Jim Bovinette, Reporter
Ian Balmain, principal trumpet of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and professor of trumpet at the Royal Academy of Music, London shared and demonstrated with the ITG his insights into orchestral excerpt performance and preparation. The master class was presented with student participants in an open forum. Ian made the trip to Manchester from Japan where he had just finished performing with the Superworld Symphony Orchestra, an all-star orchestra comprised of major symphony players from all over the world.
One of Mr. Balmains main observations about the current orchestra scene is that a great deal of individuality has been lost. He stated that in the last 20 years orchestras have begun to sound the same. Much of what was once the most exciting element of going to a live concert was the individual style of orchestras and players from different regions. Balmain feels that as a result players must strive to understand the composers, time periods, and cultural influences to adequately do it justice in performance.
According Ian, it does not matter what trumpet music is performed on as long as the proper sound is produced. He then demonstrated excerpts from the Firebird, Mahler 5, and Pictures at an Exhibition, while at the same time coaching the students and sharing his vast experiences as a principal trumpet player with one of the worlds finest orchestras. Balmain stressed the importance of the breath, stressing that the key to success is to get a ringing sound that does not decay on long tones. Lastly, he reminded the players and the audience that while a conductor leads the orchestra in rehearsal, when the downbeat is given it is the trumpeter who is calling the shots!