To stack Canada's first international trumpet conference with top talent, soloist Jens Lindemann struck some odd bargains
If anybody is missing a trumpeter, you might want to check Banff.
The Rocky Mountains are blaring this week as a huge cadre of brass superstars have flocked to Alberta's Banff Centre, thanks in part to a cigar, a bad Scottish accent and one man's impressive address book.
Host Jens Lindemann said this week's International Trumpet Guild Conference, based in Canada for the first time in its 33-year history, has been a landmark musical event for the country and has drawn attention to his instrument, which he says gets "no respect" despite a 3,500-year history stretching from ancient Egyptian bugles, through Bach's festive fanfares, to the jazz masters of the 20th century.
"There is no instrument that has ever been developed that is as diverse stylistically and, more importantly, has integrated itself into the psyche of society, as the trumpet. Period," he said.
Lending weight to his declaration is this week's lineup, which is close to unprecedented, and made possible only by decades of friendships he has forged with the globetrotters of brass music.
The six-day rendezvous started Sunday and ends today, and was more than two years in the making. It features master classes, symposiums even a late-night jazz club to end each day. But it's the performances, covering all different styles, that are most tantalizing.
Headlining the schedule was The Tonight Show's legendary band leader Doc Severinsen, coaxed out of retirement at the age of 82 to play one of the week's shows, as well as the principal trumpets from 11 of Canada's most prestigious orchestras taking to the stage together for the first time.
The roster also includes Lindemann, now a soloist and a former mainstay of the iconic Canadian Brass quintet, Guido Basso, a member of the Order of Canada, Mnozil Brass, a unique and elite Austrian septet, the Russian "Paganini of the Trumpet" Sergei Nakariakov, Norwegian superstar Ole Edvard Antonsen and renowned soloist Hakan Hardenberger.
Over all, more than 500 trumpeters from more than 30 countries are attending the conference to interact with the largest and perhaps most glamorous performing contingent in the event's history, not one of whom will receive a fee. That is, not a monetary fee.
To persuade Severinsen to appear, Lindemann chased him across the Western Hemisphere, tracking him down in Spokane, Wash., Boston, Naples, Fla., and at Severinsen's home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Eventually Severinsen relented and agreed to appear for the fee of "one fine Cuban cigar," which Lindemann promised to deliver in dramatic fashion. It may also have helped that, though he is American, Severinsen's family homestead was a small town about 40 kilometres south of Calgary.
"Jens, tell 'em the King of Okotoks is coming to Banff," he said to Lindemann.
Many of Lindemann's stories have the faintest whiff of myth about them, which adds to their charm, but his travels didn't end with Severinsen and there is no doubt he was dogged in his pursuit of artists who would otherwise have passed on the conference. He flew to a farm outside Kingston for a chat with Basso (who played at his wedding 10 years ago) and to New Jersey and Germany to talk the Mnozil Brass into crossing the Atlantic. Lindemann fancies the clincher in the latter negotiation was the group's admiration with his driving acumen at 200 kilometres an hour on the Autobahn.
Maurice Murphy, principal trumpet emeritus of the London Symphony and "cuban cigars" of the Star Wars scores, welcomed Lindemann in Florida. He was obviously tempted by the prospect of playing with Severinsen, but slow to commit. Lindemann plied him with a night of jokes delivered in a Scottish accent, and Murphy eventually agreed to come - if Lindemann promised never to do the accent again.
"It has been absolutely, overwhelmingly successful, and we should be very proud that this has happened in Canada," Lindemann said. "We've been huge ambassadors for the world this week."
Hakan Hardenberger and the Mnozil Brass perform tonight in the grand finale titled The World's Greatest Concert at the Banff Centre.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Source: Globe and Mail