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Miami University Trumpet Ensemble to perform at ITG conference
(February 18, 2013)
Oxford - The Miami University Trumpet Ensemble will be performing at the 2013 International Trumpet Guild (ITG) international conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan this coming June, it was announced today by the conference administration.
Selected by competitive audition, the ensemble will play as a prelude to one of the conference's major concerts.
"To say that we are elated at being chosen is rather an understatement," says James Olcott, MU's professor of trumpet and conductor of the ensemble, who will be retiring from Miami University directly following the conference. "What a great way to celebrate - and to go out," he says.
Miami to represent Ohio in Presidential Inaugural Parade
(December 26, 2012)
Oxford - We just heard that the Miami University Marching Band has been selected to represent Ohio in the Inaugural Parade for Barack Obama in Washiington D.C. on Monday, January 21. What a year the the MU trumpets!
The Presidential Inaugural Committee selected Miami among the first wave of participants. More than 2,800 organizations applied.
"We are honored and most proud of our marching band for receiving an invitation, and we gladly accept," said James Lentini, dean of Miami's School of Creative Arts. "It continues our amazing momentum from the Year of the Arts celebration that brought so many high-profile arts presentations to and from our Miami groups, including the marching band performance in the Macy's Parade, our recent Carnegie Hall performance, and now the Presidential Inauguration. It says a lot about the quality of our students and programs in music and the arts here at Miami, and grows our reputation as a top destination for studying the arts."
In the official release from the committee, President Barack Obama said, “The talented groups chosen to participate in the Inaugural Parade reflect the spirit, values, and diversity of our great nation. Vice President Biden and I are honored to have them join us in the parade.”
Organizations wishing to participate in the parade submitted online applications to the Joint Task Force – National Capital Region (JTF-NCR). The deadline for submissions was Nov. 30, 2012. Miami athletic band director Stephen Lytle and band members submitted the entry.
"I am extremely proud of our students as well as humbled by the opportunity," Lytle said. "I am very proud of the opportunities Miami is able to provide our students."
Miami will report more details when they are available. The official release from the Presidential Inaugural Committee is online.
March 23, 2013 named "JO Day" in the MU Dept of Music
(December 16, 2012)
Oxford - March 23, 2013 has been named "JO Day" in the Miami University Department of Music, it was announced on December 5 by chair Bruce Murray.
The day will be a celebration of the career of James Olcott, who will be retiring from teaching after a 45-year career, 35 of which have been spent at Miami University. "Jim has been a mainstay and a highly important figure in the department's history," says Dr. Murray, "and we look foward to letting JO know how much his work as a teacher, colleague, and performer has meant to Miami University, his profession, and the lives he has touched over the years."
"I'm rather stunned and feel very honored," commented JO upon hearing news of the announcement. "It is tremendously gratifying and humbling to realize that one's work has meaning and is appreciated by people whose lives one has touched. That is sort of the end-game, isn't it?"
The day, still in its infant stages of planning, will be organized by a committee of former students. Horn professor Greg Phillips, a close friend of JO's, is in the process of creating the planning committee, and suggests that anyone interested in being involved with the planning process, or would just like to add his/her name to the mailing list (most former MU trumpet students are already identified) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Avis and Ronald Romm do MU residency
(November 15, 2012)
Oxford - Trumpeter Ronald Romm (of Canadian Brass fame) and his pianist wife Avis Romm were guests on the Miami University campus for two days early this month, giving two masterclasses and a formal recital.
"It was an amazing experience," commented MU trumpet professor James Olcott, who invited the two to the campus for the event. "Both are amazing musicians whose thrust is communication through music. Their masterclasses and concert were perfect pictures of what music, played at a high artisic level, can relate and convey."
The first masterclass, held in Souers Recital Hall on Monday, November 5, featured the two artists coaching three soloists and two chamber ensembles. The thrust of the masterclass in general was "collaboration between the players, rather than soloist and accompaniment," said Mrs. Romm.
The second masterclass was held the next day in Presser Hall and featured the two speaking to the brass studios about professionalism and more about the art of collaboratiion. The hourlong session ended with the MU Trumpet Ensemble playing Olcott's arrangement for 12 trumpets of America the Beautiful. An informal discussion with the trumpet studio followed.
The residency finished that evening with a formal recital by the pair. All of the repertoire was specially written for them, and mostly by them except for one piece, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, arranged for trumpet and piano by Timofei Dokshitzer.
Click here for a complete set of pictures of the residency.
Carnegie Hall "an amazing experience" for MU musicians
(October 12, 2012)
Oxford - "It was amazing to be on that stage, with all its history," commented MU graduate trumpet major Tyler Graves, "and when you hear the sound in the hall, it sparks you to beyond the musical levels that you thought possible. It was a marvelous feeling."
Graves was echoing what so many other student musicians were saying about their highly lauded performance on Sunday, October 7, in the world famous venue.
Dubbed Miami Takes Manhattan, trumpeters performed in the Miami University Symphony Orchestra, the MU Wind Ensemble, and the Miami University Jazz Ensemble. The 2.5-hour concert, playing to a full house of well over 1500 patrons, also involved the university's Collegiate Chorale, Chamber Singers, and the Men's Glee Club.
A total of over four hundred Miamians, among them ten members of the trumpet studio, were involved with the performance.
Click here for the full story.
Olcott to retire in July of 2013
(October 5, 2012)
Oxford - MU trumpet professor James Olcott has announced plans to retire from teaching as of July 1 of next year.
Olcott will have completed 35 years as professor of trumpet at Miami. During that time he has taught over 275 students in his studio (click here for the complete list), created the highly successful Miami University Trumpet Ensemble (MUTE) program (for which he has amassed a library of well over 700 works), conducted for 25 years the university’s jazz ensemble program, performed throughout the state with both ensembles and nationally with MUTE, and created and run the department’s website for over 15 years, among many other activities.
“All I can say is ‘what a ride it has been,’” says the 68-year old professor, who has been teaching at the collegiate level for 45 years. “I don’t feel old at all,” he continues. “The rush of playing, organizing, teaching, and creating is an elixer for me. I consider myself totally lucky in my life’s work.”
And his life’s work has been considerable. Along with his teaching, begun at Fort Hays State College in Kansas in 1968, Olcott has played in both jazz and classical idioms throughout the US and Europe, written and published music for trumpet ensemble (he has his own firm, Triplo Press, for publishing), and been active for close to twenty years with the International Trumpet Guild (including serving as its president). He has received awards for his work from Miami University, the ITG, and the City of Oxford, Ohio. (click here for his complete biography).
Celebration already begun.
According to Olcott, he has already begun the celebration of his last year. “The OITG conference held here at Miami last March was sort of the send-off for my final year,” he says. “I brought in two of my favorite trumpeters as clinicians, commissioned a set of fanfares for premier at the event and publication afterwards, and, in general, had a great day of trumpet with 200 folks from around the region attending.”
Continuing his celebration, Olcott is sponsoring a clinic and performance by his friends Ronald and Avis Romm (of Canadian Brass fame) in November. He is also arranging for two days of rehearsals and performances by the Stan Kenton Alumni Band (Mike Vax, conducting) in April of next year, and sponsoring his entire studio to attend the international conference of the International Trumpet Guild being held in Grand Rapids, Michigan in June.
“I am so very proud of my studio, and taking them all to experience the ITG conference is sort of a final gift,” Olcott continues. "I am totally delighted to be able do this as my ‘parting shot,' as it is rather an ultimate, it seems to me.”
Plans for a national search for his replacement are underway, according to MU music department chair Bruce Murray.
Upon his retirement, Olcott and his wife, Vera, plan to relocate to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where both of his sons, Evan and Ryan – and three grandchildren - reside.
Trumpets and rest of department readies for Carnegie Hall
(September 9, 2012)
Oxford - Ten members of the MU Trumpet Studio will have the experience of a lifetime this coming month when they have the opportunity to perform as members of Miami University performance ensembles at New York's famed Carnegie Hall.
The Miami University Wind Ensemble, orchestra, jazz ensemble, and the school's premier choirs will perform a combined ticketed concert on Sunday, October 7, at 2 pm.
"To say that we are excited to perform in such a prestigious hall is a huge understatement," says wind ensemble member Kathleen George. "We are working extremely hard to insure that the standards one expects at such a venue are honored. It should be a masterful concert."
And the MU Trumpet Studio will be very well represented.
Click here for the complete story.
MU Marching Band Trumpets open Freshman Convocation
(August 17, 2012)
Oxford - The first and second trumpet sections of the Miami University Marching Band, 24-strong and in full regalia, were front and center on Friday, August 17 at the university's welcoming convocation for the 3700-strong class of 2016, performing the processional and recessional for the platform party and the Star Spangled Banner.
"It was really cool," says MU trumpet professor James Olcott, who conducted the ensemble. "The event was held in McCracken Quad, a large outdoor area, and the ensemble really filled up the space with their sound." The group had rehearsed the pieces (Processional
by Albert Zabel and the Banner, both arranged for trumpets by Olcott) only twice and sounded great, he said. "the gang added a great deal of majesty to the proceedings both aurally and visually.
The trumpets of Miami University are often used for special on-campus events, having played for several inaugurations, graduation ceremonies, and other like events.
Wynton Marsalis again on campus, spends time with studio
(April 24, 2012)
Oxford - Trumpet great Wynton Marsalis stopped by the trumpet studio for an over-an-hour chat with MU's trumpeters and guests on Tuesday, April 24.
On campus to give a speech that day on the arts in America, Wynton, who is a frend of JO's, spoke to the group about professionalism, his own growth, and the necessity of concentration and total dedication to understand and utilize the power of music.
Accompanying Wynton on the trip was Jono Gasparro, Special Projects Manager at Wynton Marsalis Enterprises in New York, and a former student under JO at Miami.
One of the highlights of the hour was an improptu duet featuring Wynton and JO on the tune Sweet Georgia Brown.
Click here for pictures of the event.
OITG2012 a huge success
(April 2, 2012
Oxford - The 2012 meeting of the Ohio Chapter of the International Trumpet Guild was helded on the MU campus on March 31. Click here for the complete story, including picture galleries.
Fanfare Project announced
(November 15, 2012)
Oxford - JO has announced the creation of the OITG Fanfare Project, a set of nine commissions to be premiered at the upcoming Ohio ITG conference to be held at Miami next March.
Nine nationally and internationally recognized composers are on board to each write a 90-second fanfare for six trumpets in commemoration of the 2012 meeting of Ohio Chapter of the International Trumpet Guild. The composers include Robert Bradshaw, Barry Ford, Michael Galib, Jack N. Kimmell, Erik Morales, Clint Needham, Greg Pascuzzi, David Shaffer, and James Stephenson.
The nine fanfares will receive their premieres at the OITG Meeting on March 31, 2012, each one played by a participating trumpet ensemble during its performance on the day’s Festival of Trumpets (FOT). The premieres of the fanfares will also mark the release of the fanfares in a two-volume set entitled Nine Celebratory Fanfares for Six Trumpets, published by Triplo Press.
Here's how it will work, according to JO: Each ensemble scheduled to perform on the Festival of Trumpets has received one of the new fanfares as selected by the OITG host to rehearse and prepare for its performance/premiere on the FOT.
One fanfare of the nine has been chosen by the host as the final piece on the concert, and will be played by all of the participating trumpet ensembles combined together. Each participating trumpet ensemble has received only one of the six parts (score not included) for rehearsal and preparation. The performance on the FOT, conducted by the host and without prior rehearsal, will be the first time anyone will have heard the piece in its original conception.
"Nothing like this, either in the conception or the presentation, has ever been done before, at least to my knowledge, which runs back pretty far," says JO, "and I am really excited to see what the composers come up with and to hear them all at OITG."
Trumpet section featured with Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony
(October 29, 2011)
Fairfield - Eight members of the MU trumpet studio were featured on Saturday, October 29, with the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra in its performance of the famous Verdi Requiem.
Performed at the New Life Vineyard Church in Hamilton, Ohio, the eight acted as the off-stage trumpeters for the requiem's Dies irae. "It was a great experience," commented graduate student Tyler Graves. "We were way up in the church's balcony and had to watch the conductor like made to stay in correct tempo. And, boy, what a great sound!"
The symphony's conductor, Paul Stanbery, was quick to laud the ensemble on its work. "Great sound, great intonation, and great feel," he said.
Wind Ensemble Trumpet section lauded in recent concert
(October 23, 2011)
Oxford - Composer John Mackey, on the MU campus to coach and be present at the fall concert by the Miami University Wind Ensemble, was highly complimentary of the trumpet section. "I know that my pieces are extremely demanding on the trumpets," he said to trumpet professor James Olcott after the concert, "and your guys came through with flying colors."
He also expressed that he was impressed with the group's work ethic and general attitude.
MUTE spruces up special events
(September 17, 2011)
Oxford - The Miami University Trumpet Ensemble (MUTE) has been featured twice so far this semester to herald important events, the first at the beginning of the school year for the academic procession of university adminstratioin personnel for a university-wide convocation and for opening a special concert at the Music Department's semi-annual Music at Miami Day.
"These festivities are really important," says director James Olcott, "and the majesty of the music heightens the effect of the occasion. It really creates a powerful moment."
Miami University owns eight Bach herald trumpets, secured for the ensemble in 1972 by the MU Alumni Association after alumni officials heard the group at a university gathering. The flags were made specifically for the instruments and for the university.
"We model ourselves with the Herald Trumpets of the US Army Band (Pershing's Own) in movement," continues Olcott, "and the professionalism in look and sound really pay off in the effect created."
The ensemble will be performing again on the Trumpet Ensemble concert planned for November 15 in Souers Recital Hall in the Center for the Performing Arts on the MU-Oxford campus.