Wednesday, April 25, 2012


For my Brass Literature course, I have to give a presentation on a successful professional brass group. Part of the assignment was to interview one of the members. For my presentation I chose the Washington Symphonic Brass. To me they are one of the best brass groups ever. I had the pleasure and privilege to interview trumpet player! Co-founder, manager, and arranger Phil Snedecor. I wanted to share the questions and answers from our interview. What I learned from Phil is exactly my vision of where I hope more musicians will want to aspire to be.   1.  What overall "sound" is the goal of the group? We want to have a world class symphonic brass sound but we are so much more then that. The sound we want to get, orchestral color, is not what the audience perceives as brass. Orchestral colors. 2.  When you think of "making music" what is the first thing that comes to mind? Bud Herseth said, how it goes. There is a technical aspect and then there is how it goes. I try to take the technical aspects away and just think about the music. In the end you want to transcend the instrument. Think what it is supposed to sound like before you play it. 3.  What kind of give and take do you think the ensemble employs on a daily basis? That's easy. We are going to have a rehearsal today and about 25% will be discussing what/ how we want to play it, how it sounds. The arrangement is very much alive as we discuss it. Marty will say how do you want these notes played, short or long, muted or not 4.  What pre-existing groups or players have inspired group members? What players or groups have inspired you? First part, milt and I started this in 93 because we both missed that kind of playing Millar brass ensembles and summit. Both inspired group at first. Later on, minogle brass smaller group then we are European, very creative and German brass really amazing also. We just try to keep... Most inspiration comes from the audience; I do not write an program for colleges or reviews, I write for the audience. We are not a performing group, we are a show. Programmatic things every time. Those four groups. Individuals Marty Hackleman, Chuck Casey, all the time, inspire me... Listen to Shosty because I wouldn't write it for anyone else on the planet. For Marty, pushed him to a new height and both grew from each other. Jenz Linderman, a lot of great trumpet players, inspired by Empire Brass a lot... Very inspirational. Not so much what you play as how you play it.. Never forget that you are in very good shape.. Need to make it come alive from the page. 5.  How has the group sound developed since you first began? When we first started played all music originally written for brass. First concert in 93 tomasi, etc. limited by our own rep. If we were a brass band we would have a fazillion things written for us, bu we are orchestral. What can we do tht has already been done to what has never been done. Sound has changed because we have expanded our color palette. 6.  What musical element does the group as a whole believe is the most important? Second important? Third? This is gonna sound strange but te group as a whole has come to me many times and said most important element is Phil's arrangements. Phil thinks most important are the individuals capabilities and characteristics. It all cones back to what tey can do to make it something more. Going to have a lot of complaints from group members cuz doing a Denver arrangement, this isn't WSB. Crank out arrangements based upon personalities. Stuff at Towson became. Different animal, music is alive because it was completely different experience,bathe exciting and want to do that. I think that is important especially in a college is to get excited about the repertoire. 7.  What ideas and projects are the group working on? Marty wants to record classic rock for brass, and also American brass. This week we are doing Broadway stuff, that's taken over my life for the past two weeks. Bass trombone says through horn puttin on the ritz. Come out of this recession alive an get more money for concerts and cont. to record. 8.  How do you hope to inspire future generations? By showing them that what has con before them isn't all there is. Take any instrumentation an ake something out of it that no one has ever thought of. All instrumentation and all sizes, play new, please audiences, be original.

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