Tag Archives: conductor

A New Chapter

The page has turned.

RBD and mda have both moved on from our untimely departure from our previous jobs (read our blog ‘Struggling Arts Hits Home’ directly after we lost our jobs). mda has found a great new home with the Percussive Arts Society or PAS, where he is now the Director of Marketing and Communications. Congrats to you mda!!

I, however, has gone a slightly different path. Instead of hitting the pavement and going out and looking for another job (hopefully within the arts industry), I decided that since I had enough gigs and money saved up to pay bills through the calendar year, I would invest my time into the bass trombone, tenor trombone, orchestral trombone and jazz trombone. My goal was (and still is) to become a solid player on both the bass trombone and tenor trombone in both the jazz and classical worlds. No small order to be sure.

I’ve always had one foot in the classical world and one foot in the jazz world. I work in both and have been successful in both. But I wanted to be the best all around player. I wanted to be able to go do a small group jazz gig on my tenor trombone, and turn around and win a bass trombone orchestral audition. Well, five months later, I’m getting closer and closer to my goal.

I recently won a position with the Sinfonia da Camera out of Urbana Illinois, conducted by Ian Hobson and I am also on contract with the Anderson Symphony Orchestra in Anderson Indiana conducted by Rick Sowers. These are two small orchestras with a grand total of 12 concerts I’ll play, but its a start and I’ll be blogging about each orchestra as the season unfurls. Each orchestra has a good brass section, clear and easy going conductors and are playing good repertoire so it should be a fun season of playing!

Later this week, I’ll be blogging about working within the Jazz and Classical world and expanding on how I am practicing for each genre!


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Filed under Music Education, Performances, World Information

Mid-Western Sensibility Holding Us Back?






I have grown up a Mid-Westerner. Born and raised in Southern Illinois, a few miles from St. Louis Missouri where I would routinely attend St. Louis Symphony Orchestra concerts with my mother and father. In later years, I would perform with the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra in the same hall and even get to perform ‘side-by-side’ with the SLSO musicians. After attending Indiana University, I put down some roots in Indianapolis, IN.


I have learned since moving here that the Mid-West has an incredible amount of Artist Talent to offer the country and the world as a whole. I have also learned that most people don’t look locally for the Artistic Talent and usually have a mantra to the effect of: “There’s nothing going on around here.”

This has been bothering me for some time and I’m not sure how to deal with it.


Downtown Indy

Indianapolis Skyline

When I first moved to Indianapolis, I was amazed to see all the wonderful musical talent that was around. Then I read an Editor’s Note in the INDIANAPOLIS MONTHLY MAGAZINE. The Editor has a ‘Wish List’ for Indianapolis (this was back in 2002/2003). One item on this ‘Wish List’ was: “I wish a big time successful artist that has roots in Indianapolis would move back here and make Indy his/her home so that we can have a major artist living here to draw attention to our arts scene.” (or something real close to that. The Editor cited ‘John Melloncamp’ as an example.)


My first thought was…WHAT? We HAVE a great arts scene here, WHY do we need OUTSIDE VALIDATION? WHY don’t we believe in ourselves?


David Robertson

SLSO Music Director: David Robertson



Being from the St. Louis area, I follow the SLSO and was recently sent this article about David Robertson the musical director of the Symphony there. Here is an exerpt that struck me:

The pairing (Mr. Robinson and the SLSO) prompts another comment, one that cuts to the heart of Midwestern self-deprecation and, perhaps, an inferiority complex. “You know,” Mr. Robertson continued, “it takes somebody from outside St. Louis to come and say, ‘This arch is one of the most inspiring objects in the world.’ Only then do people from here say, ‘Yeah, so it is.’ And it’s the same with the symphony. Only after outsiders praise it do people here go, ‘Oh, yeah, so it is.’ And that’s part of our challenge—to get people here to realize just how amazing this thing is that’s right in their midst.”

And so it is.

(and so I ask again…)
WHY does it take somebody from the Outside looking in to tell US that what we have is GREAT?!!? WHY don’t we believe in ourselves?

As Mid-Westerners are we automatically less aggressive? Are we taught not to raise our voice? Do we naturally demure to the loudest voice?

How do we correct this? How can we be PROUD of our Arts Scene right here in Indianapolis without being pushy, aggressive or arrogant? How can we make Indianapolis a CULTURAL CENTER in this country?


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Filed under New Music/Ideas

New maestros are younger.

Indianapolis Symphony OrchestraA few days ago, Oct 27th to be exact, the Wall Street Journal published an article by Barbara Jepson concerning the sudden move by many orchestras around the wold to younger, thirty-something conductors.  And these are large, world-class organizations like the Los Angeles Phil, NY Phil, Swedish Radio, La Verdi in Milan, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the London Philharmonic, to name a few.  I think this article presents what many consider a sudden shift to a younger generation of Orchestra members…hopefully this will also translate into a younger generation of symphony concert-goers as many of the above-mentioned organizations are hoping.  And thus stated in the article “relative youthfulness is an especially appealing quality at a time when symphony orchestras are desperately seeking ways to replenish their aging audiences.”

A couple notes of interest for me from the article:

– It seems the article is hinting that musical institutions overseas are more apt to hire a younger conductor/music director than institutions in the US.  Why?

I think one of the reasons may be the overall popularity of current classical music compared to that of the US.  As stated in the article: “Music by living composers is more typically a vital part of their repertoire.”  Dudamel, with the Los Angeles Symphony, is premiering nine new works this season alone.  The first was ‘City Noir’ by John Adams on Dudamel’s inaugural concert.  By the way, this was an awesome piece of music!  (Major props to saxophonist Timothy McAllister on playing a crazy-difficult saxophone part).
– Jesse Rosen, president of the League of American Orchestras, was interviewed for the article and stated “Orchestras today are defining their artistic roles more broadly than simply delivering concerts and rehearsals at a high level.”

This is great news!  More conductors are becoming more proactive with the educational arm of their institutions.  These young conductors “are more approachable and visible in the communities.” (from the article) What could be a better way to connect to the community than being present within the community when it is not expected? The article even notes Mr. Gilbert, 42 y.o. conductor of the NY Phil, greeted ticket buyers before the concert and addressed audiences from the stage.  PERFECT!

All of this is important to Indianapolis as it begins a search for their new conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.  Would it not behoove the ISO higher-ups to take the WSJ article to heart and hire a younger conductor?  I feel it would be a breath of new life into the orchestra…you know, create a buzz to an organization that needs the buzz in these trying economic times.  The way this city is set up, I feel a younger conductor instituting new education initiatives, connecting with a larger fan-base around the city and its suburbs, and being the “face” of Indy Arts would become a major superstar and the ISO would see a rise in support for the organization.  Look at the frenzied craze that has started with Dudamel in Los Angeles.  It can happen in Indy too.  We just need the right person leading the orchestra for years to come.

What are your thoughts?


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Filed under New Music/Ideas