a valuable skill and learning experience, it really adds something extra when an audience hears something written or arranged by the performer themselves. You are able to tell the story of the piece, your inspiration behind it, and why you chose to write it. These stories can connect you with your audience in a way that may often be more meaningful then playing xxx’s Sonata Op. 99.

 

5. Have the entire recital take place in a non traditional venue or format. Consider a venue outside the concert hall, like a bar or community center – where you may be able to attract a wider audience and create a different experience. Perhaps you can have a beer pairing with half of the pieces or create certain mini food courses with a movement of a piece. Even changing up the format and allowing audience members to walk around or chat in between pieces can create a different vibe that may be more refreshing than the standard classical concert experience.

There are many more options that I could have drawn from but hopefully these are helpful to opening up your perspective on recital repertoire. Many of them apply to standard concerts as well. We would love to hear which of these, or other options, you often take advantage of when planning a performance so please don’t hesitate to comment or be in touch. Hope this helps!

Five Things to Remind Yourself Before Performing

We are excited to feature a post by sixteen-year-old trumpet player Evelyn Hartman on Brass Chicks! Evelyn is our youngest #FiveThingsFriday writer yet but her words pack some serious wisdom. 


evelyn.jpegEvelyn Hartman is a sixteen-year-old trumpet player living in Northern Michigan, where she is currently a junior at Petoskey High School. She is involved in her school’s award-winning marching band, wind ensemble, and jazz band. Evelyn is also in the Northern Michigan Brass Band, having now played repiano cornet, soprano cornet, and flugelhorn parts in various programs. Another group Evelyn is involved in is the Northern Symphonic Winds. Both Northern Michigan Brass Band and Northern Symphonic Winds are often exclusive from high school players.

Evelyn has participated in several Solo and Ensemble performances. In her sophomore year, she received first division ratings at both the District and the State level for the Arutunian Concerto. This year she performed the piece Rustiques, by Eugene Bozza, again earning first division ratings at Districts and States.

Evelyn also enjoys playing for charity. This last holiday season, for example, she formed a brass ensemble that went around to local retirement homes playing a large selection of Christmas carols. In the summer of her sophomore year, Evelyn attended Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp on a merit scholarship and sat first chair in their top wind ensemble. She also earned the Outstanding Camper Award at the end of the session. For this summer, Evelyn was selected as an alternate for National Youth Orchestra 2 and was also accepted into Interlochen Arts Camp’s six-week World Youth Wind Symphony program. She recently confirmed enrollment into Interlochen’s program and is eager for it to begin.


Performances are a time of magic. Whether it is in a small room for a panel of judges or before a filled concert hall, performing allows us to share our art with others. For me personally, performing used to be a time of incredibly high stress. I found myself nervous days before it was time to showcase. As a result of this, my performances usually just weren’t that great; I merely survived. And I know I’m not the only one who has suffered from this pressure. I’ve seen many performers, from all ranges of ability, suffer symptoms of performance anxiety. Stars like Jim Carrey, Adele, and even Fryderyk Chopin have admitted that stage fright has been an issue for them.
Continue reading

Interview with Hana Beloglavec

DSC_3893-Edit1.jpgPerformer and pedagogue Hana Beloglavec has always had an interest in chamber music. Currently she is a member of Seraph Brass, a dynamic chamber ensemble drawing from a roster of highly talented women across the United States. With Seraph Brass, Beloglavec has recorded an album, Asteria, and has been a guest artist at the Lieksa Brass Week and the International Women’s Brass Festival. Also interested in trombone quartet chamber music, she competed in the finals of the 2014 International Trombone Quartet Competition with the Lakeside Quartet. She also was a member of The Handsome Dan’s Trombone Quartet, which won the 2013 Eastern Trombone Workshop’s Trombone Quartet Competition as well as the 2013 Yale Woolsey Concerto Competition.

Also deeply interested in orchestral music, Beloglavec has performed as a substitute trombonist most recently with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. While living in Chicago, Beloglavec performed as a substitute with the early-music ensemble Music of the Baroque and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Hana Beloglavec received her DMA from Northwestern University, where she studied with Michael Mulcahy, Douglas Wright, Timothy Higgins, Randall Hawes, and Christopher Davis. She completed her MM at Yale University and her BM degree at Western Michigan University, where she studied with Scott Hartman and Steve Wolfinbarger, respectively. Hana Beloglavec is currently the assistant professor of trombone at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


1.  How long have you been teaching? What are your responsibilities at the school? What do you love about teaching? Any favorite teaching moments?

I have been teaching private lessons for a long time (since I was an undergraduate student, maybe even earlier), but I have been teaching at the university level for the past three years. At LSU, I teach applied tenor and bass trombone students, trombone studio class, and trombone choir. I also coach brass quintets and teach the trombone portion of a brass pedagogy class for performance majors and masters students. Outside of my teaching, I serve on committees and recruit students, and I have my “research,” which includes performances with Seraph Brass, personal solo recitals, orchestral performances, etc.  Continue reading

Interview With Sarah Culp – NJ High School Band Teacher

To celebrate both Women’s History Month and Music in Our Schools Month, we are so excited to interview some fabulous music educators who are making an impact on their students across the country. I went to a summer festival with Sarah and I have always loved reading her posts about teaching… and I knew she would have great things to share with the Brass Chicks community.  – Kate Amrine


sarah culp.jpgSarah Culp is the current Director of Band’s at Manchester Township High School in Manchester Township, NJ. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from William Paterson University of New Jersey where she studied Classical trumpet and minored in classical voice. In addition to overseeing the jazz band, concert band, pit Orchestra, and other small ensembles at her school, she is enrolled in the Master of Music in Music Education program at Rutgers University. She also holds the position of Principal trumpet in both the Toms River Municipal Band and the Central Jersey Wind Ensemble. She resides in Toms River, New Jersey.

1. How long have you been teaching? What are your responsibilities at the school? What do you love about teaching? Any favorite teaching moments?

This is currently my 5th year of  teaching. I did 2 years in Paterson, NJ Teaching k-8 general Music and marching band, 1 year in Clifton NJ teaching 7th and 8th grade band and assisting on the High School Marching band and this is my second year running a full high school program. I currently run the concert band, jazz band, marching band, pit Orchestra, and small chamber ensembles at Manchester Township High School. What I love most about teaching s giving kids a safe place to be where they are loved and accepted by all, and a place where they can express themselves. My students are a family and they all take care of each other. We also get to make great music and I love seeing them improve through the years. It’s the most rewarding thing to see a student change and develop as a person and as a musician. There are moments when my band nails a piece or nails a run of their field show and my heart is so full that I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Continue reading

Five Pieces for Horn by Five Living Women Composers that I performed this week – Bailey Myers

IMG_8987

Hornist Bailey Myers is a Washington DC-based artist and activist, performing all types of music as often as possible and working to empower women in the music industry. Since moving to the Baltimore/Washington area in 2016, Bailey has performed with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestral Institute Festival Orchestra, the Washington Chamber Orchestra, and the Baltimore-based Occasional Symphony. As a soloist and chamber musician, Bailey is passionate about featuring works by women composers and has performed at many events and churches in the area. Bailey has recently been named the new music director of Ascension Episcopal Church in Silver Spring, MD where she will be expanding a public concert series as one of her duties, and she is excited to use this platform to give more exposure to women composers and musicians (especially brass musicians!).

Bailey Myers currently studies with Denise Tryon at Peabody Conservatory and anticipates graduating with her Master’s Degree in Horn Performance in May 2018. She received her Bachelor of Music in Horn Performance from Oberlin Conservatory in 2016 under the instruction of Roland Pandolfi. In addition to her musical studies, Bailey also received a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies from Oberlin College with a Chinese Studies concentration and a Politics minor.

 


This past Tuesday I had my Master’s Recital, which featured all works by living women composers. It was the second recital of all women composers that I had programmed (the first featured Jane Vignery, Thea Musgrave, Clara Schumann, and Beyoncé), so it was an exciting challenge to find another hour of music. I owe so much to Lin Foulk and her awesome database, which I highly recommend as the first place to start for any horn players looking for music written by women – solo or chamber music. The following five pieces were what I ultimately chose to program, and I am very happy with the results.

 

1. Imaginings by Dorothy Gates:

 This piece is perfect for opening a recital; it has a dramatic opening and a flashy ending, while not being terribly difficult to put together with piano. Composed for Michelle Baker, recently retired 2nd horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, it features the low register in particular. Baker premiered Imaginings just this past summer at the 25th International Women’s Brass Conference, and you can hear her SoundCloud recording on Dorothy Gates’ website here. Dorothy Gates is definitely a composer to check out if you’re a brass player – she is a prolific composer of brass music, especially brass band music, and she is a trombonist herself. Born in Northern Ireland, she now resides in the United States where she is Senior Music Producer for The Salvation Army’s Eastern Territory in New York and the Composer-in-Residence for the New York Staff Band – a position she has held since 2002. She is the first woman to be employed by The Salvation Army in this role. You can learn more about her here. Continue reading

Five Things to Bring and Eat on a Long Day

Today’s Five Things Friday post is by Audrey Flores.

0E76106D-6676-4BC4-ADB6-96BEDE1743A2.jpeg

Audrey Flores is a freelancing horn player in New York City. She attended the Juilliard School and the Mannes College of Music, and regularly plays in Broadway productions and with orchestras in the tri-state area. She plays a 2007 Engelbert Schmid Triple Horn with a medium hand-hammered bell that was also made in 2007, purchased brand new from The Horn Guys in Los Angeles in 2008.

Formerly Principal Horn of both the Allentown Symphony and Symphony in C in Camden, NJ, Audrey has also played with the New World Symphony, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in Ohio, the Miami Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Mariinsky Orchestra, and the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble. She was a musician in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Orchestra in 2011 and 2012, and in the New York Spectacular in the summer of 2016. She released her first solo album in June of 2017.


F8ADB3C0-2286-4BE6-A675-AE34BFFAD6EE.jpeg

Ever have those days where you leave your apartment as the sun comes up, and get home when the stars are long gone? Days like this can be hard on your health, and harder still if you end up starving and spending your hard-earned cash on overpriced food before you’ve even gotten paid. Here are Five Things To Bring and Eat on a long day. Eat well and don’t forget your toothbrush! Continue reading

The Trombonist-Turned-Musicologist (No, this is Not a Joke): How Embracing my Past Defined my Future

We are excited today to share a guest post by Alyssa Wells about her path from playing trombone and baritone in bands to pursuing a PhD in Musicology. Thank you, Alyssa, for sharing your story!

Wells - Headshot.jpgAlyssa Wells is a Musicology PhD student and Rackham Merit Fellow at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include: labor union and industry bands, protest music, the politics of sound and space, and communist and socialist composers. Before coming to the University of Michigan, she completed master’s degrees at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in Musicology (M.M.) and German and Scandinavian Studies (M.A.). While at UMass, her research on Hanns Eisler and music festivals in the German Democratic Republic received funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Alyssa also holds a B.A. in Music (trombone) and German Studies from Western Michigan University. In her free time, she enjoys running, cooking, telling terrible jokes, and making annoying puns.


If you would have told 19-year-old me that I am now just about halfway done with a PhD in musicology, I would have probably laughed…

Fig1
Figure 1 – Alyssa, aged 19. Clearly enthused about musicology

…In fact, until the past year, musicology had never truly felt “natural” to me. The field was intriguing and inspiring enough to decide to devote my life to it, but what I studied simply did not furnish me with the same deep personal connection that I consistently witnessed my colleagues experiencing.  Continue reading

Five (of The Many) Great Things About My Teaching Job

Jessica Stein is a trumpet player and band teacher at the Haldane Central School District in Cold Spring, NY. Most recently Jessica played in the pit orchestra for Marist College’s production of Anything Goes. Jessica is a founding member of Millennial Brass, a brass ensemble that performs regionally in New York and Connecticut. Additionally, Jessica subs with The Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra.

During the summer of 2016, Jessica attended The Aspen Music Festival and School where she performed significant orchestral works alongside some of the countries’ top classical musicians. Jessica has played internationally in Graz, Austria as a member of the American Institute of Musical Studies’ professional festival orchestra. Upon beginning her graduate work in 2014 at SUNY Purchase, Jessica was a finalist in the Purchase College Concerto Competition performing the Arutunian Trumpet Concerto.

Jessica earned her Master’s of Music from SUNY Purchase under the tutelage of Raymond Mase. Additionally, Jessica holds a Bachelor’s of Music with a double major in Trumpet Performance and Music Education from The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University where she was a recipient of the Sylvia Friedberg Nachlas Endowment Scholarship.


I have never spoken so openly about being a public school band teacher. I just started my job in September 2017, and I’ve been pretty quiet about it. As a professional musician, at first, I felt that having a teaching job was something to be ashamed of. However, in the past six months, I’ve realized that couldn’t be further from the truth. I think it’s time for me to speak out about how fantastic my job is. So without further ado, here are five (of the many) great things about my teaching job.  Continue reading