/ Haus Marteau Brass Workshop in Germany

ITG Journal, Oktober 2004

Haus Marteau Brass Workshop in Germany

Haus Marteau in Lichtenberg, Germany has a long-standing tradition of nurturing chamber music. Each year the chateau hosts a week of brass chamber music, and in recent years this workshop has been hosted by the Rekkenze Brass, a professional quintet, based in nearby Hof. The 2004 event took place June 21-26 and included the Brandt Brass – a ten-member brass ensemble from Saratov, Russia coordinated by Oleg Abramov; the Kansas State University Student Brass Quintet coached by Gary Mortenson; a German brass ensemble comprised of enthusiastic amateurs and students; and featured guest soloist Arkady Shilkloper on horn. 

Each day started early for the participants with rehearsals coached, on a rotating basis, by members of the Rekkenze Brass (Peter Knudsvig and Benjamin Sebald-trumpets, Debra Luttrell-horn, René Jampen-trombone, and Rainer Streit-tuba). After those busy mornings, all of the participants congregated in the basement of Haus Marteau for lunch that was provided by the workshop. During the afternoons there were master classes that included such topics as breathing, repertoire, tone production, instrument design, interpretation and creativity, and performance preparation. Discussion among the participants was lively as interpreters sought to translate what was said into German, Russian, and English! The last musical event of the day was a combined large brass ensemble, directed by Peter Knudsvig, rehearsing many of his arrangements for the final concert later in the week. 

Throughout the week several concerts were presented in Bad Steben, a resort village, about five kilometers from Lichtenberg. All of the events of the week led up to the Abschlusskonzert at the Großer Kurhaussaal in Bad Steben at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 26th. During this two-hour concert, each participating ensemble presented a twenty-minute program. The Rekkenze Brass portion of the program included several solos featuring the phenomenal talents of Arkady Shilkloper who amazed the audience at various points in the evening with his artistry on horn, flugelhorn, and even alphorn! Shilkloper, a native of Russia who now lives in Germany, is the one of the world’s foremost jazz hornists, but on this night he displayed great versatility by playing in a number of different styles and genres. The evening also featured several premieres of compositions written especially for the participating ensembles’ appearance at the workshop. The Brandt Brass premiered a work by Russian born Boris Pigovat titled Dedicated to M. Shagal, an emotionally charged work based on the traditional melody Hava Nagila. The KSU quintet commissioned and premiered The Virtual Alchemist by Finnish composer Jukka Viitasaari. 

The opportunities for high-level instruction and performing were outstanding, but one of the most memorable aspects of the Haus Marteau experience was the social interaction that took place during meals and at the end of the day. On the KSU student quintet’s first evening in Germany, Peter Knudsvig and Debra Luttrell hosted a dinner attended by Arkady Shilkloper. The food, conversation, and warmth of the evening made a lasting impression that was greatly appreciated by the jet-lagged travelers from Kansas! Later in the week all of the participants shared a traditional German dinner at the chateau. After the food and refreshments had been consumed, everyone had to tell a story or a joke and these monologues had to be translated so that everyone could understand. (As one can imagine this was one lively evening featuring a wide variety of responses that got more and more “interesting” as the night wore on!) 
Trumpet participants in the Haus Marteau Brass Workshop included: Peter Knudsvig and Benjamin Sebald (Rekkenze Brass); Aljoscha Zierow, Markus Fuchs, and Urike Löffler (Germany); David Montgomery, Kari Brooks, and Gary Mortenson (Kansas State University, USA); Nikolay Khudoshin, Sergey Maklov, Alexander Danilenko, and Vitaly Ivanychev. (Brandt Brass, Russia). 

Source: Gary Mortenson 


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