Solo and Orchestral Trumpeter and Educator

Thoughts on music, trumpet playing, and education from Eric M. Berlin, Professor of Trumpet at the University of Massachusetts and Principal Trumpet of the Albany Symphony and Boston Philharmonic Orchestras.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Recital Tour of New England and Texas with Greg and Ludmila!

Our Recital in Bezanson Recital Hall at UMass

Last December as Greg Spiridopoulos and I premiered Continuum for Trumpet, Trombone and Wind Ensemble by our colleague Jeff Holmes, the wheels started spinning for more things to do together. By the time we performed the piece at the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Grand Rapids, MI (Thanks to Rich and Val Stoelzel for the invite) we knew we wanted to do more. So, we booked some recitals as a trio with our pianist colleague Ludmila Krasin. What a great time we had! 

After the initial recital in our home Bezanson Recital Hall at UMass, we took this program to Boston University and University of New Hampshire. Thanks to our hosts Terry Everson and Don Lucas at BU and Bob Steibler and Nick Orovich at UNH for inviting us to present this music to their students.

Then we headed south and west to Texas! 

Our journey started on Thursday October 10 when I picked up Greg at his house at 3:30 am to go to the airport. We flew into Newark and then Dallas. From Dallas, we rented a car and drove to Oklahoma City. 

Oklahoma City University - Bass School of Music 

The amazing Wanda Bass School of Music at OKCU

After 13 and 1/2 hours of travel, we arrived at OKCU's Bass School of Music welcomed by the smiling face of our host and great friend Michael Anderson. What amazing facilities! Greg, Ludmila and I spent a couple of hours with students in masterclasses, then quickly checked into our hotel to change before our evening recital. Propping our eyelids open, we enjoyed performing for a great audience and then were glad to grab a quick bite to eat before collapsing for the night. 

After a very sound night of sleep, Greg and I returned in the morning to coach brass quintets and I got to observe Michael Anderson's "Trumpet Tech Class" with his studio. What a great idea - a weekly class covering fundamentals together with a new key area each week. Great students and a truly outstanding facility. Thanks for having us!

Friday was just what the doctor ordered with a hang at Michael Anderson's place. A great meal on their deck with a fire and dogs helped us relax away the stress of the past two days of traveling. Thanks to Mike and JeannMarie for their hospitality!

The weekend was open so Greg grabbed another car and headed to Tulsa to see family while Ludmila and I hung out in OKC. I met with a student on Saturday morning and then picked up Ludmila to do some sightseeing. 

Cowboy Museum

Incredibly moving "End of the Trail"

Our first stop was the National Cowboy Museum. What a beautiful place! We began our tour of the place in a gallery of new art by Cowboy Artists of America. The first thing as we walked in was one of the most incredible pieces of leatherwork I had ever seen. This saddle was absolutely magnificent! Throughout the gallery there were examples of the finest saddles, chaps, horse bits, spurs etc and then there were the paintings. Oh my goodness! Some of the most incredibly vibrant portrayals of western life I had ever seen, and all by living artists! All of the works were to be sold that evening to benefit the museum. 

The rest of the museum was a wonderful display of the history of the west, cowboy life, western movies, rodeo etc. We especially enjoyed the gardens with large scale sculptures.

Banjo Museum

Who would have known Banjos were such amazing works of art?

Who would have thought of a Banjo Museum? I will admit to really enjoying the banjo, and this was a very quaint museum worth the trip. It traced the development of the banjo from roots to the present and had marvelous examples of some of the most ornate instruments I had ever seen. 

OKC National Memorial

Our memories of the Oklahoma City Bombing have begun to fade now over a decade later, but this museum and memorial help bring us right back to the moment in a very visceral way. Most memorable of the displays are the twisted and mangled truck axle and wheels from the the Ryder truck Timothy McVey used in the bombing and the room which has been preserved in its state of destruction from that day. The memorial itself is a beautiful tribute with the 168 empty chairs representing those who died. 

Traveling to Lubbock

On Sunday we reconnected with Greg and drove south and west across Oklahoma and into western Texas. As the day progressed, the weather got increasingly overcast until we found ourselves driving through torrential rains which the region sorely needed. I particularly enjoyed the red clay canyon lands we passed through. The landscape was just as I imagined and one could easily imagine John Wayne or the Lone Ranger and Tonto riding in the distance. The small towns and vast expanses of range land were great to experience as well. After about 6 hours of travel, we arrived in Lubbock to meet our host Andy Stetson and his lovely wife Becca at our hotel. We had a great steak dinner with them to celebrate Andy's new job before sacking out to prepare for a long day ahead. 

Texas Technical University

The newly minted Professor Herr Dr. Stetson welcomes us to his new job at TTU

Greg and spent time with students in lessons and masterclasses throughout the day on Monday. I learned some great new things from Will Streider and really enjoyed the students. We got to hang out with all of the brass faculty at lunch and were delighted to get to know these folks. 

The evening recital was live streamed on the web which was very cool and we got to hang with Andy and Becca as well as my Colorado friends Kimberly and DJ Sparr for a bit after the show. This was really a great visit! Wonderful to see Andy and Becca as they begin their new life together and to meet Will who I have heard so much about. 

Traveling back east

We left well before the sun rose on Tuesday to drive back east to Waco. The weather was even worse than Sunday with the roadways dangerously flooded at points. We enjoyed more really cool landscapes and small towns along the way as well as endless wind turbine farms. I love these things! 

Baylor University

Baylor's small recital hall with a Boesendorfer piano made Ludmila's tour!

We arrived in Waco greeted by Brent Philips and Mark Schubert at the Baylor School of Music. The facilities here were beautiful even in the "old" music building. The recital hall was lovely with a Boesendorfer piano which Ludmila relished playing! We had the best turn out for any of our recitals with a very full house. Thanks folks! Greg and I then split with off to work with students in masterclasses. The level of playing in Wiff Rudd's studio is absolutely top notch. 

Any trip to Texas seems to need a trip to a Rudy's. There is nothing better than good Texas BBQ and this is as good as I have ever had. The brisket was simply spectacular! It was a great hang with Wiff, Mark and Brent. Thanks for having us and for your hospitality!

We then headed to Fort Worth to prepare for a long day of work at UNT and TCU.

University of North Texas

It is always great to see Keith Johnson and John Holt. UNT boasts the second largest music program in the country with 1600 majors! The trumpet studio is often at around 100! We played a slightly shortened program at the studio hour and had some time to interact with the students a bit. Thanks to both John and Keith for having us!

Luckily we had time for a short nap before our final concert at TCU that night.

Texas Christian University

Our last performance was at TCU's Pepsico Recital Hall. Wonderful space!

The final stop on this whirlwind tour was Texas Christian University. This was my second visit TCU, the first being for the 2003 ITG Conference which was my first ever. Host Jon Burgess did a great job of putting together a great program for that. We met with our hosts Jon and Dave Begnoche for a nice meal before our recital. One of the best things about this trip was connecting with friends and sharing ideas about teaching and recruiting. Jon and Dave have really strong studios at TCU and the facilities are very nice. The recital hall is quite striking visually and was really nice to play in. Thanks for having us! 

To wrap up the tour, we grabbed a quick drink with Dave and a good friend from Tanglewood in 1999, Kelly Cornel who was kind enough to stop by for the recital. Kelly is enjoying her new position in the horn section of the Fort Worth Symphony and it was great to catch up!

As I write this, we are at 30,000 feet heading back east where Greg and I have double rehearsals in Albany for our weekend concerts and recording. It has been a great trip and certainly one we will remember fondly forever! Thanks to everyone who made this trip possible and was so hospitable!

Below are videos of a few of the pieces we performed which we captured at University of North Texas