Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Visit, a Concert and a New Piece

We had a really busy but nonetheless really fun week from 25th through the 28th of February. Jim Nova, my friend, former student, Associate Principal Trombone of the Utah Symphony and Principal Trombone of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, came to perform as guest soloist with the NEC Trombone Choir and the Frequency Band in concert February 27th. Since Jim has participated a great deal in the Frequency Band over the years, he also joined the ensemble in the world premiere of a new piece, "Annapurna Trail."

"Annapurna Trail," for trombone choir, was inspired by an incredible picture, which I saw in an old "National Geographic" magazine, of the Annapurna Mountain range located in Nepal. Despite accompaniment by a jazz ensemble practicing upstairs, the Frequency Band stayed focused and intent and the piece went extremely well. It also was very well received by the audience.

Jim also played fantastic on his solo pieces. The students jaws dropped, and mine did too, when they heard the ease with which he covered the whole trombone range, and then some!! In addition to playing Gabaye's "Special," Jim played the solo on "Fanfare to the Rising Phoenix" as well as the solo role in the "Samkin Aylward" movement from "The White Company Quartet," accompanied by the Frequency Band.*

The audience loved the entire concert. And the students rose beautifully to the challenges this concert put in front of them. A big BRAVO to all!

The next day, Jim gave a terrific masterclass. His class was on taking auditions and he held a mock audition filled with loads of advice based on his own life experiences auditioning. The class was very well received, with the students warming to Jim's open and friendly as well as honest and creative approach.

Here is a sound clip of "Annapurna Trail" from about a minute into the piece, taken on a digital camera. For your interest, enjoyment and curiosity.

*Although Jim has recorded "Samkin Aylward" with us, it hasn't been released yet. ("The White Company Quartet" will be among the first recorded pieces we release this year.) However, Jim and I have recorded a duet also inspired by "Samkin," called "The Archer." Here's a sound clip from "The Archer" on the "Occurrences" CD for your enjoyment.

1 comment:

Jim Nova said...

Wow Norman! Thanks for the wonderful mention of my trip.

I realize as I look back to that trip how much my playing and especially teaching flows from what I learned from you over the years. From the littlest parts of "mouthpiece pressure down, air pressure up" to the big picture of thinking of music as a living thing!!

I hope the students at NEC realize how lucky they are to have such a knowledgeable and caring teacher.

I had such an enriching and fun trip. The students at NEC are such quality players and more importantly quality people!

Playing with you in the trombone choir and especially on "Annapurna Trail" reminded so directly of the feelings that got me into music in the first place. Sentiments that so easily got "mossed over" with the humdrum of normal "work" life.

I had a great time and thanks for the opportunity. I hope to see you again soon!!


Your old padawan,