Australasian Trumpet Academy 2018

From September 25-30, 2018, in the beautiful rainforest of Queensland, Australia, trumpet players from Australia, Italy, and the US came together for the fourth annual Australasian Trumpet Academy (ATA).

The Academy is directed by John Foster, who stated “The ATA is always a highlight of my year. To see the participants learn and make such great music together is such a special experience.”

John Foster and Vince DiMartino

This year’s academy featured internationally renowned artists Gabriel Cassone, Vincent DiMartino, John Foster, and Aaron Witek. Each day, intensive sessions were led by faculty, including group warm-ups, orchestral excerpt classes, baroque trumpet lectures, trumpet ensemble rehearsals, private lessons and master classes and even sessions on cornetto. In just six days, sessions covered a wide array of topics such as solo literature, orchestral repertoire, historical instruments, and jazz improvisation.

One of the unique things about the ATA is the large amount of personal attention all participants experience. Everyone is together most of the day including meals, classes, and even trivia games. Participants get to know each other on a more personal level rather than just based on performance. Participants also performed, learned, and listened to historic instruments such as cornetto, keyed trumpet, and natural trumpet.

At the end of the academy, participants took part in a Mock Orchestral Audition adjudicated by the featured artists. First place went to Darcy O’Malley of UTAS Conservatorium of Music (Tasmania), second place Jack Collinson of  Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium and third place to Courtney Oxenford, a graduate of the University of Tasmania. 

Besides attending master classes, rehearsals, and performing, participants took a night-time hike to the famous “glow worm caves” in Springbrook National Park, daily hikes in the rainforest, and trumpet games such as the annual “Trumpet Olympics” and “Trumpet Trivia.” Yamaha Music Australia brought a plethora of trumpets for participants to try. Yamaha generously donates a trumpet to the academy each year. It is then given as a prize to the participant who stands out by demonstrating excellence. This year Yamaha donated an E-flat/D trumpet that was deservedly awarded to Melbourne trumpeter, Matthew Tubman.

The 4th Annual ATA culminated with a gala concert in Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane, at St Andrew’s Uniting Church. The audience was treated to a program featuring an elegant, period instrument performance by John Foster and Gabriele Cassone of Vivaldi’s Concerto for two trumpets, then Cassone continued to charm and thrill spectators with his virtuoso renditions of Verdi’s Adagio for Keyed Trumpet and Ponchielli’s Trumpet Concerto. Vincent DiMartino performed Bruce Broughton’s Folk Songfollowed by Theodore Dubois Fantasie, and as always DiMartino displayed to everyone in attendance why he is still one of the world’s greatest trumpet artists, with his sublime musicianship and total command of the instrument. The Australian Piano Duo accompanied the trumpeters for the  fourth consecutive year.

ATA participants with instruments exhibited by Yamaha

The ATA ensemble (featuring all participants) also gave performances of John Foster’s A Brahms Fantasy (a world premiere for 6 natural trumpets and timpani), Marcus Grant Suite for Six Trumpets, Brendan Collins Sacred Suite, George Gershwin Summertime, Mendez La Virgin da Macarena (featuring DiMartino & Foster) and Richard Strauss's Solemn Entrance of the Knights of St. John. Highlights from the ATA 2018 Gala Concert can be seen on YouTube at:

For more information about the academy, visit

(Source: Aaron Witek)

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