Saturday, December 06, 2008

YouTube Symphony Orchestra

YouTube has finally crossed over from the realm of fringe "home-made" videos and clips of eighties tv shows into a legitimate artistic endeavor.  They have partnered with composer Tan Dun, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and Carnegie Hall to create a wonderful opportunity for aspiring young musicians. 

You have until January 29, 2009 to submit your video performance.  For all of you college students working on your auditions for Tanglewood, NRO, etc., here is other great audition opportunity.  If you are chosen, you will get the chance to perform at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas in April 2009.  

To audition, it appears that you must submit two videos.  The first video is of you performing a piece written by Tan Dun.  The second video is of you performing one or two pieces from the standard orchestral reportoire.  They have a list of recommended pieces for each instrument.  For more complete information, please visit YouTube Symphony Orchestra.  

I have looked over the pdf files of the trombone, bass trombone and tuba parts to Tan Dun's Internet Symphony No. 1 "Eroica".  They appear to not be overly challenging, with the exception of the last few measures.  All three trombones have glissandos starting on a high b natural.  The bass trombone is required to gliss from a high b to a low b in the staff.  Not impossible, but a bit awkward to have to perform a two-octave glissando.  YouTube provides videos of Tan Dun conducting to assist you. 

Video With Sound

Video Without Sound

Finally, here is a video of Tan Dun conducting the London Symphony Orchestra during the recording session of Internet Symphony No. 1 "Eroica".  Good Luck!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Video Games Live Returns to Chicago

Tomorrow night I will be performing the Video Games Live concert at the Chicago Theatre.  Here is a trailer video from their website.

Also, I just saw The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters a few days ago. I highly recommend this wonderful and funny documentary film!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Mr. B Natural

Or rather, "Miss" B Natural, as performed by Betty Luster...I can't even begin to tell you how long I have been looking for this.  Mystery Science Theater 3000 makes fun of the this 1957 promotional film done for C. G. Conn, LTD.


Part 1

Part 2

Monday, October 27, 2008

Every Classical Musician Should Read This Book!

Jason Heath has written an excellent and very candid account of the life of a free-lance musician. Jason is a highly respected bassist in the Chicago area and a colleague of mine. This book should be on the recommendation list of any private instructor who has students interested in pursuing performance degrees in college. Road Warrior Without an Expense Account is not just an account of the difficulties of making a living as a professional musician. It is a treatise on ways to reform the current system of music schools in the United States. In my title to this blog entry, I used the term classical musician. Although many of the topics covered can apply to other types of professional musicians.

Buy It Here

Or From Amazon

Jason also has a very informative blog and podcast series.

Just today, I ran across a great article entitled Top 7 Considerations for Music School Applicants. Check it out!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

David Taylor on YouTube

This was posted on the ITA website as having been recently premiered. I got all excited about a new concerto by Daniel Schyder. It turns out this is a performance of Absolute Zero, the original concerto for bass trombone written by Mr. Schnyder. Either way, it is pretty awesome to have a high-quality video and audio version of David Taylor performing this very important work on YouTube.

Movement One

Movement Two

Movement Three

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Just in Time for Your Christmas Shopping List!

Along with many other of Chicago's finest musicians, I am on Mannheim Steamroller's latest release. This just came out today and you can order it from Amazon below, or at many other major retailers.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

ESO Low Brass with Leonard Nimoy

The above photo is from the ESO's opening gala concert this season. We performed Gustav Holst's The Planets with narration by Leonard Nimoy and NASA visuals projected over the stage. The gentlemen pictured are, from left to right, Adam Moen, Reed Capshaw, Michael Becker, Leonard Nimoy, Mark Fry and Sean Whitaker.

Friday, September 26, 2008

ESO on WFMT Tonight

The Elgin Symphony Orchestra will be on WFMT tonight - Friday, September 26 - at 8:00pm. The program will be a rebroadcast of last season's Classic 8 program:
Mozart Serenade No. 6 ("Notturna")
Mahler Symphony No. 5
Enjoy the performance!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Program Info for Tomorrow Night

Holly Mulcahy, Violin
Mark Fry, Bass Trombone
Maureen Zoltek, Piano

March 25th, 2008 at 7:30pm
Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church
600 W. Fullerton Parkway
Chicago, IL 60614


W. A. Mozart (1756-1791) Concerto in D Major

1. Allegro

Duke Ellington (1899-1974) Come Sunday

(arr. Abene)

Karl Pilss (1902-1979) Concerto for Bass Trombone

1. Allegro Moderato

2. Andante Moderato

3. Allegro Vigoroso

Charles Ives (1874-1954) Three Songs

1. The Housatonic at Stockbridge

2. The Circus Band

3. Remembrance (My Father’s Song)

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) Concerto #2 in g minor

1. Allegro Moderato

Irving Berlin (1888-1989) Anything You Can Do

(from Annie Get Your Gun)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Holly Mulcahy, Violin


Mark Fry, Bass Trombone

in recital

March 25th, 2008 at 7:30pm

Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church
600 W. Fullerton Parkway
Chicago, IL 60614


Maureen Zoltek, Piano

featuring works by

Mozart, Ives, Ellington, Prokofiev and Pilss

Admission is free

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pro Pono at Augustana

The Pro Bono Low Brass Quartet will be performing at Augustana College this Wednesday night, March 19th. We will be doing a masterclass at 4pm and a recital at 8pm. This is the same program that was originally scheduled on February 6th, but was canceled due to a snow storm!

Also, I will be performing a recital with violinist Holly Mulcahy next Tuesday, March 25th here in Chicago. I will have more info on that later.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Millar Brass Ensemble

Sonic Spectacular VIII

Friday, February 8th, 8pm
U of C Rockefeller Chapel

5850 S. Woodlawn, Chicago Il

Stephen Squires, Conductor
Thomas Weisflog, Organ

Program to include:

Brevard Fanfare - Tull
Early Music Suite
Jupiter, from “The Planets” - Holst/Kreines
Dukes of Marlborough Fanfare - Grainger
Symphony for Brass - Ewazen
Pines of the Appian Way, from “The Pines of Rome” - Respighi/Kreines

Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 773.702.7059

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Due to yet another massive snow storm here in the Midwest, we have had to postpone our ProBono recital for tonight. I'll make an announcement when we have a new date.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

ProBono Recital

Tomorrow night, I will be performing with the low brass quartet, ProBono, at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. We will be doing a masterclass at 4pm, followed by the recital at 8:00pm.

Here is the program...

ProBono in Recital

8PM, Wednesday February 6th, 2008

Wallenberg Hall

Thomas Stark and Jemmie Robertson, Tenor and Alto Trombones

Mark Fry, Bass Trombone

Sean Whitaker, Tuba

Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654) Canzon

Transcribed by Lee Hipp

Three Reformation Chorales

Martin Luther (1534) Von Himmel hoch da komm’ich her

Anonymous (1679) Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen

Martin Luther (1529) Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott

J.S. Bach (1685-1750) Toccata and Fugue in d minor

Arr. Pierre Beaudry

F. J. Haydn (1732-1809) Achieved is the Glorious Work from “The Creation”

Arr. Les Shaw

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) Pilgrim’s Chorus from “Tannhäuser”

Arr. Mark McDunn and Clifford Barnes


Paul Dukas (1865-1935) Fanfare from “La Peri”

Arr. Thomas Stark

Henri Tomasi (1901-1971) “ÊTRE OU NE PAS ÊTRE” Monologue d’ Hamlet

Ralph Vaughan-Williams (1872-1958) Folk Song Suite

Transcribed by Lloyd Raby

1. March- “Seventeen Come Sunday”

2. Intermezzo- “My Bonny Boy”

3. March- “Folk Songs from Somerset

Scott Joplin (1867-1917) Three Rags

Trans. By Ralph Sauer 1. The Entertainer (A Rag Time Two Step)

2. Pleasant Moments (Ragtime Waltz)

3. The Cascades (A Rag)

Meredith Willson (1902-1984) 76 Trombones

Arr. Vinicio Meza

Friday, January 25, 2008

ESO on WFMT Tonight

If you happen to be in front of a radio this evening, please check out the Elgin Symphony Orchestra on 98.7 here in Chicago at 9pm Central Time. You can also listen to a live stream, courtesy of WFMT's website.


Tonight will be a broadcast of this season's performance of Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with pianist, Alexander Korsatia.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008


The Houston Symphony Orchestra recently premiered Cindy McTee's Solstice for solo trombone and orchestra this January. The orchestra commissioned the work for their principal trombonist, Allen Barnhill. The reviews were outstanding for both Allen Barnhill's performance and the work itself. Here is an excerpt from the Houston Chronicle's Charles Ward.

Solstice is the latest piece commissioned by the Houston Symphony for its principal players. Barnhill and the artistic staff chose McTee, a professor at the University of North Texas. She produced a three-movement piece teeming with a musical language that is distinctly and refreshingly American.

One principal McTee used in the work was the notion of stasis, a term from the sciences that, among other things, can describe a state where things are static or motionless, even if there seems to be a frenzy of activity on the surface. McTee used the idea in all three movements but many times, especially in the first, the result was distinctly similar to the vamping an accompanying ensemble uses for a soloist in popular music and jazz.

Many allusions to jazz dotted the work, products of a musical mind that has absorbed defining styles of American music and turned elements into its own, distinctive voice. Many times Barnhill's solo could be heard as the output of a master wailing away in free jazz. Lots of the chords in the middle movement were straight from the world of jazz ballads (though, again, McTee was exploring other technical elements of style).

Solstice was vibrant and high-charged in the outer movements (notwithstanding the stasis) and evocatively sober in the elegiac middle movement. The only thing I would have liked was an additional segment of music in the first movement to ratchet the tension and energy up even further before going, without pause, into the middle movement.

Barnhill played with masterful control. His tone was burnished, his legato a pleasure for its seamlessness, and the power and agility impressive.

Here is a link to the entire review.

Thanks to Houston Symphony Associate Principal Trombonist, Brad White for sending this to me!

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