Saturday, March 29, 2014

Italian Brass Week 2014: 30 June through 6 July

Think about attending this summer the 15th "Italian Brass Week." This international music festival is run by my new friend, Luca Benucci principal hornist of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the first music festival in Italy. If you want to mix brass playing with Italian food – and who doesn't? – this is the place to do it!

June 30 through July 6, 2014.

The Italian Brass Week is for trumpeters, hornists, trombonists, tubists, and percussionists. I haven't attended this festival, but I highly recommend that you visit their Website and check it out. Their Website looks lovely, but it is a little hard to manage. You will find in the upper left a link to toggle between English [ENG] and Italian [ITA] text, and many of the pages you'll want to read are only accessed from a small black pull-down menu that hides at the upper right of the site. The images of musical instruments in the horizontal green bar link to information about the teachers of those instruments.

A typical day at Italian Brass Week includes morning and afternoon private lessons and practice time, a collective master class on each instrument, brass ensemble rehearsals, and evening concerts. The faculty embrace jazz playing, in addition to classical playing, so late-night jam sessions after the evening concerts come together on their own. There are many other details, too, which I'll let you investigate on your own.

The faculty is numerous and drawn mostly from Europe, with the notable exceptions of festival President and horn instructor, Dale Clevenger (formerly of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), tuba instructor, Roger Bobo (formerly of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra), and percussion instructor, Paul Wertico (formerly of the Pat Metheny Group). There are multiple teachers on every instrument. I'd think anyone would learn a great deal at this festival, and have a really great time doing it, too.

The festival will be held in the famed region of Tuscany, with some events held in the renowned city of Florence and many other events held in the nearby smaller town of Vinci. You've heard of it. Leonardo da Vinci ("Leonard of Vinci") was born near the town. Either way, the locations will surely be a big part of the attraction to attend this festival.

And for the many of you who know I'm associated with another summer brass festival – the wonderful Humboldt State University Brass Chamber Music Workshop – don't worry! These festivals don't overlap. You can easily return from the Italian Brass Week with plenty of time to rest from the trip, do some laundry, repack, and travel to Arcata for the late July workshops there. 

The following links will not get you all the info you'll need from the IBW site, but they might be a useful place to start:

IBW Home page
About the IBW
Photos from previous years
Contact page

Be sure to tell 'em, "Dr. Ray sent me!" That way, Luca's sure to pick up the tab for dinner this summer when I meet him in Florence!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

"Five Sea Shanties" for Brass Quintet – Please Support My New Kickstarter Project

I've created a Kickstarter project to help launch my newest piece of music – "Five Sea Shanties" for brass quintet – into publication! If you're not familiar with Kickstarter, it's like having a PBS pledge drive. There are varying levels of support, and each successive level brings donors additional rewards. The deadline to reach my pledge goal is April 7, around 1pm Pacific time. To read about the music, find the rewards, see an introductory video by moi, and make a pledge, go here:
And please spread the word to your friends!

One of the rewards is a refrigerator magnet with the above design.
Other rewards include autographed copies of the music, a meeting with me,
the honor of commissioning the music, receiving the dedication, and more!

One of the project rewards was to commission the music. That reward has been claimed! I'm also seeking someone to receive the dedication. Yes, you can pledge to receive the right to designate to whom "Five Sea Shanties" is dedicated. The dedication appears next to the title of the music on both score and parts. It could read, "For Insert Your Name Here," or you could have it say, "Dedicated to the So-And-So Family," or you could nominate your parents, or kids, or a even a pet. I once dedicated a piece to a horse, so you would not be the first in that regard! You could even memorialize someone – "In memoriam Dearly Beloved." It's up to you. [Go to project]

There are several other rewards, too, including receiving an autographed copy of the sheet music and getting a private meeting with me. Most of the rewards include all the previous rewards in the ascending levels of pledging. Many donors will receive a handsome "Five Sea Shanties" refrigerator magnet and a personal thank-you note from me. All donors will be recognized in my blog.

Just a few more details here. The five sea shanties are "The Maid of Amsterdam," "Goodbye, My Love, Goodbye," "Clear the Track and Let the Bulgine Run," "Shenandoah," and "Blow the Man Down." I've included descriptions of the music (and sound clips) at the Kickstarter page. Go there to hear most of each movement and find out what the word "bulgine" means! [Go to project]

Lastly, please spread the word. Tell your friends, and ask them to tell their friends! There are lots of people who will love this project, want to support it, and who will enjoy the rewards. But, they have to learn of it first. Be the one to let them know, by social media, email, text, IM, blog, phone, fax, semaphore, smoke signals, or even in person – if anyone communicates that way anymore. It's all good. And remember, a great many arts donors are not musicians! So, be sure to share this with your musician friends and with committed concert-goers and arts patrons, as well.

Much appreciated,
Dr. Ray