Australasian Trumpet Academy
Each October, in the heart of the rainforest in Queensland, Australia, a truly unique musical experience takes place. This past October 3–8, 2017, trumpet players from Australasia and the United States gathered together for the third annual Australasian Trumpet Academy, directed by Australian trumpeter, John Foster.
The academy featured private lessons, group warm-ups, trumpet ensemble rehearsals, and master classes in solo literature, orchestral repertoire, historical instruments, and jazz improvisation. These intensive sessions were led by internationally recognized faculty, including Paul Beniston, principal trumpet of the London Philharmonic, Gabriel DiMartino of Eastern Carolina University, Jason Dovel of the University of Kentucky, and John Foster, international soloist and director of the Australian Baroque Brass.
2017 ATA Faculty: Beniston, DiMartino, Dovel, and Foster
Each morning of the academy began with a group warm-up session led by faculty members, which gave insight into the detailed daily routines of professionals with diverse playing careers. Warm-ups were followed by solo master classes, in which each student was given ample time to perform throughout the week, with thorough feedback from each faculty member. Participants were also exposed to various historical instruments during the academy, including natural trumpet, keyed trumpet, and cornetto, among others. In addition, students took part in orchestral excerpt master classes, with particularly insightful comments from Paul Beniston and the other faculty regarding various interpretations of a number of excerpts. At the end of the week, the orchestral classes culminated in the Mock Orchestral Excerpt Competition adjudicated by the faculty. First Prize went to Orson Paine of UTAS Conservatorium of Music (Tasmania), Second Prize to Darcy O’Malley, also of UTAS Conservatorium, and Third Prize to Marisa Youngs of the University of Kentucky (USA).
ATA Baroque Trumpet Ensemble
A large portion of the academy was dedicated to trumpet ensemble rehearsals, in which each of the faculty conducted pieces to be performed on the final concert, held in downtown Brisbane at the Queensland Conservatorium. The faculty were featured on the concert, first performing a trumpet quartet arrangement of Canzona Bergamasca by Samuel Scheidt, then performing individual solos. Paul Beniston performed Hummel’s Concerto in E-flat and Jason Dovel performed his own unique work, Multiphonics Etude, as well as Gabriel’s Oboe by Ennio Morricone.. Gabriel DiMartino performed a transcription of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor. The academy students were then joined by trumpet students from the Queensland Conservatorium and performed several trumpet ensemble pieces, including an arrangement of the famous aria Nessun Dorma, which featured the faculty as soloists. The participants also played advanced transcriptions of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and the “Chaconne” from J. S. Bach’s Partita No. 2, along with a work for natural trumpet ensemble and other compositions by Allen Vizzutti, Brendan Collins, and Kevin McKee.
ATA 2017 Participants
In addition to the hard work of rehearsing and performing, participants also took part in many other activities at the academy. One afternoon, students were treated to a display of Yamaha trumpets, provided by Yamaha Music Australia, giving the opportunity to try many different models of instruments. Each year, Yamaha has generously donated a brand new trumpet to the academy to be given as a top prize by the faculty to a participant that displays particular musicianship, enthusiasm, and/or professional potential. This year Yamaha donated a piccolo trumpet as the top prize, which was awarded at the final concert to Marisa Youngs of the University of Kentucky.
ATA Faculty with Marisa Youngs, winner of new piccolo trumpet donated by Yamaha
Other extracurricular activities at the academy included walks in the beautiful surrounding rainforest, a nighttime hike to the famous “glow worm cave” in Springbrook National Park, eventful volleyball tournaments, and entertaining game nights, including the annual “Trumpet Olympics” and “Trumpet Trivia.” The Australasian Trumpet Academy is a unique and highly valuable experience for trumpeters of all ages and abilities, instilling intense work ethic and individual musicianship in an environment focusing on camaraderie, teamwork, and an overall passion for music. For more information about the academy, visit www.austrumpetacademy.com.
Source: Marisa Youngs, teaching assistant, University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY)