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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Metropolitan Opera

The Brass Junkies 84: Mark Gould

Andrew Hitz

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Mark Gould is a legend. They broke the mold with this guy. I consider him a good friend but I hope you won't hold that against me.

We have had him on our short list of must-have guests since we started the show and are happy we finally made it happen!

Please be warned: This episode contains much more adult content and adult-themed material than any other episode so if that's not your thing, we'll see you for Episode 85!

From the show notes:

Mark Gould, the former Principal trumpet of The Met, the mastermind behind Pink Baby Monster and author of the hilarious new book, "Orchestra Confidential" joins Andrew & Lance in an episode filled with laughs, stories and swear words. Like, a lot of swear words.

WARNING: As mentioned in the above description, this interview is more "adult" than our usual fare. If you are sensitive to this sort of thing, maybe sit this one out. You've been warned.

In this fun and lively conversation, we cover:

  • The first time Gould conducted The Boston Brass Kenton Christmas Carol show
  • How his new book "Orchestra Confidential" came to be
  • Pink Baby Monster, Elixirs and the Banff stories
  • Reagan masks and inflatables in the "Desert Jews" show at ITG
  • Pink Baby Monster's origin on 9/9/01, starting as a song and growing into a group after 9/11
  • Making a hip-hop record w/Brian McWhorter
  • Pink Baby Monster being covered in the Daily News
  • How he got banned from ITG
  • What a Conductor Can’t Say
  • Snobbery in jazz music
  • Training young musicians
  • Project-based training with a deadline
  • What he would do if starting out today
  • Collaboration wish list (David Lynch)
  • Harry Watters
  • PBM, “Conducting the National Brass Ensemble Album” video
  • Masterclasses
  • Heavy valve caps make all the difference
  • Q: How high can you play? A: Exactly
  • Playing with Jim Pandolfi in The Met

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 73: Weston Sprott, Trombonist for the Metropolitan Opera

Andrew Hitz

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This was one of my favorite episodes we've ever done of The Brass Junkies. Weston Sprott, Acting Principal Trombone of the Metropolitan Opera, is as thoughtful a human being as you will ever find. We talked about his incredible career and also went into the diversity issues still facing the industry today. A lot of food for thought.

And the story of him running into one of his heroes, Wynton Marsalis, on the streets of New York City and what went down is worth the whole download!

From the show notes:

TBJ73: Trombonist Weston Sprott on Performing with the Metropolitan Opera, the Diversity Issues Facing the Industry and Running Into One of His Heroes on the Streets of New York

Weston Sprott is the Acting Principal Trombone of the Metropolitan Opera and has appeared with major orchestras all over the world.

In this episode, we cover:

  • His gig
  • What the best subs have in common
  • Coming up in TX
  • Teaching
  • Best student characteristics- “They do what I tell them to do”
  • The acidic, dry and awesome John Rojak
  • His website and resources
  • Diversity issues in classical music
  • Meeting Wynton Marsalis
  • The McGurk Effect
  • The Sphinx Organization

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

Can You Fill In With Only Five Minutes Warning?

Andrew Hitz

Filed under *always* be ready. From the Washington Post:

NEW YORK — Francesco Anile got to make his Metropolitan Opera debut in a T-shirt, blue jeans and sneakers. With 5 minutes notice.

The 54-year-old Italian tenor was in the green room during the last act of Saturday’s performance of Verdi’s “Otello,” which was being broadcast on radio throughout the world, when he was told by a stage director that Latvian tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko was sick and unable to sing the title role in the fourth act.

Five minutes warning to take the stage as the star of the opera. With the Metropolitan Opera. Wearing blue jeans and sneakers. You can't make this stuff up.

You always have to be ready for the call. You might never get a second one.

In fact, just last week I was able to attend the dress rehearsal of the Washington National Opera's production of Siegfried. The understudy had to fill in for Brünnhilde because the soprano playing that role twisted her ankle badly during a scene in the Die Walküre dress rehearsal.

The understudy filled in with just a few minutes notice during the Die Walküre rehearsal and sang the entire role in the Siegfried dress. You just never know when your number is going to come up.

I got a call at my apartment in Tempe, Arizona at around 9:00 pm on a Tuesday back in January of 2000. It was the Boston Brass asking if I could sub for them in an emergency situation. At 5:00 am the next morning I was checking in for a flight to Colorado. I proceeded to play with them for 14 years.

You never know when the call is coming. Are you ready?

Here's the full article from the Washington Post.

EDIT: My friend James Hicks, Principal Tuba in the Navy Band, read this and posted this as a comment on my Facebook page:

"I was once teaching lessons in the northwest Chicago suburbs and got a call from Gene (Pokorny of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) at 10am to come in and play Till (Eulenspiegel) on the 3pm matinee that afternoon. Also, got called one Sunday morning at 11am to drive up to Milwaukee to sightread a John Williams program with MSO on a 3pm matinee. You never know...."

You truly never know!

Weston Sprott on Being Tentative

Andrew Hitz

"Many players see a low dynamic marking on a part and let that turn them into apologetic, frightened musicians. I think it is beneficial to do the exact opposite. "
-Weston Sprott, Acting Principal Trombone of the Metropolitan Opera

The above is a quote from a fantastic article by Weston Sprott that he posted on his website. It is only two paragraphs long and well worth the 30 seconds.

As the title of the article says, don't be shy!

And don't miss the awesome conversation we had with Weston on The Brass Junkies. It will get you thinking about some really important stuff.

Links That Make Me Think - April Edition

Andrew Hitz

Here are April's links that make me think.  Some are recent and some are not,  but all have proved thought-provoking. ---------

Yet again Seth Godin nails it right on the head (and in only 57 words!) In asking the question "How do I get rid of fear?" he explains that fear is not the enemy, paralysis is. This is a MUST READ for anyone in music.

Not surprisingly, children who learn music from a young age find it easier to learn languages even in adulthood, research has found.

Here's a fantastic article about 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently which includes failing up and asking the big questions.

Forbes compiled a list of 16 Leadership Quotes To Inspire You To Greatness including quotes from JFK and Andrew Carnegie.

This article in Scientific American talks about using psychological distance as an easy way to increase creativity. (I didn't know what the heck that was either until I read it!)

Filed as Exhibit A under Always Be Ready For The Call: The lead in the Metropolitan Opera's Wozzeck fell ill just hours before the show.  in came Matthias Goerne to save the day, with virtually no time to prepare at all. How did it go? Placido Domingo leaped to his feet applauding at the curtain. What a great lesson for all players and conductors to always be ready for absolutely anything!

You can not go to a Joe Alessi master class without hearing him mention the Amazing Slow Downer. It is a powerful tool for any performer or music educator. Here is one music teacher talking about how indispensable it is for her.

Finally, a fascinating article titled Why We Love Repetition In Music which talks all about brain function.

Bonus Link: If this guy with nothing but a trombone, his hands, and a digital loop doesn't make you happy you should probably get off the internet and get some fresh air.

Most links are best enjoyed with a bowl of ramen. © 2014 Andrew Hitz