Monday, December 21, 2009

Carol of Lights - Texas Tech Trombone Style

Special CD Available of the Spectacular Seasonal Music associated with the
Carol of Lights!

The Texas Tech Trombone Choir, under the direction of James T Decker, has created a recording of holiday favorites often heard at the annual Carol of Lights Celebration as well as other popular seasonal music for trombone choir. These rich, sonorous trombone sounds are soothing to the ear!

The CD makes a great stocking stuffer! We can offer this recording for the special price of $15.00, which includes shipping

To purchase a CD, please mail a check for $15.00 (payable to Iota Tau Alpha) to:

James T. Decker, Assistant Professor of Trombone
Texas Tech University School of Music
Box 42033
Lubbock, TX 79409-2033

Phone: 806-742-2270x247

The CD is also available online at

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Larry Zalkind
New Sousa Band
perform at Midwest Clinic

I strongly encourage everyone here in the Chicago area this week to go hear Larry Zalkind play with the New Sousa Band. He will be performing Arthur Pryor's Annie Laurie, as well as a special encore. The New Sousa Band is lead by Keith Brion.

There are two performances this week.

Wednesday, Dec. 16th, 2009 at 7:30pm
York High School Auditorium
355 W. St Charles Road
Elmhurst, IL
Tickets at the door, $10 for adults, or phone (630) 617-2462

Thursday, Dec. 17th, 2009 at 7:00pm
McCormick Place West Convention Center
Skyline Ballroom W375 DE

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Elgin Symphony Orchestra

Home for the Holidays

I am very happy that we are back at Hemmons Auditorium for our Holiday concerts this year. Nothing against the Sears Center, but orchestra concerts don't really have a place in stadium evironments.

The ESO is Home for the Holidays! By popular demand, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra returns to the Hemmens Theatre to fill your Holiday season with timeless music and festivities for all of your family and friends to enjoy!


Fun Trombone Video of the Week

I love this performance! First of all, La Forza del Destino by Giuseppe Verdi is one of my favorite overtures. Secondly, this arrangement for trumpet, trombone and piano works so well and is very exciting. It helps that it is performed by Christian Lindberg and Haken Hardenberger.

This video is originally from A Night at the Opera. I believe that the video is out of print, but you can still find it on Amazon. And yes, it is also the name a very famous Marx Brother film...

My posts during the month of December will be somewhat sporadic. This is always a very busy month for most freelance musicians.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fun Trombone Video of the Week

Watch a beautiful performance of David Maslanka's brilliant and moving Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble featuring Bienen School of Music faculty member and Chicago Symphony Orchestra trombonist Michael Mulcahy. Deanna Talens is the cello soloist. Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Mallory Thompson, conductor.

You will have to click on the link below to view the video.

Friday, November 27, 2009

ESO on WFMT Tonight at 8pm

This a broadcast of our opening concerts this season conducted by Robert Hanson and featuring the Romeros.

Rossini William Tell: Overture

Rodrigo Concierto andaluz

Three Cornered Hat, Suite No. 2

Pines of Rome

The Elgin Symphony Orchestra's Classics Series concerts are broadcasted on 98.7FM WFMT the 4th Friday of each month as part of WFMT's Music in Chicago series.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Blast from the Past

I can't begin to tell you how much fun it was to work with Carl Topilow again for the first time in 15 years. He put together a fantastic show with the ESO this past week. After every show this weekend, several of our patrons thanked me and expressed what a great time they had. They especially loved the showmanship of Maestro Carl Topilow. Pictured above are NRO alumni who performed with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra this weekend. From left to right...Lisa Fako (violin), Carl Topilow, Benton Wedge (viola), Mark Fry (bass trombone) and Melissa Snoza (flute). Just for kicks, I am posting a picture of the NRO low brass section from the summer of 1994 below.

From left to right...Steven Vlad (trombone), Mark Fry (bass trombone), Jeff Tomberg (Tuba) and James Markey (trombone).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fun Trombone Video of the Week

Friday, November 20, 2009

Elgin Symphony Orchestra

to perform Benny Goodman

concerts this weekend


Celebrate the 100th Birthday of Chicago native Benny Goodman – the “King of Swing”, “Patriarch of the Clarinet”, “Professor”, and “Swing’s Senior Statesman”. Carl Topilow, clarinet virtuoso and one of today’s foremost pops conductors, brings the music of Benny Goodman and the swing era to life with his brightly colored clarinet and witty showmanship

For information and tickets.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Recommended Recording of the Week

In preparation for the ESO's Benny Goodman concerts this weekend, I having been listening to a lot of music from the Swing Era. The Benny Goodman Orchestra performed one of the first jazz concerts in Carnegie Hall and the recording of that event was one of the first long playing records. In addition to the great Benny Goodman Orchestra, this concert also features other jazz legends such as Count Basie, Lester Young and Johnny Hodges. While the clarinet solos by band leader Benny Goodman are outstanding, you also get to hear some great playing by trumpeter Harry James and vibraphone player Lionel Hampton! On top of all that, you are never going to hear a better performance of the Goodman staple Sing, Sing, Sing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fun Trombone Video of the Week

The great Frank Rosolino sings and plays Please Don't Bug Me. This video is from the 1962 television series, Jazz Scene USA. The dvd release of this episode featuring the Frank Rosolino Quartet is paired with an episode featuring Stan Kenton and His Orchestra. It's a favorite dvd in my collection. In one of the more interesting moments during the program, Oscar Brown, Jr. asks Mr. Rosolino about his golf game. "It was a gas...straight ahead, baby!" Although out of print, it can be found online easily.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jay Friedman
Chris Martin
Casterede's Concertino
Monday and Wednesday

Jay Friedman will appear as soloist along with CSO principal trumpet Chris Martin in Casterede's Concertino for Trumpet, Trombone and Orchestra. The concerts will take place on November 16th, 7:30PM at Governors State University, Monee, Illinois, and on November 18, 7:30PM at the Harris Theatre, Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois. The concert will feature the Chicago College of Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Steven Squires. Chris Martin will also perform the Enesco Legend, in a new orchestration by Joseph Kreines, and the Jolivet Concertino for Trumpet and Orchestra. Admission is free.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra Performs All Brahms Program Tomorrow

  Violinist Ilya Kaler

Violinist Ilya Kaler

Ilya Kaler plays Brahms

Hear the incomparable Brahms Violin Concerto featuring the extraordinary artistry of Ilya Kaler, the brilliantly conceived Haydn Variations and the exquisit pastoral beauty of the Third Symphony, a program that displays the Ars Viva musicians at their best.

ALL-BRAHMS program
• Violin Concerto in D
• Variations on a Theme by Haydn
• Symphony No. 3 in F

Ilya Kaler is the only violinist ever to win gold medals at all three of the world's most prestigious competitions: the Tchaikovsky, the Sibelius and the Paganini.

Read this concert's program notes and Mr. Kaler's bio on our web site: CLICK HERE

NOVEMBER 15th 4:30 p.m.
North Shore Center for the
Performing Arts in Skokie
9501 Skokie Blvd. 60077

Order online:
CLICK HERE or call the box office: 847 673-6300

Thursday, November 12, 2009





Monday November 16, 2009


Northwestern University
Lutkin Hall


Olaf Ott

Jesper Busk Sørensen

Stefan Schulz


This is not to be missed!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Recommended Recording of the Week

It has been far too long since I had last listened to this disc. What a pleasure it was to hear again! There are so many fine renditions of Brahms' Symphonies that it is almost impossible to pick a few favorites. However, this would have to be at the top of my list. At the time of this recording, the Houston Symphony Orchestra trombone section was Allen Barnhill (principal), John McCroskey (co-principal) and David Waters (bass). I was still in school and can remember vividly the HSO's live performances of Brahms' Third Symphony around the time of the recording sessions. Christoph Eschenbach's interpretation is fresh and exciting. The HSO trombone section is one of my favorites to listen to when it comes to Brahms.

Unfortunately, this recording seems to be out of print. But it is not too difficult to find in the Amazon Marketplace. As a matter of fact, it looks like you could currently pick up the whole set of Eschenbach/HSO Brahms' Symphonies for about $6 - $10. That's quite a deal!

A few other Brahms Symphony No. 3 favorite recordings...

I still have the Klemperer/Philharmonia Orchestra recording of Brahm's Third Symphony on vinyl! Like I said earlier, there are far too many fine recordings of the Brahms Symphonies to list. These are just a few that I return to often.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Fun Trombone Video of the Week

Dutch bass trombonist, Jos Jansen performs Fiat 500
with all of it's accoutrements! This work was written
for Mr. Jansen by Evert Josemanders. Thanks to
Eliezer Aharoni for passing this along!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

ESO performs new work
by Michael Daugherty this weekend

Letters From Lincoln was co-commissioned by the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and the Spokane Symphony in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. This work will feature baritone, Robert Orth singing the words of Abraham Lincoln. The ESO has performed other works by Michael Daugherty in the recent past, including Flamingo and Metropolis Symphony.

The rest of the program will be filled out by the works of Franz Liszt (Les Preludes & Hungarian March) and Franz Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. Robert Orth will also perform Schubert's Erlkonig (orchestrated by Liszt) and Der Neugierige, from Die schone Mullerin (orchestrated by ESO music director Robert Hanson).

Saturday, November 7 - 8:00pm

Sunday, November 8 - 3:30pm


Les Preludes

Letters from Lincoln

Schubert Symphony in B minor,

Schubert/Liszt Lieder

Liszt Hungarian March

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Recommended Recording of the Week

Bobby Knight's Great American
Trombone Co. -

Cream of the Crop

I have decided to remain on the West Coast for this week's disc. Trombonist and arranger, Bobby Knight put this group together back in the late 1970s. Cream of the Crop is from live recordings made at Donte's jazz club in North Hollywood in the summer of 1978. The group features jazz and studio trombonists Bobby Knight, Charlie Loper, Lew McCreary and Phil Teele (bass trombone). However, the big standouts on the record are Carl Fontana and Frank they would stand out on any recording! On a slightly sad note, this was the final album that Frank Rosolino appeared on. I love this disc and revisit it often.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Audition Workshop and Recital This Thursday with BSO Tubist, Mike Roylance

Thursday, November 5, 2009
8:00pm, DePaul Concert Hall

Boston Symphony Orchestra tubist and DePaul School of Music Alumnus, Mike W. Roylance will give an audition preparation workshop; free and open to any and all students interested in learning more about how to prepare and how to win an audition. He will also give a brief recital, in addition to the workshop. Mr. Roylance is a 2003 graduate of DePaul, where he studied with Floyd Cooley. He has recently been asked to write a book on auditioning.

For More Information

Fun Trombone Video of the Week

I know that Halloween is officially over, but I can't
think of too many things that are more frightening
than a "flamethrower trombone." Seriously, don't
try this at home kids! Thanks to Larry Zalkind
for passing this along.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sunday, November 1st, 2009 at 3:30p.m.

Performance is held in the Elgin Community College Visual and Performing Arts Center, Blizzard Theatre

The Elgin Symphony Orchestra continues our collaboration with the Elgin Choral Union with this fun concert today. As a special bonus for the low brass section, we will be performing Wagner's Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin and Mozart's Overture to the Magic Flute!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Grand Rapids Symphony to Premier Triple Concerto for Brass This Evening!

La Grande Vitesse was written by composer and trumpeter, James Stephenson. The soloists will be the three associate principal players from the Grand Rapids Symphony brass section: Charley Lea - Trumpet, Erich Peterson - Horn and Dan Mattson - Trombone. (pictured above)

This is sure to be a great concert. I am truly disappointed that I won't be able to hike up to Grand Rapids to hear it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Recommended Recording of the Week

This week's recording ties in with last week in that it is also by a film composer and has bass trombonist, Scott Thornton performing. Marco Beltrami is one the more interesting Hollywood composers for me. His scores are always fun to listen to, yet he is very imaginative in his use of colors.

The number one reason that I usually recommend this to my bass trombone students is Scott Thornton. Scott and I went to school together and he had a profound effect on the development my sound concept. I will get into more detail about this in a future post. Suffice to say, Scott Thornton has one of the most beautiful bass trombone sounds out there. This is should be in every bass trombone student's collection. Just listen to about halfway into the Main Title and you will hear what I mean!

Other Recommended Marco Beltrami Scores

Recommended Recordings Featuring Scott Thornton

Please check back next Wednesday for another recommended recording!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fun Trombone Video of the Week!

This video features Gunhild Carling
performing on way more than just the
trombone. But the trombone was her first
instrument. This is one talented lady!

Thanks to my good friend and trumpet player
extraordinaire, Amy McCabe for originally posting
this on Facebook.

I am planning on this being a regular post every
Monday. Please check back next week
for another Fun Trombone Video!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra Performs all Mendelssohn Concert Today

Unfortunately, my duties with Joffrey Ballet Chicago prevent me from performing this wonderful concert. The always incredible Chris Davis will be acting as Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra Bass Trombonist for me. I wish I could be there! We have one last performance of Othello with Joffrey this afternoon.

Elizabeth Joy Roe
Elizabeth Joy Roe


Piano Concerto No. 1 in g minor
- Elizabeth Joy Roe, piano
Symphony No. 2 in B-flat
St. Paul
Symphony No. 5 in d minor ("Reformation")

Bask in great masterworks of Mendelssohn as we join in observing the bicentennial of his birth.

READ the full biograply of Elizabeth Joy Roe, who is appearing on the ten year anniversary of her first performance with Ars Viva as the student winner of the Steinway Concerto Competition.

OCTOBER 25th 4:30 p.m.
North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie
9501 Skokie Blvd. 60077

Order online: CLICK HERE or call the box office: 847 673-6300

This concert is supported in part by a grant from the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

A personal interview with soloist Elizabeth Joy Roe

Elizabeth Joy Roe, pianist
Elizabeth Joy Roe, pianist

Elizabeth, when did you start piano lessons and when did you realize that music would be your career? I started lessons when I was six years old, and I fell in love with the piano immediately. I knew by age ten that I wanted to pursue a life in music.

What do you remember most about performing with Ars Viva 10 years ago? Performing with Ars Viva was a definitive experience in my career because it potently contributed to my passion for concerto playing. Plus, the concert took place at a pivotal juncture in my life: right before my high school graduation (in fact, I think it was prom weekend!) and just a few months before I left Chicago to start college at The Juilliard School. It was a beautiful spring evening, and I remember feeling truly inspired and exhilarated onstage, thanks to the orchestra's spectacular musicianship, Maestro Heatherington's marvelous direction at the podium, and Chopin's exquisite music (the Concerto in F minor). I was also very happy to be performing for the hometown crowd! Looking back, this concert was the perfect capstone of my high school years as well as a promising harbinger of things to come.

What is it about the Mendelssohn Concerto that you particularly like? I love the immediacy and variety of moods in this piece. Within only 20 minutes, the music covers a vast territory of emotional states: it alternates between the impetuous and passionate, the poetic and intimate, the playful and joyous. I think these shifts are emblematic of human nature in all its inconstancy! Plus, Mendelssohn possessed such a natural, effortless gift for music, and the concerto's virtuosic piano writing and brilliant interplay between piano and orchestra attest to his compositional verve.

Who is your favorite concert artist? What a difficult question! So many artists from the past and present have influenced me. If I had to choose the performers of today whom I find particularly inspirational, I would say Martha Argerich, Renee Fleming, Valery Gergiev, Gustavo Dudamel, and Yo-Yo Ma. But again, I am merely scraping the surface!

What music do you like to listen to? Classical, of course, but I like to listen to all sorts of music. I am a lifelong fan of The Beatles, and I have an affinity for British bands and artists in general (like Radiohead and Coldplay). In terms of genres, I lean mostly toward alternative/indie rock, but I also listen to pop, jazz, folk, soundtracks, etc. Basically, I love to explore music in all its diversity -- I believe that good music transcends labels!

What do you like to do in your spare time? One of my favorite things to do is to sit in a cafe with a pot of tea and a really good book! In addition to reading, I enjoy traveling, watching movies, exploring museums, savoring nature, writing, drawing, learning languages, going on the occasional karaoke outing, and spending quality time with family and friends. I wish there were more time in the day to pursue all my interests, but to be truthful, eating well and catching up on sleep are the most essential activities!

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