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Volume 9 Issue 10 - July/August 2004

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THE ELORA FESTIVAL

THE ELORA FESTIVAL Artistic Director: Noel Edison July 9 to August 1, 2004 Beethoven Symphony No. 9 • July 9 Les Violins du Roy• July 10 Michael Kaeshammer, jazz pianist •July 15 Verdi Requiem• July 17 Andre Laplante• July 18 Spirit of the West• July 22 Emma Kirkby, Daniel Taylor & the Theatre of Early Music• July 24 Orff Carmina Burana • July 30 Stuttgart Chamber Choir• July 31 and much more ... 519.846.0331 or 1.800.265.8977 www.elorafestival.com COVER STORY Alain Trudel: Music Man H e's already !mown around here, among brass players, and in the new 11111Sic andja:a. communities particularly, but it's safe to say we are going to get to !mow Alain Trudel a lot better. He junctions at a dizzying pace and level of skill in four distinct realms: as one of a handful of solo concert trombonists ("the Jascha Heifetz of the trombone" Le Monde de la Musique, Paris called him); as a composer and arranger; as a conductor; and as a 11111Sic educator. BY DAVID PERLMAN toire de musique du Quebec a Montreal. The year after, Alain became a founding member of the Nouvel Ensemble Modeme in Montreal, and 5 years after that was globe-trotting as a world-renowned concert trombonist. In 1997, age 31 he succeeded his own teacher, Joseph Zuskin, as full professor of trombone (and sackbut) at the Conservatoire. New music audiences in Toronto probably know Trudel best, from appearances here as trombonist, with Esprit Orchestra, Soundstreams, Han­ Starting out, he'd have preferred naford Silver Band and others. He'll drums (his dad was a jazz drum- be back with Hannaford next April mer) or the trumpet. But drums were 10, for the first time conducting rathtaken and the trumpets were all spo- er than soloing. And the Women's ken for. Valve trombone was what Musical Club of Toronto have given was left. So valve trombone it was, him "carte blanche" to put together and Alain Trudel, age thirteen, was an ensemble for a concert for their a member of a local Montreal brass 2005-6 season "with local musicians band with a repertoire "from military, to BeeGees and Grease, things like that." But it was making music. And for Alain Trudel, in 1979 as now, that was enough. At fifteen, in 1981, he enrolled at Ecole secondaire Joseph­ Franfois-Perrault in Montreal. In April 1996, the school paid homage to its former student by renaming its hall the Alain Trudel Concert Hall. He speaks of his teachers there (the name Raymond Grignet is the only one legible in my hastily scrawled notes) with the same affection and respect that you hear in the voices of students and musicians who have worked with Trudel. "It was there I went from valve to slide trombone" he says. "And because trombone was used so little, orchestrally, I was also given the chance to conduct." And to learn elements of arranging, harmony, and composition. "It was a fantastic programme" he says "and still is." He was already playing professionally, in big bands, salsa bands, and Bavarian Music groups. At eighteen he made his solo trombone Montreal Symphony debut under Charles Dutoit. At 19, Franz Paul Decker invited him to be the principal trombone of the Orquestra de Ciutat Barcelona (National Symphony of Catalonia), the same year as he had graduated from the Conserva- I work with . . . it will be a musical journey, an interesting one" he says. As last year, he'll do a week of school shows with the TSO. And he'll work as a guest conductor with the Glenn Gould School Orchestra, at the Faculty of Music, and with other orchestras in the region. Most significantly for us, he has been appointed, from 50 applicants for the job, as the new conductor of the 90-member Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra. The appointment was applauded by the musicians themselves - the story goes that on the evaluation form some of them pencilled in an extra box, beyond excellent, to express how they felt. He'll conduct three programs: Dec 9, Feb 26 and May 1. I saw him perform last in a Soundstrearns Encounters concert, taking on technically devilish work by Anders Hillborg and Paul Steenhuisen with an alacrity and enjoyment that was completely contagious. The Hillborg work had been written for Christian Lindberg, a trombonist with whom Trudel is compared, and with whom Trudel has frequently rubbed shoulders at gatherings of the ITF, the International Trombone Festival. I raised the comparison, mentioning the 2003 ITF (both were there) where Lindberg, in the context of describing one of his own works, "The Helikon Wasp," referred to himself as a "conducting trombonist." www.THEWHOLENOTE.COM JULY 1 - SEPT 7 2004

But Trudel is adamantly dismissive of any such "hyphenating suggestions" in regard to his own work. "I am not a cross-over trombonist when I conduct" he says. "I'm not a cross-over classical musician when I play jazz. And when I teach, that is what I am - a teacher. Each endeavour is unique. For each of them you have to prepare, to 'pay your dues', as they say. That idea of paying your dues does not get mentioned enough these days, I think." He was also, if not dismissive, less than ardent about gatherings built around worship of the "Voice of God", as one documentary film (about him) calls his instrument. "I'm not a trombone fanatic per se" he says. "It's good to rub shoulders with colleagues and so forth. But even more I like to make music. I am a musical generalist in the ancient way of music. I am not at ease with people who put you on a pedestal. I like to be as prepared as I can, and then to throw myself in with people who know more than me. You need to be pretty secure, then let stuff influence you. That way, I remember every second I have ever had of making music." "Preparation is the biggest thing" he says. "Youhavetobeready. It's the same for everything. Soloing with an orchestra, for example, you learn td understand that the orchestra comes in waves. You learn to recognize the waves and, like surfing, to place your note right on top of the wave. You are ready, you are there or it's over. You can't fight the wave or hold it back." That approach is one of the two things that attracted him most strongly to the TSYO post, he says - the quality of the sectional coaching (~l by TSO members) that the organization commits to the endeavour. "So when I come in the preparation is done ... and the chance exists to really go somewhere with the music." The other thing that drew him is the quality of openness that skilled young musicians can bring. "There is not the same judgmentalism. No matter when it was written, so much of it is new to them. They are willing to find what it has to say." That this is his own philosophy comes through strikingly when he talks about the repertoire for the May 2005 TSYO concert, Haydn's lOOth "Military" Symphony and Shostakovich's 10th. I'd expected his en- JULY 1 - SEPT 7 2004 thusiasm for the Shostakovich, with its dissonance and thematic restlessness, chromatic flow. But it was Haydn that he wanted to talk about. "If I had my very own orchestra, it is Haydn I would program as a cycle over several years. He is completely under-rated." Students at Camp Laurentide where Trudel has taught brass for the past 19 years ("That's half my life!") won't have to wait till the fall. Nor will the students at IMC in August. Or audiences at Festival of the Sound, and the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival. At FOS he will slide easily from performing Hatzis, Randy Smith and Lutoslawski (with James Campbell and Joseph Petric), to Strayhorn and Ellington with Gene DiNovi, and Glenn Miller with Bobby Herriot. And he and Bellows & Brass partners Guy Few and Joseph Petric will also mount The Peifect Cake, a light-hearted opera of their own devising for instrumentalists, narrator and sock puppets, featuring a villainous weight-watching doctor. 'The Bellows and Brass thing with Guy and Joseph is what I meant about putting yourself out there. I mean here are two guys as crazy as me. We all have solo careers, but we agree to make time to do this together." Few and Petric will also be his collaborators in a Linda Bouchard full-length multimedia staged work, for 2005-06. At Ottawa Trudel will perform with organist Patrick Wedd, and also with Kiosque, another quintessentially Trudelian project. "I call Kiosque our boys band" he says. "It started in a funny way. At the Conservatoire I was also coach of chamber winds - Strauss, Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale. This one year I had fantastic students, we basically said one day we are going to work together, but what is there to do?" What to do came out of looking at musical life in Quebec's mining towns where at the turn of the century "mechanics" had their bands. "We found the bands still there, and repertoire that had been handed down. An amazing continuity of a hundred years, overtures, the operas, all this Canadian music. Lavallee, Charles O'Neill. Kiosque recreates that music." As always, with Trudel, one thing leads to another. 1 Like riding those waves. GREAT CLASSICAL MUSIC IN A PERFECT SMALL CONCERT HALI, DOWNTOWN QUARTETS Oct. 7 Oct. 21 Nov. 4 Dec. 2 Jan. 27 Feb 10 Mar. 10 Apr. 14 PIANO Oct. 26 Nov. 16 Jan. 18 Mar. 15 April 5 3, 5 Emerson Quartet Borealis Quartet St. Lawrence Quartet Arditti Quartet Debussy Quartet Schubert Ensemble Quartetto di Venezia Tokyo Quartet 0, 0 Andras Schiff Anton Kuerti Heather Schmidt Arthur Ozolins Pascal Roge ENSEMBLES 9, 5 Nov. 12 or 13 Gryphon Trio - Nov. 23 Feb. 1 Mar. 1 DISCOVERY Jan. 13 Feb. 24 Mar. 31 CONSTANTINOPLE Music TORONTO Chamber Society Gryphon Trio Music TORONTO Chamber Society Frederique Vezina, soprano Aviv Quartet Denise Djokic, cellist, with David Jalbert, pianist CONTEMPORARY CLASSICS , Nov. 12 or 13 Gryphon Trio Dec. 2 Jan. 18 Mar. 31 - CONSTANTINOPLE Arditti Quartet Heather Schmidt Denise Djokic, cellist, with David Jalbert, pianist Subscription combos and series from for Discovery to 1 for the whole season! ~I ~N~O ;·:,~L< ToRO°K _._, www.muslc-toronto.com ~ - ···==.. ~~L~~~:~z;ntre for the Arts 416-366-7723 • 1-800-708-6754 order online at www.stlc.com • WWW. 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