LSU Trumpet Festival
In March 2017, Louisiana State University (LSU) hosted its first trumpet festival.
The festival was hosted by Brian Shaw, Matthew Vangjel, the LSU Trumpet Guild, the LSU Trumpet Club, and the LSU School of Music. The festival began on March 24th with an opening recital by Brian Shaw (Associate Professor of Trumpet and Jazz Studies), Matthew Vangjel (Assistant Professor of Trumpet), and the LSU Trumpet Ensemble. The program included recent works by Jim Stephenson, Brian Balmages, John Williams as well as standards by Tomaso
Albinoni, Benjamin Britten, and Alexander Arutunian. The concert was brought to a blazing finish with Donald Hunsberger’s Carmen Fantasia for two trumpets.
Despite heavy rains and moderately flooded roads, the festival continued the next morning with a master class by Gabriele Cassone, international soloist and professor at the Conservatory of Novara in Italy. Students from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, McNeese State University, and LSU were given the opportunity to perform sections from Kennan’s Sonata, Tartini’s Concerto, and Berio’s Sequenza X. Cassone addressed a wide variety of topics including breathing, relaxation and awareness in the body, and ways to develop articulation and extended techniques.
Following Cassone’s class was the solo competition, where Cassone and James Thompson served as adjudicators. The competition finalists were from Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and New York. The winner of the high school division was Hannah Weber, who performed the first movement of Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s Concerto. Imani Duhe, a freshman at the Manhattan School of Music, won the university division with a beautiful performance of the first movement of Oskar Böhme’s Concerto.
From left to right: Terri Smith (UNC-Pembroke), Imani Duhe (Manhattan School of Music), Bradlee Brown (Austin Peay State University), Gabriele Cassone, James Thompson, Spencer Adams (League City, TX), Hannah Weber (Pflugerville, TX), and Matthew Vangjel.
The next maste rclass of the day belonged to jazz and trumpet legend, Bobby Shew. He focused the pedagogical portion of his class on his routine and walked the participants through his warm up and approach to fundamentals. His ideas of air direction, jaw movement, and compression in breathing were particularly interesting for the participants.
The Louisiana Youth Trumpet Ensemble had its inaugural performance at the afternoon recital that featured James Thompson and Gabriele Cassone. This group of high schools students performed Ewazen’s Prelude and Fugue and were led and coached by LSU alum, Phil Shapiro. James Thompson performed Bozza’s Rustiques, Eric Ewazen’s Sonata, and Böhme’s Sextet, op. 30, accompanied by the LSU Faculty Brass Quintet. Gabriele Cassone offered a performance of Verdi’s Adagio on keyed trumpet, the Concerto in F by Almicare Ponchielli, and the much anticipated Sequenza X by Luciano Berio. The final master class of the day was with James Thompson, professor at the Eastman School of Music and former principal trumpet of the Atlanta and Montreal Symphony Orchestras. The LSU Trumpet Guild Ensemble opened Thompson’s masterclass with Charlie Decker’s Fractured Fanfare. Students from Southern University, Southeastern Louisiana University, McNeese State University, and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette performed for Mr. Thompson. His insightful comments addressed centering in order to find the best sound, negotiating the breaks on different trumpets, buzzing the mouthpiece, and the importance of keeping our focus in present time.
Bobby Shew and Brian Shaw perform with the LSU Jazz Ensemble.
The closing concert featured Bobby Shew with the LSU Jazz Ensemble and jazz faculty. The LSU Jazz
Ensemble opened the concert with standards by Sammy Nestico and Duke Ellington and a student composition
before Shew took the stage with Willis Delony (piano) and Bill Grimes (bass).
The second half once again featured Bobby Shew, this time with the LSU Jazz Ensemble, and seemed to illustrate every strength that Bobby has as a musician, entertainer, and storyteller. Their set
included Don Menza’s arrangement of “Red Snapper,” “Magic Box” by Bert Joris, and Piazzolla’s “Oblivion,” to name a few.
This event was also made possible in part by a grant from the International Trumpet Guild and the Yamaha Corporation of America.
Members of the LSU Jazz Ensemble trumpet section, Brian Shaw, and Matt Vangjel with guests Bobby Shew, James Thompson, and Gabriele Cassone.
(Source: Matthew Vangjel, Assistant Professor of Trumpet, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA)