Saturday, September 12, 2009

2010 Southeast Horn Workshop, March 26-28, USM, Hattiesburg, MS

The 2010 Southeast Horn Workshop will be March 26-28 on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi, in Hattiesburg, MS. The host will be Heidi Lucas, horn prof. at Southern Miss.

Give Heidi a little more time to get emails out and the website up and running. She got married this past weekend to USM trombone prof., Bruce Tychinski! Congratulations and best wishes to both of them!

For those of us who work within the university setting, a regional workshop may be all we can swing financially this year, what with budget cuts and the International show being in Australia. So I'm predicting that attendance at the Southeast show will be a record-breaker!

You will see both me and my studio there, with lots on tap; a consortium premiere, some music for horn and soprano, and all of your favorite vendors.

As Heidi gets info out, I'll be replicating it here, so check back!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Horn vs. Mellophone

On the heels of the DCI Finals, and with college and high school marching bands across the country firing up for another school year, we are once again faced with the yearly dilemma-- how to keep our horn students playing well on BOTH instruments at the same time.

Having marched with my single-letter 8D in high school (!), I came to mellophone rather late, as a college freshman. I struggled at first, but then came to realize some simple truths:

While horn and mellophone share some similarities (being a brass instrument, a set of partials, and some fingerings with the B-flat side of our double horn), there are enough differences (airspeed, tone, range, more fingerings in lower range & played with r.h., embouchure) to cause problems on both.

As the current private teacher of horns in a BOA Finalist band and major professor for a corps member of Spirit of Atlanta and Phantom Regiment, I have had the most success having students treat the two as ENTIRELY DIFFERENT INSTRUMENTS. Some students have more trouble with the r.h./ l.h. and fingerings issues than others, but all need the AIRSPEED and EMBOUCHURE differences brought to their attention and re-inforced.

Our horn embouchure of "2/3 upper, 1/3 lower" is less effective on the mellophone, and most students quickly adjust to a more "trumpet-like" embouchure of 50/50. Airspeed on the mello is ALL ultra-focused and fast. Having the student bring both instruments to a lesson and re-inforcing differences and correct technique is the key. If they have trouble detecting the difference, video feedback helps, as with my LHS student Shelbie in this clip. Allowed to play her horn with her "mellophone" embouchure and airspeed, the results are rather telling!

(And for all you Phans out there, SUTA! See you at Drums Across Cajun Field, where I am Tabulator)

0@/ horngodess

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Playing/Singing During/After Pregnancy

Bruce Hembd posted an amazing video of Helene Tomböck playing the Long Call in the 9th month of her pregnancy:

The subject of Playing/Singing During/After Pregnancy is one that has gone around before, but it bears repeating. Back in the days before YouTube, I kept right on playing through my pregnancy, to the delight of my OB/GYN, who thought it could do nothing but improve my breathing and tone muscles for the event to come. The only difficulty I really experienced was finding "prego" concert black options and where to rest my bell! I played principal on Overture to Die Meistersinger with the university orchestra eight hours before going into labor, 6th or 7th horn (can't remember) in Mahler 2 with Youngstown Symphony four weeks after delivering, and my master's recital a month after that.

Mommies of the horn world, what was your experience?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Musicians' Initiative Needs Your Help!!!

Musicians' Initiative 2009

Our Acadiana Symphony Orchestra has been hit by the economic downturn and we have lost thousands of dollars in corporate sponsorships. We believe in the importance of our orchestra and wish to support our hard-working board and hope you will help us. We orchestra members are launching our Musicians’ Initiative in hopes of raising $10,000. We will present our check the night of the July 4th concert - a fitting way to begin our 25th Anniversary Season!

If each person we contact donates any amount, small or large, we can reach our goal (and maybe even surpass it!). If 500 people give $20, that’s $10,000! You might also be interested in knowing that orchestra members who are able have donated a service fee back to the ASO.

The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra is a 501(C)(3) organization which makes all contributions 100% tax deductible. Donations can be made in the form of:

1) A check made out to the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra
Please write “Musicians’ Initiative” in the memo and send to:
412 Travis Street, Lafayette, LA 70503


2) Click
HERE to make your donation online using a credit card.

Thank you for helping us keep the ASO at the forefront of our Acadiana Culture!

Catherine Roche-Wallace, second horn, and
The Acadiana Symphony Musicians

HERE to make your donation online

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Music/Poetry . . . Poetry/Music

David Amram on left in both photos, Jack Kerouac with drink in hand, Allen Ginsburg wearing glasses, 1959 photos by Fred McDarrah

below, left, photo of David Amram at the 41st International Horn Symposium, 2009, by Bruce Kelley

So, in my newly-titled role of "Athena of SeniorBopperdom Reportage" (Thanks, David!), I am realizing that my non-jazz colleagues and students would appreciate a little background on exactly what it was that David Amram and Jack Kerouac did in the late fifties in East Village, Manhattan. What better way to communicate that than "straight from the horse's mouth:" an excerpt of an interview David gave for the blog JerryJazzMusician:

JJM What was the artistic atmosphere of the 1950's prior to the jazz-poetry readings?

DA The atmosphere was wide open in those circles that we traveled in. To an extent, we opened them up ourselves by walking into places and spontaneously doing something together. In a jazz atmosphere, the audience members were so quiet and respectful of the musicians that you felt you were almost part of a meeting at a church or a temple, where everyone was completely in tune with the sermon and what the whole event was about. It was a wonderful communal feeling that was largely unspoken, and very strong and very warm. I jammed with Monk and Bird and played and recorded with the bands of Mingus, Oscar Pettiford, Lionel Hampton, Mary Lou Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Dorham and many great players at venues that were often attended by just a handful of people. At places like the Cedar Tavern, the painters were really the center of what you might you call the social scene. They would have "bring your own bottle" parties, and people would bring something with them, whether it be a drink, a poem they had written, or a musical instrument -- or just come to hang out. They were basically informal get-togethers that were open to anybody who happened to come by and walk in, from a street person to a potential art collector who would hear through the grapevine that artists were having a party.

Esquire, in a July, 1957 issue, has a photograph of me playing the French horn at the Five Spot. The photo shows the sculptor David Smith, the painter Larry Rivers, the poet Frank O'Hara, and others as well. This picture wasn't taken in an elegant setting like Elaine's Restaurant, but rather a club where people like that were hanging out all the time. TheEsquire article associated with the photo was called "Upper and Lower Bohemia." The Upper Bohemia people wore tuxedos in an art gallery, and Lower Bohemia was all of us. The people of Upper Bohemia would come down and check out what was happening downtown. There was no such discussion of a "cutting edge." It was just all this wonderful stuff going on.

Jack Kerouac, reading


photo by Fred McDarrah

JJM What are your memories of the first ever jazz-poetry reading at New York's Brata Art Gallery in 1957?

DA The fact that we even did it is a miracle, because we used to do our readings on park benches or in people's apartments, or in the Café Figaro or some bar at 3:00 AM -- whatever we felt like doing. Howard Hart and Philip Lamentia thought we should try to do it in a better setting. We met with the poet Frank O'Hara, who was a link between Upper and Lower Bohemia, and who worked at the Museum of Modern Art, where we had hoped to do the readings. The people at the Museum were horrified at the idea of having any of us there. They were not about to open up their museum to a bunch of "ruffians." So, having been turned down there, we decided to do it at the Brata Art Gallery, where I was known. On occasion they would ask me to play the horn or bring some musicians to play. In exchange for playing, we would get wine, crackers, and the chance to meet a variety of fantastic artists, and perhaps even pursue romance with a young woman who was interested in art.

So, we went to the Brata Gallery and they welcomed us there. I remember the day of the reading being quite rainy. In anticipation of the reading, we had a few mimeographed announcements that were handed out in the different coffee houses, bars and park benches, because that was the way everything was advertised then -- by word of mouth. To our amazement, the Brata was packed with people. There was no microphone, and nothing was planned. Jack was the emcee, and On the Road had just come out previous to that. People knew his name from the incredible reviews, but he didn't have the pressure on him then that he did even a month or two later.

JJM The readings were pretty much spontaneous?

DA Yes. I never knew whether Jack was reading something that he made up on the spot or if it was something of his own. There may be something by Walt Whitman in there, or maybe a fragment of a poem by Hart Crane, or something from Shakespeare, Beowulf or Chaucer. He knew all of these French poets like Celine, and he would say "check this out" or "dig this" and start reciting a Celine poem from memory. He had an enormous memory for music and for jazz and the classics. He could sing the melodies from different Haydn and Beethoven string quartets. He was like an encyclopedia of music and classic literature from Europe. He also had an enormous knowledge of Buddhism. He had a tremendous knowledge of Judaism, as well as the writings from the Old and New Testaments as well as from the Mass. He had this knowledge of so many different things. When he was reading, I would submerge myself into whatever it was he was reading, and I tried to anticipate what would happen next.

JJM What instrument were you playing?

DA This was 46 years ago, and I played mostly French horn and some piano and percussion. At times I might play some kind of folkloric flute, although I didn't play those with the frequency or the skill then as I do now. I would listen very hard to what he was reading, and on the spot create music that the readings gave me ideas about. That is something that I was trained to do when playing jazz, always think ahead. When you are accompanying someone, you are listening to them the way you listen to a Bach Chorale, where four parts are going on at the same time, all of which are gorgeous melodies, all being played simultaneously. In jazz, you listen to what the bass player is doing and what the drummer is doing, what the pianist and the guitarist is doing, and then you play something that compliments that, so you are thinking simultaneously and thinking ahead. In symphonic music, when you are conducting, you do the same thing. You are feeling the whole orchestra, thinking ahead so you can prepare for a change. That enables you to accompany somebody even if it is not planned and be able to come up with something that is appropriate.

The other thing is you really have to want to submerge yourself into this situation. That is what I did with Jack, and that's why he liked to do the readings with me because he knew I was there for him, and for our ability to blend the poetry and the music. When he was reading I tried to do something to compliment the music that was already there in his reading.


JJM Douglas Brinkley said that "Each generation rediscovers Kerouac on their own terms." How is Kerouac being "rediscovered" by today's generation of interested readers?

DA There are a lot of wonderful things created in our culture that have been ignored that can speak to them. When today's generation reads Jack's books or they listen to the music created by some of us, I believe that they see there is a different way of approaching today's life and today's sometimes seeming hopelessness that can provide answers. That by listening to some music, by reading some books, by looking at paintings, and most important by hanging out with one another -- by collaborating with one another and creating your own network -- you can achieve something that is much better than what is out there.

JJM You and your friends used the motto, "By your works ye shall be known." How will you be known?

DA I would hope it starts with my music, and would be considered compositions that exemplify what I believe is the common factor of all great music. From Bach to Bird to Bartok, all share the following in common: Purity of intent and an exquisite choice of notes. My compositions, I believe, will have lives of their own long after I am gone. They are built on the philosophy of what we used to call a selection of "choice notes." I hope my music will be of value to future musicians and artists of all kinds to inspire them to dare to tell their own story, to be themselves, and to see that art and life don't have to be separated.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Meeting David Amram-- An Email from a "Beat"

l to r: David Amram, Percy Heath, Dizzy Gillespie, 1986
David Amram at IHS 41, 2009

l to R:Larry Rivers, Jack Kerouac,
David Amram, Allen Ginsberg,
Gregory Corso (with back to camera), 1959

One of the amazing features of International Horn Symposia is having the opportunity to meet the people that shape our musical world. David Amram is one of those people, and we were blown away by his music, his playing, and just listening to him TALK, in true stream-of-consciousness, beat-poet style.

My friends and I got some great photos of him in performance, so I forwarded them to him, with a short note. THIS is what I got in return:
Subject: to Catherine from David amram
Date: June 19, 2009 12:49:46 AM CDT
Dear Catherine:
Thank you for your nice note
The IHs was a real treat!
What wonderful players (and NICE PEOPLE!!)
i may be coming down in the Spring of '10 to Louisiana for a performance of one of my operas and will let you know when I find out for sure. If i do, maybe i could drop by and do something with your students.
Best to contact me via e-mail for all info
Facebook is great for fotos and connecting with old friends but HARD to correspond with!!
I've been going non-stop the last two months, and IHS at MACOMB WAS LIKE A REAL VACATION!!
This past weekend there was a showing of the film THE FRONTIER GHANDI, for which I wrote and conducted the score, back in December of 2007. Here is the announcement.
at the
BAM Rose Cinemas
is showing the film
The Frontier Gandhi: Badshah Khan, A Torch For Peace
Produced and directed by Teri McLuhan
Score composed and conducted by David Amram
Sunday, Jun 14th 5:00pm
This dramatic documentary tells the extraordinary tale of Muslim peacemaker Badshah Khan, a reformer who helped shape India's modern political, social and spiritual landscape. Born into Pashtun warrior society, Khan managed to raise a nonviolent army of 100,000 men, women, and youngsters as he struggled for India’s independence alongside Gandhi.
Shot in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, this eye-opening film includes rare historical footage, remarkably candid interviews from world leaders, and a score by world music pioneer David Amram. This film is a co-production of the U.S. and Canada.
In English, Urdu, Dari, Pashto, and Hindi with English subtitles.
Directed by T.C. McLuhan
2008, 92minute
I'm lucky to be doing more than ever in my life, and grateful to be able to do it.
While waiting to hear from an orchestra about a new commission for a symphonic work, I am doing all kinds of events and they are all a treat to be part of, as well as a challenge.
I have been asked to organize the grand finale for a monstro concert in Central Park June 21st, organized by a 24 year old flautist where hundreds of musicians, after finishing playing with large ensembles throughout NYC all come to Summer Stage at 8 p.m. for a grand finale,
I will create a piece made up on the spot, with everyone becoming part of the band, including the audience. They are calling it an Amram Jam.
When the organizer asked me what several hundred musicians could do all together that would be spontaneous without being total chaos, I wrote out the 12 bar blues chord changes on a napkin for her during out lunchtime get together and she is printing them on the Flyers and programs, so all the musicians (and interested audience members) will see that there is a science to jazz and vital ongoing roots and logic along with freedom!! And they will all have the equivalent of a Map Quest road map, (the chord pattern for the 12 bar blues, written out on huge banner as well as on the flyers) So everyone will have a common point of departure.
Many of the musicians who are going to come to participate are talented and want to know about jazz but don't have a clue, because of the 30 year drought in public school music ED)
Among other things, I hope this can give them some inkling of some of the basic ABCs, and see that along with a yea-saying and egalitarian spirit, music of quality can be created on the spot and be UPLIFTING as well as FUN!!!! smli to what we all did at the Blues workshop at IHS.
Since I'm currently just a young whippersnapper of 78, I have been working nonstop, as I know you also do.
With my Big 80 coming up (Nov 17, 2010) great stuff is already happening!!
As you no doubt's 80 is......
The NEW.....95!!!
Dizzy Gillespie told me on his 70th birthday, years ago , "Now that you got gray hair Dave, it's time to put something back into the pot!"
So that's what we all can do!
Now that my piano concerto is finished, with a great premiere in January with Jon Nakamatzu soloist, I am editing the final corrections for publication and future performances, as well as a new forward for Vibrations, originally released in 1968, my first book (and third to be published by Paradigm Publishers) and now out of hibernation, resuming my world wide travels, which fortunately include New YORK!!
I am really fortunate that Larry Krayman, and founder of New Port Classic Recordings, who released two CDs of my symphonic music in the 90s, (one of which includes "Theme and Variations on Red River Valley" which you have. Larry is now doing an ongoing documentary about the many worlds that make up my world, showing how all these various activities enable me to continue composing.
Since he is classically oriented and not PETRIFIED by the fact that I am not (and never planned to become) a cash cow to be exploited as a flavor of the month and then reinvent myself every year with the knowledge that whatever I do is destined for the landfill.
He understands that i have chosen to take that LONG ROAD....wherever i am for who ever wants what i have to offer and he plans to have the film complete by the time my BIG 80 hits the Big Speedometer in the Sky around Nov 17, 2010
He has already filmed a four camera shoot of a live performance of my recent orchestral work Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie. He also filmed a recent concert at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Robert Frank/Kerouac book The Americans and my collaborations with them, with performances of my chamber music and jazz compositions.
He has filmed a whole night of my playing my monthly gig with my jazz quartet in the Village and is filming a whole series of other events.
He is also planning to video my opera Twelfth Night which I wrote with a libretto by Joe Papp and he is also recording a lot of my concert music and plans to release it on his label via I-tunes.
He also plans to and use all out-takes of everything filmed to put up on YouTube!!
Hopefully. All this will inspire young artists to HANG IN THERE!!
I'm managing to keep the farm where i live in shape between crazed activities, and REALLY enjoy doing the outdoor work, which is my Summer aerobics.
I am doing all kinds of events and they are all fun, and help to keep me inspired to compose!!
Just played Caenegie Hall Monday night June 15 for honoring of Theo Bikel. he is 85 and STILL LIKE HE WAS in 1955 when i met him!
That's what i would like to be like when i reach his and PeteSeeger's age!! Let's both continue drinking from that Fountain of Youth
All cheers from that endless road.
Hope our paths cross soon, and wish you all creative energy, great chops, lots of crawfish etouffe and enough Louisianna cayenne pepper hot sauce to play kopprach an OCTAVE HIGHER!!!
your friend here in Yankee Land
PS We have had so much rain here that our cattle ARE SWIMMING IN THE POND.I fed thm some leftover buffalo wings and ribs from the grease palace where we went each night in Macomb, whuch i briught back in a bag, and.....i thnk they are starting to MUTATE!!
Here is foto i just took (here appeared a Photoshopped shot of a cow and a dolphin frolicking in the waves)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

UL Horn Studio on the way Home!

One last photo from the Finale concert-- Geoffrey Simon conducts the Symposium horn choir

l to r: Nancy Joy, Jeff Nelsen, Susan McCullough, Marshall Sealy, Jazz horn winner Morris Kliphuis, IHS prez Jeff Snedeker

Wild looking bridge north of St. Louis

Wild looking bridge north of St. Louis

Missouri state line!

About to stop in downtown St. Louis

That's the arch between Kyle and Daniel!

Lunch at Spaghetti Factory, downtown St. Louis

photo op at the arch

can you see the base of the arch above us?

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Monday, June 08, 2009

UL Horns Go International-- Finale!-- day 8-- Sunday

Click on the blog entry title, above, for the Symposium program for Sunday

UL horn students and Dr. R-W at the banquet.

CR-W with old friend, Jeff Nelsen. Can you tell I've had 9 hours of sleep in the last 48???

Horn quartet competition finalists from TAMUK

Horn quartet finalists

Horn quartet finalists from UT Austin

Horn choir finalist UT Austin

Symposium Choir playing London Horn Sound's "Bohemian Rhapsody"

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

UL Horns go International day 6-- Friday

Click on the blog entry title, above, to see the Symposium program booklet for Friday

The alphorn choir rehearses

The alphorn choir

The Conn-Selmer table, Mark Gifford & Mike Kamphiuis

Mark Gifford, the man who made my horn!

The Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse

Audrey, Gerry, and Paul

Paul, Tony, and Gerry

Annamia Larsson

Annamia and Tomoko Kanamaru

Jeff Nelsen

Annamia and Jeff

Annamia, Jeff, and Tomoko

Annamia and Jeff

George Napuda talks John K's ear off-- in Ukranian!

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