Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Britt Classical Festival - Final Week
So, we have reached the last week of this year's Britt Festival. There are three concerts this weekend, only two of which I will be performing on.
Friday night's concert is entitled Music for the Eyes. It will feature photochoreography by James Westwater. The Britt Festival Orchestra will be performing excerpts from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, Serenade to Music by Vaughan Williams, Siegfried's Rhine Journey by Wagner, and Copland's Appalachian Spring Suite.
I am off for Saturday's concert. It is a family concert featuring the Magic Circle Mime Company.
Sunday night's concert is Rhapsody in Red, White and Blue, featuring James Chubet, the Britt Festival Orchestra's pianist. We will be doing works by Gershwin and Bernstein.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Britt Festival - Week 2
We've got a couple of good concerts scheduled this week out here in beautiful southern Oregon.
Friday night, Hillary Hahn will be performing Dvorak's Violin Concerto, along with a performance of Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony by the Britt Festival Orchestra.
Saturday night's concert is entitled Opera's Greatest Hits.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Britt Classical Festival
My blog entries have been a little sporadic this summer due to an extensive travel schedule. Currently, I find myself in beautiful southern Oregon performing at the Britt Classical Festival. Fortunately for me, the Pacific Northwest seems to be one of the few places in the continental US that is not being baked by 100 degree weather!
The Britt Orchestra will be performing several programs over the next three weeks. Friday night's program will feature Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, Saint-Saens' 2nd Piano Concerto, and the Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome by Richard Strauss.
On Saturday night, Sarah Chang will perform Vivaldi's Four Seasons followed by Saint-Saens' Organ Symphony.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pine Mountain Music Festival
Just a few quick words about what I have been up the last couple of weeks. The Pine Mountain Music Festival is located in the upper penisula of Michigan.
If you have not been here before, I highly recommend visiting sometime. The UP is one of the most beautiful parts of the Midwest. It's a great place to come and recharge my "batteries" after a busy year in the big city.
The trombone section at PMMF this year is:
Garth Simmons - Principal Trombonist of the Toledo Symphony
Brittany Lasch - PMMF Orchestra Fellowship Program
and myself
This week, we will be performing Mozart's The Magic Flute. Also, I will be playing two solo works, Tammuz and Kislev, by Daniel Schnyder on the New Chamber Music concert.

Monday, June 26, 2006

ESO Brass Quintet Article

Here is a nice write-up about yesterday afternoon's concert.
An Alpine Symphony

This week I will be performing three programs with the Grant Park Orchestra. Two of which will feature Richard Strauss' An Alpine Symphony.

Finally, before I head off to the U.P. next week, I will playing on the Opening Gala Concert for the American Guild of Organists National Convention 2006.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

ESO Brass Quintet

Saturday night is the final performance of Poliuto with da Corneto Opera.

Sunday afternoon, the Elgin Symphony Brass Quintet will be playing a free concert at Lords Park Pavilion. The show starts at 2:30 pm and will feature a lot of fun, standard fare for brass quintet.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 15, 2006


For the next two weeks, I will be involved in a production of Donizetti's Poliuto with da Corneto Opera.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Paradise and the Peri

This Sunday, I will be involved in a performance of Robert Schumann's Paradise and the Peri with the North Shore Choral Society and the Metropolis Symphony.

Come out and hear this rarely performed masterpiece.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

ESO This Week

I am emerging from the orchestra pit for the first time in over a month. This weekend, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra will be performing our final Classic Series concerts for the 2005 - 2006 season.

The program features Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Ravel's Mother Goose Suite, and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade.

Friday, May 26, 2006

More Nixon Reviews

Chicago Opera Theater has posted links for reviews of Nixon in China.

One more show left. Sorry's sold out!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Chicago Tribune review of "Nixon in China"
Here is John von Rhein's review of last night's performance...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Opening Night!
Tonight is the first show for Nixon in China with Chicago Opera Theater. I highly recommend coming out to see this production. The cast, orchestra, and sets are fantastic. Don't miss this rare opportunity to see one of the greatest operas of the twentieth century!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Nixon in China

Yesterday we had our first orchestra rehearsal for Chicago Opera Theater's production of Nixon in China.

This is what I will be doing for most of the month of May. Lots and lots of rehearsals...should be fun though!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Low Brass Boot Camp

A quick word about this year's Low Brass Boot Camp...

I will be helping out with Session 2. (June 5 - 11, 2006) Here is message from Mike Becker about accomodations for people coming in from out of town...

I have found 2 hotels close to the Boot Camp location. One is the Best Western. May 13 would be 159/night for double occupancy. The rest of the week is 99/night. Its Graduation, that's why the first night is more.
The Other is a Econo Lodge. 35/night for single and 49 for double. This one is slightly less attractive than the Best Western, but both have a pool and high speed internet. If you could split a room, I would recommend the Best Western. There are many others in Tucson that may have decent rates for the summer, but these are the closest ones to the site. If you have a car,it does not matter as things are never too far in Tucson. If you do not have a car, and can stay at the ones I mentioned above, then either someone can drive you or I can provide a ride to and from the location at the starting and ending times of the session.
If you are interested in these 2 hotels, let me know and I will email you the address and phone number to call.

For more information, visit
or email Michael Becker at

Monday, April 24, 2006

This Week's Events

After surviving last week...ESO kiddie shows every morning, afternoon opera rehearsals, and John Williams rehearsals and shows every night...I am looking forward to a little more sane schedule the next few days. Friday I will be performing Bugs Bunny on Broadway with the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra.

On Sunday, I will playing with the Lithuanian Opera Company. We will be perfoming Pilenai by Vytautas Klova.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006














MAY 13-20, 2006. SESSION 1

JUNE 5-11, 2006. SESSION 2



Class fee is $400 per session*

Michael Becker has been Principal Trombonist of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra since 2000. Previous to this appointment, he held positions in the Honolulu Symphony and the Savannah Symphony. He has spent many years playing, recording, and touring with major orchestras including the Chicago Symphony and the Detroit Symphony. In 1995, he was appointed to the “World Orchestra” by Sir Georg Solti. This all-star orchestra is made up of top players from orchestras around the world. He has also performed with the London Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Becker brings a vast amount of audition and performance experience to this seminar. He has been finalist for many orchestras in the U.S and abroad including the Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Metropolitan Opera, and the London Symphony Orchestra.

“For any student who is serious about orchestral training, Becker's low brass boot camp is a great opportunity. His extensive knowledge of auditions and experience as a performer would be a great asset to the student and young professional.”

--Jay Friedman, Principal Trombone, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

"This is a great opportunity to deal with the specifics of the audition environment. Many fine musicians fail to excel in this most artificial performance setting. It is a unique challenge and warrants a specialized workshop such as Michael Becker's Low Brass Boot Camp. I recommend it highly."

--Michael Mulcahy, Second Trombone, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

To apply, contact Michael Becker at 520-245-7377, or E-mail at

* Fee does not include housing expenses

Sunday, April 16, 2006

This weekend, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra will be doing an all John Williams concert.

As a brass musician, I will be looking forward to it. We will be featuring saxophonist, Carrie Koffman on music from Catch Me If You Can. I got a chance to hear her perform at the Pine Mountain Music Festival last summer and she was terrific.

If you are in the Elgin or Schaumburg area this weekend, come check it out. It should be lots of fun!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tenor Trombone Materials

Etude and Method Books:

Arban’s – Complete Method for Trombone
Bitsch – 14 Etudes de Rhythm
Blazevich – Clef Studies
-70 Studies for Tuba (play in tenor clef)
Blume – 36 Studies for Trombone w/F attachment
Bordogni/Rochut-Melodious Etudes
Boutry- 12 Etudes de Perfection
Clarke, H.L. - Technical Studies
Concone/Korak – The Complete Solfeggi
Fink – Introducing the Alto Clef
- Introducing the Tenor Clef
Johnson, J.J. – Solos (transcribed by Leisenring & Butler)
Kopprasch – 60 Selected Studies (both Trbn. & Tuba versions)
LaFosse – School of Sight Reading
Mantia – Trombone Virtuoso
Marsteller – Advanced Slide Technique
Maxted - Studies
Charlie Parker Omnibook
Pichaureau – Special Legato
The “Real” Book (or any good fake book)
Remington – Warm Ups
Slama – 66 Studies in All Keys
Schlossberg – Daily Drills
Toulon – Basique IV – Style et nuances
Vernon – A Singing Approach to the Trombone (and other Brass)
Wilson/Viola – Chord Studies for Trombone


Arnold - Fantasy
Bach – Six Suites for Cello Solo
Barat – Andante and Allegro
Bernstein – Elegy for Mippy II
Berio – Concerto
- Sequenza V
Bloch – Symphony
Brahms – Cello Sonatas
Cage – Solo for Sliding Trombone
Casterede – Sonatine
Chavez – Concerto
Clarke – Cousins (w/trumpet)
Creston – Fantasy
David – Concertino
Defaye – Deux Danses
Dorsey – Trombonology
Dutilleux – Chorale, Cadence and Fugato
Ewazen – Sonata
Frescobaldi – Canzoni per Basso Solo
Galliard – Sonatas
Grondahl - Concerto
Guilmant – Morceau symphonique
Harnley – Chorale Fantasie
Hidas – Movement
Hindemith - Sonata
Holst – Duet for Trombone and Organ
Jacob – Concerto
Jongen – Aria and Polonaise
Larsson - Concertino
Liszt – Cujus animam (w/Organ)
Marcello – Cello Sonatas
Martin – Ballade
Milaud – Concerto d’Hiver
Nymen – Concerto
Peasley – Arrows of Time
Pilss – Concerto for Bass Trombone
Pryor – The Blue Bells of Scotland
- Fantastic Polka
Thoughts of Love
Pugh - Concerto
Rabe – Basta
Rimsky-Korsakov - Concerto
Ropartz – Concert Piece
Rota - Concerto
Rouse – Concerto (in memorium Leonard Bernstein)
Saint-Saens - Cavatine
Schuller – Eine Kleine Posaunenmusik
Serocki - Sonatina
Starer – Concerto a tre (w/trumpet and clarinet)
Sulek – Sonata (Vox Gabrieli)
Telemann – 12 Fantasies
Thomas - Concerto
Vivaldi – Cello Sonatas
Weber - Romance
Zwillich – Concerto

Chamber Music:

Brown – Additions for amplified flute and trombone
Elgar – Duett for trombone and double bass
Hartley – Sonata da camera (w/ oboe, 2 cls, & bsn)
Kellaway – Esque for trombone and double bass
Poulenc – Sonata (w/trpt & horn)
Premru – Concertino (w/ WW 4-tet)
Stravinsky – Concertino
- In Memorium Dylan Thomas
(Tenor, String 4-tet, Trbn. 4-tet)
- Octet for Winds
- L’histoire du Soldat

Villa-Lobos – Choros #4 (w/ 3 horns)

This is a list of materials for my tenor trombone students to have studied or be familiar with.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Liszt, Strauss and Tchaikovsky

This weekend with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra:

We will be performing Richard Strauss' Horn Concerto No. 1...featuring our fantastic principal horn, Greg Flint!

Also on the program: Les Preludes by Franz Liszt and Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Importance of Sight Reading

I have been thinking all week about some of the things that I discussed at my master class on Monday. It’s interesting how you can be thinking about an idea and then it will present itself so clearly out in the “real world.” Working on Schumann’s First Symphony this week has given me a multitude of examples to draw on.

For many of my colleagues, our first major professional opportunity came at a moment’s notice. Someone has an emergency situation come up and a last minute substitute is needed to fill in for them. What if I got sick and someone had to come in and play the bass trombone part for the Schumann? Now, a lot of people would know the Third or Fourth Symphonies. But, this piece is not performed that much. Certainly, no one learns it for auditions. Well, the bass trombone part to the First Symphony is very active and exposed. It could be a little unsettling for someone to come in and have to read it on a concert without any rehearsals.

The most basic thing that I will tell a student when we work on sight reading is to believe what you see on the page. (Kalmus editions, not withstanding…ha, ha) You have to learn to trust yourself to be a good reader. This is such a little thing, but there are many times in the first movement when the bass trombone will have an eighth note pickup before the alto and tenor trombones enter. This can cause you to be hesitant and to think things like...did I come in too that a misprint, etc.? One little moment of hesitation can be very noticeable to your colleagues. I can’t stress enough that the most important job of a substitute is to not make the people you are working with worry. If you are hesitating or playing in holes, you will make people worry.

Another important thing is to acclimate yourself to the style of the piece. A bass trombonist should approach a Schumann symphony like Schubert or Mendelssohn. Most of the time, you are playing in unison and octaves with the bassoons, cellos, and basses. The bass trombone is the leading voice at these times, but you can’t play with the same kind of sound that you would use for Mahler or Wagner. This might seem obvious…but a lot of bass trombonists will come in and be too aggressive. This is a sure-fire way of not being called back. Now, I am not telling you that you can never play loud. You just need to be aware of how the rest of the section is playing and try and match them. Getting the right color for the piece is of prime importance.

Specific examples:

In the first movement there is a nice little “solo” starting at measure 271. This is an excellent opportunity to show that you listened to the woodwinds preceding you. Match how they played it!

The second movement has a very beautiful trombone chorale near the end. Listen to the principal and don’t play too soft. You want your principal to be able to hear you and be comfortable on top.

Alto and tenor trombones are tacet in the third movement. It’s just you! You need to match the trumpet and horns, as well as the bass instruments.

There are a lot of nice parts in the last movement, but it ends with a “Brahm’s One” type arpeggio melody. Just like in Brahms, you can play this very strong…but with your most beautiful sound.

The most important thing to do is to remember to have fun. This might be kind of hard while you are freaking out over not playing in the holes, not playing too loud, etc. But if you are a good reader, any unfamiliar piece of a similar difficulty level should not be out of your grasp.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Spring Symphony

I am back home after a brief, but very fun trip to Ann Arbor. Many thanks to Kathryn Goodson and Jenny Walvoord. Thanks also, to David Jackson for setting everything up and making me welcome.

Back to work. This week I will be performing with the Lake Forest Symphony. Our program will feature Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole with David Taylor. No...not the great bass trombonist.

This David Taylor:

Also on the program will be Robert Schumann's First Symphony. A nice piece with an odd little bass trombone part...more on that later.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Recital and Masterclass Announcement

Mark Fry, Bass Trombone


Kathryn Goodson, Piano

In Recital

March 20, 2006

4:40 pm

University of Michigan, School of Music

Cady Room, Stearns Building

Also featuring Jennifer Walvoord, violin


Jan Koetsier - Allegro Maestoso

Georg Phillip Telemann - Fantasie in c minor

Charles Ives - Two Songs

Duke Ellington - Come Sunday

Daniel Schnyder - Concerto for Bass Trombone

Mr. Fry will be giving a masterclass immediately following the recital.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Another Busy Week!

In addition to some last minute recital preparation...this is what I am up to this week. Monday night we had our second performance of Dvorak's 6th Symphony with the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra.

Friday, I will be performing the annual Saint Patrick's Day concert in Orchestra Hall... Siamsa na nGael.

Saturday, I will be performing with the Heartland Voices at Elgin Community College.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This Week's Events

This is a busy weekend. Thursday I am doing Sibelius and Waxman with the Northwest Indiana Symphony.

Saturday night I will be going out to St. Charles to perform Morten Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna with the Heartland Voices.

And finally, Sunday and Monday I will performing one of my favorites, Dvorak's Sixth Symphony, with the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bass Trombone Materials
Etude and Method Books:
Aharoni - New Method for Bass Trombone
-The Non-Classic Bass Trombone
Arban’s – Complete Method for Trombone
Bitsch – 14 Etudes de Rhythm
Blazevich – Clef Studies
-70 Studies for Tuba
Blume – 36 Studies for Trombone w/F attachment
Bordogni/Rochut-Melodious Etudes
Boutry- 12 Etudes de Perfection
Clarke, H.L. - Technical Studies
Concone/Korak – The Complete Solfeggi
Faulise – F&D Double Valve Bass Trombone
Fink – Introducing the Alto Clef
-Introducing the Tenor Clef
Gillis – 20 Etudes
-70 Progressive Studies
Gregoriev – 24 Studies
-78 Studies for Tuba
Johnson, J.J. – Solos (transcribed by Leisenring & Butler)
Knaub – Technical Studies
Kopprasch – 60 Selected Studies (both Trbn. & Tuba versions)
LaFosse – School of Sight Reading
Mantia – Trombone Virtuoso
Charlie Parker Omnibook
Pederson - Advanced Etudes
The “Real” Book (or any good fake book)
Remington – Warm Ups
Slama – 66 Studies in All Keys
Schlossberg – Daily Drills
Teele – Advanced Embrouchre Studies for Bass Trombone
Toulon – Basique IV – Style et nuances
Tyrell – 40 Advanced Studies for B-Flat Bass
Uber – Concert Etudes
-Studies (30)
Vernon – A Singing Approach to the Trombone (and other Brass)
Wilson/Viola – Chord Studies for Trombone
Adler – Canto II
Bach – Six Suites for Cello Solo
Casterede – Fantasie Concertante
Bolter – Of Mountains
Bozza – New Orleans
Brahms – Cello Sonatas
Broughton – Sonata for Tuba
Brubeck, C. – Concerto
Damase - Prelude, Elegie & Finale
David - Concertino (transposed to B-flat for Bass Trombone)
Dedrick – Inspiration
Dossett – Trilogy
Ewazen – Ballade
-Concertino ( w/ Trombone Choir)
-Dagon II
Fetter – Bass Lines
-Variations on Palestrina's Dona Nobis Pacem
Frank – Variations on Barnacle Bill the Sailor
Frescobaldi – Canzoni per Basso Solo
Friedman – OS
Galliard – Sonatas
George – Concerto
Gillingham - Sonata
Gordon - Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra
Grantham - Sonata in One Movement
Hovahaness – Sym. #34 (Bass Trombone Concerto)
Jacob – Cameos
Kotsier – Allegro Maestoso
-Falstaffiade (w/ trbn. trio)
Lebedev – Concerto #1 & 2
Liptak – Flaming Angel (w/Harpsichord)
Lieb – Concertino Basso
Liszt – Hosanna (w/Organ)
McCarty – Sonata
Mueller – Praeludium, Chorale, & Variations
Nelhybel – Concerto
Pilss – Concerto
Premru – Concerto for Tuba
Sachse – Concertino in F
Schnyder – subZERO – Concerto for Bass Trombone
Semler-Collery – Barcarolle et Chanson Bachique
Siekmann – Concerto
Spillman – Concerto
-Two Songs
Strauss – Horn Concerto #1 (trans. for Tuba)
Sulek – Sonata (Tenor Solo…works well for Bass)
Telemann – 12 Fantasies
Tomasi – Etre Ou Ne Pas Etre (w/Trbn. Trio)
Vaughn-Williams – Tuba Concerto
White – Tetra Ergon
Wilder – Sonata
Williams, J. – Concerto for Tuba
Woud - Serenade (w/trbn. quartet)
Zwillich – Concerto
Chamber Music
Albam – Escapade (w/WW 5-tet)
Dedrick – Inspiration (w/trpts, hns, cl, and cello)
Ellington (arr. Abene) – Come Sunday (w/violin & piano)
Everett – Duos (w/clarinet)
Glass – Diversions (w/ 2 flutes)
Hartley – Sonata da camera (w/ oboe, 2 cls, & bsn)
Hibbard – Bass Trombone, Bass Clarinet, Harp
Liebman – Remembrance (w/WW 4-tet)
Liptak – Chamber Concerto #2 (w/fl, vln, cello, vibes, & piano)
Lund – Plane Dancing (w/fl, trpt, bass cl, & perc)
McCarty – Sonata (w/ String 4-tet)
Poulenc – Sonata (w/trpt & horn)
Premru – Concertino (w/ WW 4-tet)
Rzewski – Moonrise with Memories (w/ 6 soprano range instruments)
Schmidt – Concertino (w/ WW 5-tet)
Stravinsky – Concertino
-In Memorium Dylan Thomas (Tenor, String 4-tet, Trbn. 4-tet)
-Octet for Winds
-L’histoire du Soldat
Szollosy – 100 bars for Tom Everett (w/ Bongos)
Tucker – Four Cantigas (w/ Fl/piccolo & 2 Percussionists)
Villa-Lobos – Choros #4 (w/ 3 horns)
Wourinen – Archangel (w/ String 4-tet)
Archaeopteryx (w/ chamber orchestra)
Trio for Bass Instruments (w/ Tuba & String Bass)

This is a list of important works for my bass trombone students to have studied, or at least be familiar with.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Upcoming recital and Masterclass

On March 20, I will be going to the University of Michigan to give a recital. Kathryn Goodson, piano and Jenny Walvoord, violin will be performing with me. Many of you might know Kathryn from the fantastic album that she did with Randy Hawes. If you don't have it...shame on you. Here it is:

Back to the recital. We will be playing pieces by Jan Koetsier, Georg Philipp Telemann, Charles Ives, Duke Ellington, and Daniel Schnyder. I will get more into depth about each of these works right here on my blog, as we get closer to the show.

After the recital, I will be giving a masterclass on the various aspects of being a freelance musician. Things will start up at 4:40pm in the Cady Room of the Stearns Building. If you want to find out more about Kathryn Goodson...

Monday, February 27, 2006

This week, I will be busy with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Welcome to my blog everyone! As you can see, it's pretty bare bones right now. I will be expanding it very soon. I hope to use this as an educational resource for my students, as well for my colleagues. For right now, I would like to plug the website of my good friend Mike Becker. He started up a trombone "boot camp" in Tucson last summer. Mike asked me to come down and help out with things and we had a blast. So, it looks like it's going to be a continuuing thing every year. Check it out!

Please feel free to contact myself or Mike with any questions. I will be back with more updates in the next few days.

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