university-level brass ensemble rehearsing Mussorgsky
|The Extension Ensemble.
L-R Sybil Mathai, Theo Primis, Mike Boschen, Ralph Alessi, Andy
|Concert on the Village Green
|The high school ensemble
prepares for the final concert
The third annual Bar Harbor Brass Week was held June 21
- 27, 2003 at the College of the Atlantic in scenic Bar Harbor,
Maine. Brass Week is dedicated to the memory of Mark Woolman Horner
who grew up on Mount Desert Island, went on to Juilliard, and became
principal trombone of the San Antonio Symphony. He died tragically
on December 14, 1998.
Bar Harbor Brass Week included participants on both the college
and high school levels. Large brass ensembles were formed for both
age groups, and these groups were split into a number of brass quintets.
All participants were coached and conducted by an artist faculty
consisting of members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Atlanta
Symphony. A resident brass quintet called Extension Ensemble from
New York City rounded out the faculty. Senior faculty included Blair
Bollinger-bass trombone; Adam Unsworth-horn; and Matt Vaughn-trombone
(all from the Philadelphia Orchestra); and Chris Martin-trumpet
(from the Atlanta Symphony). The Extension Ensemble members included
Ralph Alessi and Sybil Mathai-trumpets; Theo Primis-horn; Mike Boschen-trombone;
and Andy Bove-tuba.
The week featured master classes, lessons, rehearsals, and mock
orchestral auditions on each of the instruments of the brass family.
In addition, sessions featured valuable input on succeeding in the
real world of music beyond school. Topics included auditioning,
the tenure process in the symphony setting, symphony life, studio
work, freelancing, church music, developing a distinctive musical
presentation, and other non-traditional opportunities in music.
Students came away from all of these sessions with a much clearer
understanding of the professional world by hearing the stories of
professionals who have been through it all!
The musical highlights of the week included three concerts. The
first, on Monday, June 23rd at St. Saviour's Episcopal Church featured
solo playing from Bollinger, Unsworth, Vaughn, and Martin. The Poulenc
Sonata for brass trio gave the evening some added chamber
music, and the Extension Ensemble brought the evening to a close
with several works by New York City composers. Of special interest
was a piece inspired by a New York street musician, Moondog, that
featured some excellent improvisation by the Extension Ensemble.
The second performance was titled Brass Extravaganza, and took place
Thursday, June 26th on the Village Green in Bar Harbor. This event
featured both student brass ensembles and was presented as a free
concert for the residents and many tourists who come to Bar Harbor
during this busy time of year. The concert featured an excellent
variety of material for large ensembles and brass quintet. The ensembles
were conducted by Blair Bollinger and Matt Vaughn, and included
guest solo appearances by Matt Vaughn on trombone, and Ralph Alessi
and Sbyil Mathai on trumpet. Several student quintets performed
to the delighted of the audience. The concert included many selections
that one would expect at an old-fashioned outdoor band concert from
ages past. It made for a great evening under the stars. The final
concert of the week was the "Mark Woolman Horner Memorial Concert."
It took place on Friday, June 27th, at St. Saviour's Episcopal Church.
The theme was "Music of the Northern Seas," and featured
great brass music from and about northern cultures. A major highlight
of this concert was the performance of Mussorgsky's Pictures
at an Exhibition, transcribed for large brass ensemble by Michael
Allen, and performed by the university-level large brass ensemble.
This fine ensemble included members from all over the United States,
and rehearsed and performed difficult literature with a minimum
of rehearsal with maximum results. What a great bridge to the professional
world they will soon seek to enter!
Bar Harbor, Maine is one of the most scenic locations in all of
America. That, combined with a first-rate faculty, dedicated students,
fine organization, and challenging repertoire, added up to a week
that will long be remembered for its exceptional quality and value!
Matt and Heather Vaughn are to be commended for their work on organization
involved in making Bar Harbor Brass Week a reality.
To learn more about this annual event visit the website (URL below).
Bar Harbor Brass Week