The USC Bass Tuba Quartet has put the following video together in thanks and appreciation for making it possible for us to go compete in Austria this summer. It was an unbelievable and life changing experience for all of us! Thank you!
Video slideset with audio from ITEC 2012, Austria
(The first two pieces heard are the Allegro from Mozart’s 13th Symphony and John Stevens’ Moondance. These are the recordings we sent in to get into the competition in Linz. The third piece is a clip from Bruckner’s 4th symphony and then Johann Strauss’ Blue Danube finishes the slide show.)
Our experience in Austria began two days before our semifinal round, when we arrived in Linz. We spent the majority of these two days exploring the city, trying out Austrian foods, and witnessing new things such as the brass band shown two and a half minutes into the slideshow.
The day before the semifinal round, we spent some time rehearsing in the Music School of Linz, and we happened to run into Dan Perantoni, a giant in the tuba world and a good friend of Jim Self. The photo and video footage about four minutes in shows us playing a prototype tuba of his that he let us try.
Later that day, we met up with master mute designer Johann Schlipfinger, who let us use his tuba mutes for the competition–the video shows Jon playing a few notes with one of them.
That evening, we met up with our teacher Jim Self and his wife Jamie for dinner. We then all attended a recital by the incredible tubist Roland Szentpali, who wrote the piece “Homework” for us, which we performed in the competition. “Homework” is special to us since Jim Self was the one who commissioned this work by Mr. Szentpali. We all had the chance to meet and talk with Mr. Szentpali that night, and he was very enthusiastic and happy that we were performing his piece in the competition.
The next day, we had a short rehearsal, and later performed in the semifinal round. The video footage about five and a half minutes in shows our last note of the round–which went very successfully, as we advanced to the final round.
The next day (Monday) was the official opening of the conference. The conference was full of events right from the start, with an array of concerts, presentations, and recitals by the world’s best tuba and euphonium players. We spent some time listening to and being inspired by these musicians, and we additionally spent some time at the music school rehearsing for our final round, which was the next morning.
We also met up with several USC Thornton School of Music Alumni including Lindsey Hoh (who has been studying in Finland on a Fulbright scholarship), David McLemore (who won the previous ITEC solo competition and had his own recital this year), and Kiyoshi Sato (who now plays in the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra).
Tuesday morning, we got ready, warmed up, and performed in the final round of the competition. After leaving the performance room, we all agreed: everything that could have gone right in the performance did, and we played our music better than we ever had. We represented USC with class, skill and musicianship.
Directly following the final round, we rushed to a masterclass by Dan Perantoni, because Jon had the privilege of playing in it, and was the first person scheduled to play for Mr. Perantoni. The masterclass was a great educational experience for all of us, and Jon represented well USC Thornton’s high standard of skill and musicianship. After having lunch together following the masterclass, we spent the rest of the day trying out tubas, attending concerts, exploring the city, spending time next to the Danube, etc. That evening, we were informed of the competition results. We were awarded 3rd place, out of 22 total ensembles from all over the world: a remarkable achievement.
The next day, we were given the amazing opportunity by Bob Tucci (from Perantucci tubas) to visit the St. Florian Monastery, the location of Anton Bruckner’s tomb as well as his favorite organ. It truly was a surreal, once-in-a-lifetime experience for all of us, seeing the beautiful architecture and artwork of the building, seeing Bruckner’s tomb, and hearing an organ that Bruckner had played himself.
On Thursday, Michael had the opportunity to perform in a masterclass for Andreas Hofmeir, a renowned tubist who has been featured as a soloist all over Europe. Like the previous masterclass, it was a great educational experience for all of us and Michael represented USC Thornton’s stature well.
On Friday, some of us went to Salzburg and toured various places including where the musical “The Sound of Music” was filmed. That evening, we attended a concert by the world famous Mnozil Brass–a truly inspiring brass ensemble, and, following the concert, attended a performance by the jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon.
On our last day in Europe, we took a guided tour of long-time music capital Vienna which included a visit to the house that Beethoven lived in, a panoramic view of the city, and a boat ride on the Danube. We ended our last day in Europe with a very nice dinner together at a restaurant in Vienna that was established in 1447.
Overall, the trip was a very fun, inspiring, and educational experience for each one of us. The competition, conference, and trip as a whole were a great success and we represented USC with class. We met, talked with, and learned from many of the world’s greatest tuba and euphonium players including Øystein Baadsvik, Demondrae Thurman, Eirik Gjerdevik, Marty Erickson, and Sergio Carolino. We hope to use what we’ve learned through the experience of this trip to inspire those around us, to continue the success of the USC Bass Tuba Quartet as a group, to continue our personal success as musicians, and to continue to represent USC Thornton as a world-class music school.
Thank you for your support!
The USC Bass Tuba Quartet
- Blake Cooper
- Brandon Davis
- Michael Murrin
- Jonathan Seiberlich