Awards 2020

The International Trombone Association has several awards it bestows each year. The individual awards are the ITA Award, presented every year to an individual who has greatly influenced the field of trombone, the Neill Humfeld Award, which recognizes outstanding trombone teaching in our profession while honoring the teaching excellence of the late Neill Humfeld, the Legacy Circle Award, for unparalleled accomplishments in the trombone community, the Lifetime Achievement Award, for contributions to the trombone profession over a long career.

The ITA has great pleasure in announcing winners for awards for 2020.

ITA Award: Megumi Kanda

Megumi Kanda, Principal Trombone of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, is a native of Tokyo, Japan. Megumi began to play the trombone at age ten and continued her studies at the prestigious Toho High School of Music, where she studied with Sumio Miwa, trombonist in the NHK Symphony Orchestra. At age fifteen, she became the youngest player ever to be named as one of the top ten trombonists at the Japanese Wind and Percussion Competition. Two years later, she won the Grand Prize in the National Competition for Solo Trombone and won best soloist prize upon graduation from the Toho High School of Music.
Megumi came to the United States in 1994, and received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with James DeSano, former principal trombone of the Cleveland Orchestra. Prior to joining the Milwaukee Symphony in 2002, she previously served as a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, faculty member of the Eastman School of Music Community Education Division, and principal trombonist of the Albany Symphony Orchestra.

Megumi has performed in recital and as a soloist across the United States, Europe and Asia, including with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the US Army Field and Pershing’s Own Bands, and the Prague Chamber Orchestra. As a JVC/Victor Entertainment artist, Megumi recorded three solo albums: Amazing Grace, Gloria, and Mona Lisa. She also can be heard on Magnifique Live, a live recording with other JVC artists recorded at an August 2005 performance at Takemitsu Hall in Tokyo’s Opera City. She is a regular guest artist at festivals such as the International Trombone Festival and the American Trombone Workshop, as well as at numerous colleges around the US and Japan.

In April 2006, Megumi was recognized by the Arion Foundation in Tokyo, Japan as one of the most influential Japanese classical artists. She has also received a Certificate of Commendation from the Consul General of Japan at Chicago in recognition for distinguished service contributing to the friendship between the United States and Japan. In 2017, Megumi was named by the Milwaukee Business Journal as one of Milwaukee’s Women of Influence in the category of education.

In her spare time, Megumi enjoys gardening, going to Milwaukee Brewers games, and taking walks with her husband Dietrich and sons Hans, Max, and Lukas.

The Neill Humfeld Award: Bart van Lier

Bart van Lier is principal trombonist with the Metropole Orchestra. Since 1968, he has been a member of various orchestras and ensembles, such as the Varadansorkest, the Tony Nolte TV Orchestra, The Slide Hampton 4 Trombone Group and the Ramblers.

He has been a member of the Metropole Orchestra since 1992. Additionally, he plays in Peter Herbolzheimer’s Rhythm and Combination and Brass and performs with jazz groups such as Bart’s Bones, Nueva Manteca, Trio Bart van Lier and the Bart van Lier Ilja Reyngoud Quintet.

In addition to his work as a performer, he has been a teacher for many years. He taught at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany, and at the conservatories of The Hague and Hilversum. Currently he is a guest teacher at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Also, he gives workshops at home and abroad.

As a soloist, Bart can be heard on the CDs Akili, First Brass, Bart’s Bones, Twilight, Memories of the Future and Live at the Tor. He is the author of the book Coordination Training Program for Trombone Playing, published in 1994, which has been translated into five languages. 1994 also saw the launch of the trombone model ‘Bart van Lier’, built by Kühnl & Hoyer.

The Lifetime Achievement Award: James (Jimmy) Pankow

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes people who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to the trombone profession over a long career.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri of German and Irish descent, Pankow moved with his family to Park Ridge, Illinois at the age of eight, where he started playing the trombone at St. Paul of the Cross Elementary School. One of nine siblings, Pankow was influenced by his musician father, Wayne. He is the older brother of veteran actor John Pankow, who appeared on the TV series “Mad About You.” His Notre Dame High School band instructor was Father George Wiskirchen, CSC.

Pankow earned a full music scholarship to Quincy College, where he studied the bass trombone. After completing his first year, he returned home for the summer and formed a band that began to play some live local shows. Not wanting to give up this work, Pankow transferred to DePaul University.

He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and was given the National Citation as well as recognition as Signature Sinfonian along with fellow Chicago members and Sinfonians on August 26, 2009.

At DePaul, Pankow met Walter Parazaider, who recruited him to join a band named The Big Thing, which would become Chicago Transit Authority. Soon after the first album’s release, the band’s name was shortened to Chicago. Pankow has remained a member of Chicago since its inception.

In addition to playing the trombone, Pankow has composed many songs for Chicago, including the hits “Make Me Smile” and “Colour My World” (both from his suite Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon), “Just You ‘N’ Me,” “(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long,” “Old Days,” “Alive Again,” and (with Peter Cetera) “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day.”

Pankow has also composed most of Chicago’s brass arrangements over the years.

Although Pankow is not one of the band’s principal vocalists, he sang lead vocals for two Chicago songs: “You Are On My Mind” (from Chicago X, 1976) and “Till the End of Time” (Chicago XI, 1977).

Along with fellow Chicago horns Lee Loughnane and Walter Parazaider, Pankow was featured on Three Dog Night’s 1969 #15 hit “Celebrate” and on several tracks of the 1979 Bee Gees’ Spirits Having Flown album. Pankow has appeared on several albums for the rock band Toto, including the 1982 Grammy Award winning Toto IV and their 2006 album Falling in Between, for which he composed the brass arrangements and performed on the song “Dying on My Feet”.

James Pankow and his wife Jeanne Pacelli have two children, Carter (born 1999) and Lilli (born 2002). His marriage to first wife Karen lasted 18 years and produced two children, Jonathan (born 1981) and Sarah (born 1986).

The Legacy Circle Award: Victor Sumerkin & Heinz Fadle

The Legacy Circle recognizes individuals who have made a profound and lasting impact on the evolution of trombone playing.

Victor Sumerkin was born on January 3, 1933, in the village of Volkovo, Tver Region, in a simple working-class family. In 1945, in post-war Leningrad, he saw Sun Valley Serenade, and the film determined his fate. He decided to become a trombonist like Glenn Miller. He began learning at the Leningrad Palace of Pioneers. In those days, many children wanted to learn to play brass instruments. Then he was enrolled to a music college, where he was taught by Gershkovich (Pyotr Volkov’s student) who gave the young man the basic skills. After graduating from college in 1952, he became a student of the Leningrad Conservatory in Korshunov’s class and graduated brilliantly in 1957. Then there was a postgraduate course supervised by Mikhail Buyanovsky (Vitaly Buyanovsky’s father), which he completed in 1963. Immediately after graduating from the Conservatory, he won several competitions: Leningrad competition, all-Union competition and international one in Moscow, where he had the second prize. Victor Sumerkin’s performing activity started with the Mariinsky Orchestra in 1957, and then, from 1959, for 30 years he played with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. As its musician, Viktor Sumerkin played all solos in various symphonic and opera works led by outstanding conductors of the time. In recognition of his performing skills, many Soviet and foreign composers dedicated their concerts and compositions to Victor Sumerkin, including A. Nesterov, V. Uspensky, O. Khromushin, O. Oblov, A. Kotienko, D. Uber. Victor Sumerkin successfully combined his performing work with teaching, having started in 1956 at a music college. His distinguishing features were his deep practical experience and his wide knowledge in the matters of methodology and pedagogics, the richness and diversity of the repertoire which he used to teach his students. His students participate in numerous concerts, seminars and competitions. The evidence of the great results of Victor Sumerkin’s work is that starting from 1963, his students become laureates and winners in many competition in which they participated in. Today, his students play in many leading orchestras in Russia and all over the world. Along with practical activities, Victor Sumerkin engaged in intense research and methodological work. He made a significant contribution to the development of pedagogics and methodology. He is the author of books A course of Trombone Playing, Trombone, as well as a large number of articles, which appeared in Russian and foreign publishing houses.

For his pedagogical achievements, Victor Sumerkin received a prestigious award from ITA (International Trombone Association) in 2003.

For his contribution to Russian music, Victor Sumerkin was awarded the honorary title of People’s artist of Russia. He was also awarded medals For Valorous Labour, Veteran of Labor, the Order of Honor and a Badge of Honor.Victor Sumerkin passed away on May 12, 2019.


Heinz Fadle was professor for trombone at the Hochschule for Musik Detmond. His publications include “Looking for the Natural Way (Piccolo-Verlag 1996), Musizieran (Verlag Die Blaue Eule 1999) and articles on instrumental techniques, teaching and learning. He was founder / President of IPV (Internationale Posaunenvereinigung) in Germany and served as President of the ITA.

His international invitations as teacher / lecturer led him to the USA, Russia, Kazachstan, Great Britain and Hungary. He hosted the 1st Posaunensymposium in Germany and the 21st ITA in Detmond.

Internationally, he served on competition juries such as Prague Spring, Prestiges des Cuivres, Toulon and Markneukirchen. For 22 years he was first chair of the Philharmonic Sates Orchestra Hamburg, member of the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and performed with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Radio Sifonie Hamburg, Munchner Staatsoper, Deutsches Sinfonieorchester Berlin. In 2000 he received the prestigious ITA Award and became contributor to the Oxford University Press Publication, “The Science and Psychology of Music Performance: Creative Strategies for Teaching and Learning by R. Parncutt and G.E. McPherson (Oxford University Press, New York ISBN: 0-19513810-4).

The Presidents’ Award 2020: Dr L. Brett Baker

Englishman Brett Baker is viewed internationally as a leading brass performer and educator. He is passionate about encouraging composers to write pioneering new repertoire and is one of the most recorded brass soloists having over 40 solo CDs to his name. Brett is General Manager of Geneva Group, an ambassador for Michael Rath Brass Instruments, Trombone Tutor at the University of Salford (Manchester) and Principal Trombone of the world-famous Black Dyke Band. He was Festival Director of both the Singapore and Thailand Low Brass Festivals from 2013-2017. He is a Past-President of the British Trombone Society (2010-2012) and increasingly works as a conductor and adjudicator in festivals and band competitions.

Originally from the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, Brett studied at Salford University, simultaneously joining the Fairey Band under Major Peter Parkes in 1992, where he achieved many concert and contest successes. He was taught by Robert Morgan, Lyndon Baglin, Steve Walkley, Christopher Houlding, Kevin Price and Denis Wick.

In 2000 Brett was invited by Professor Nicholas Childs to join the Black Dyke Band achieving enviable concert and contest successes with the most famous of brass bands. As well as a performance schedule of 60 concerts a year, Brett enjoys presenting workshops, specialising in solo performance and band training and adjudicating around the world. Brett has played as a soloist at the International Trombone Festival in the USA and Trombonanza in Argentina, the American Trombone Workshop in Virginia, the Great American Brass Band Festival in Kentucky, and the Singapore, Philippine and Thailand Low Brass Festivals.

Brett has commissioned many trombone solos including concertos with wind and brass band accompaniment including, Edward Gregson, Nigel Clarke, Rob Wiffin, Gavin Higgins, Oliver Waespi, Darrol Barry, Jan Van Der Roost, Duncan Stubbs, Kenneth Downie, Stephen Roberts, Ludovic Neurohr, Peter Graham, Paul Lovatt-Cooper, Dorothy Gates, Andrea Price, Lucy Pankhurst, Andrew Duncan, Philip Harper, Philip Sparke, Carl Vincent, Derek Bourgeois, Bill Broughton, Ralph Pearce, James McFadyen, Ray Steadmann-Allen, Marc Owen, Mike Fitzpatrick, Rodney Newton, Goff Richards, Robin Dewhurst, Ty Watson and Martin Ellerby, Barrie Forgie and Jonathan Bates.

Brett has been Chair of the ITA Awards Committee for 15 years..


Ken Hanlon Award winner: Dr Karl Hinterbichler

Karl Hinterbichler is recognized as one of the leading low brass pedagogues in the nation. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of North Texas. Additional studies were with Edward Kleinhammer retired bass trombonist of the Chicago Symphony, Dennis Smith, former principal trombonist of the Detroit Symphomy and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, at the Darmstadt Summer Institute for New Music in Germany and the Arnold Jacobs Masterclass at Northwestern University.

He has performed on tenor trombone, brass trombone, tenor tuba and bass trumpet with numerous professional organizations, including the National Repertoire Orchestra, Florida Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Santa Fe Opera, Flint Symphony and for fifteen seasons as Principal Trombone with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. He currently performs as Principal Trombone with Opera Southwest and with the New Mexico Brass Quintet.

Active as a writer and arranger, Dr. Hinterbichler has had numerous arrangements, articles and editions published both in the US and in Europe. He is also an assistant editor and regular columnist for the International Trombone Society Journal and has given lectures, lessons, and master classes in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Finland, Australia, Russia and the People’s Republic of China.

At UNM, Dr. Hinterbichler teaches graduate applied music, music history, and chamber music.

As a result of a grant by the Hewlett Packard Corporation, he was recently selected to team-teach an experimental course for undergraduates combining the disciplines of music, linguistics and writing. He has also served on the faculty for a National Endowment for the Humanities Seminar on Russian culture and the opera Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky.