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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

The Brass Junkies 82: Geoffrey Pilkington

Andrew Hitz

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Geoff Pilkington is one of the best horn players in the world and I am lucky to call him a dear friend. I'd been wanting to make this interview happen for a long time and finally we made the schedules work!

This one ended up being a little different than the rest. We talked about his entire career but also ended up doing a deep dive into playing the Long Call from Wagner's Siegfried. Hearing about his experience performing it as a part of the Ring Cycle here in DC a couple of years ago was fascinating.

From the show notes:

TBJ82: Geoffrey Pilkington, Principal Horn for the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra on yoga, humility and the Long Call

Geoffrey Pilkington, Principal Horn for the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra joins Andrew & Lance to talk about working with Don Greene, dealing with the effects of a pinched nerve and gives us a great behind-the-scenes look at what goes into preparing for and playing the Ring Cycle.

In this fun and lively conversation, we cover:

  • His main gigs (Principal horn for National Opera in DC, and Assistant Principal in Harrisburg PA Symphony)
  • Studying at Juilliard
  • How his practice habits have changed
  • Super final round (1st time) was Geoff and Phil Munds, Maestro, “Neither were the next Dale Clevenger”
  • Super final round (2nd time) with WeiPing Chou, Maestro, “Don’t miss any notes”
  • Working with Don Greene on audition prep
  • His parents were amateur musicians and his Dad's request to a 5th grade Geoff, “Pick anything you want except saxophone or French horn”
  • How to explain why the horn is difficult to people who know nothing about music
  • How to explain why the horn is difficult to people who DO know about music
  • The importance of humility for a horn player
  • Playing the Ring Cycle, especially the Sigfried Long Call
  • Playing with a pinched nerve in his neck and shoulder
  • Adversity training with Don Greene, some dude doing “The Worm”
  • Using swimming as a way to warm up and prepare physically and mentally
  • Using Bikram Yoga and meditation to prepare for The Ring
  • The importance of visualization in audition or performance preparation
  • Why focus is like a muscle, you can work on developing it

You can check out the complete show notes including all of the links mentioned during this episode over at Pedal Note Media.

The Brass Junkies 76: Doug Rosenthal

Andrew Hitz

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Doug Rosenthal is a phenomenal trombone player for the Washington National Opera and one hell of an awesome human. Love this guy! What a great interview we had with him while he was in Chicago playing Bass Trumpet on the Lyric Opera's Ring Cycle.

From the show notes:

Washington National Opera/Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra trombonist Doug Rosenthal joins Andrew & Lance in a conversation ranging from the bass trumpet to dealing with the Valsalva maneuver and his experiences as an openly gay brass player.

Currently, in his 6th season with the Washington National Opera/Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, Doug was actually speaking to us from Chicago, where he was playing bass trumpet with The Lyric Opera. He explains how he manages to schedule both gigs, how he got started at Northwestern and a variety of other topics, including:

  • Starting on euphonium
  • Going to Bremen Germany to get a bass trumpet
  • Playing with The New World Symphony
  • Playing the full Ring Cycle
  • His blog, "Inside the Arts"
  • His challenges overcoming issues the Valsalva maneuver
  • Being an openly gay brass player
  • #thouhgtsandprayers for Jens

You can check out the complete show notes including all of the links mentioned during this episode over at Pedal Note Media.