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ITF 2015 recap
As with all good ideas that turn into great realities, a seed is planted and allowed to grow. The idea then bounces from one person to another person and eventually a dream becomes an accomplishment. This was the road taken to ITF2015 in Valencia, Spain. We put their heads together and the rest, as they say, is history.
It was important for me that the main concerts took place in different and representative places of Valencia. The “headquarters” of the festival had to be the most important music institution in Valencia and from the start I thought about the Conservatorio Superior de Música “Joaquín Rodrigo”, a building with the best conditions to hold the festival: huge space and good facilities.
During the four days of the festival, there were 43 concerts that took place at the Conservatorio, the Palau de la Música, Palau de les Arts, Claustro del Centro del Carme and the Auditorium of Colegio Salesianos. In addition, there were 22 workshops and warmups, 69 participating soloists and teachers, and 33 groups and trombone choirs from around the world (there were five choirs representing different Spanish regions).
The Conservatorio and the Teatro Colegio Salesianos also held the ITA competitions: Gilberto Gagliardi, Robert Marsteller, Frank Smith, ITA Alto, Larry Wiehe, George Roberts, Donald Yaxley, Lewis Van Haney, Edward Kleinhammer, ITA Quartet Competition, Emory Remington Trombone Choir Winner Concert, Kai Winding Jazz Trombone Ensemble Winner Concert, Carl Fontana and JJ Johnson. In addition, Junior ITF was really well represented.
There was a special morning schedule for Jr. ITF in which many of the ITF artists also participated and Jr. ITF participants could join the general schedule in the afternoons. Jr. ITF participants also played at the ITF ensemble concert. I would like to highlight some of the ITF concerts that were really special for me – firstly when I was thinking about them and secondly when I attended them (probably the unique concerts I could listen to).
The opening concert was held at the best auditorium in Valencia, the Palau de la Música; sited in the Turia river gardens, it has a perfect acoustic and seats 1800. For this concert, the performers were the Ramon Cardo Big Band and four great soloists: Carlos Martín, Toni Belenguer (representing the Spanish jazz school), Robinson Khoury (who surprised the audience with his style and quality, and who introduced his quartet Uptake) – and all of them were led by one of the most important jazz soloist in the world – Wycliffe Gordon.
The Spanish school was represented by David Rejano and Raúl Garcia, and the International “section” was represented by Jacques Mauger and Scott Hartman. In this concert there were two premières by Antonio Moreno and Gregory Fritze that I’m sure will be included in the repertoire for trombone. The concert took place at the Palau the Les Arts, an auditorium with a great atmosphere. The third night was devoted to sackbut and ancient music in a concert with two spectacular parts. The first featured one of the most important representatives of the Spanish school, Simeón Galduf, accompanied by the artist Sara Águeda; and the second Les Sacqueboutiers de Toulouse, a sackbut quintet and drums. The concert finished with a sackbut octeto with Daniel Lassalle, Simeón Galduf and the collaboration of Alvaro Martínez and Elies Hernandis. It was a spectacular soirée in an incredible place, the gothic Cloister of the Centre del Carmen. Finally, I would like to remember the closing concert, again at the Palau de la Música of Valencia, with the Orquestra de Valencia accompanied by Ximo Vicedo and Alain Trudel (who played an impressive concerto by Jacques Hetú with impressive technical and musical quality). The concert finished with a new composition commissioned by Ricardo Mollá, griten specially for two trombone soloists and dedicated to Michel Becquet and Jörgen van Rijen. The concert was magnificently conducted by Gaspar Sanchis.
I think it is also important to remember other great concerts during the festival such as the Slokar Trombone Quartet, Spanish Brass with John Kenny, Jörgen van Rijen and Zoltan Kiss and New Trombone Collective, as well as great jazz trombone players such as Mark Nightingale and Bart van Lier.
During the festival there were more than 20 première performances of works for different formations including the solo trombone, trombones choir, etc. An important pillar of the festival was the exhibitions: many trombone and accessory brands came to Valencia to show their innovations.
Around 700 participants including artists, exhibitors, volunteers and registered people enjoyed a festival that was a watershed in my life. I would like to thank ITF and ITA for trusting me to organize the festival and I would also like to thank everyone who helped me: firstly Laura Gil, who organizes the Spanish Brass daily schedule; Carlos Gil and Rafa Polanco, who shared many hours with me before and during the festival; and of course all volunteers who made our work easier and fun. I would like to thank also my main sponsor and the brand I play: Antoine Courtois, who has been a travelling companion and an important support for the festival.
And finally, I would like to thank my family, my wife Carolina and my sons, Ainara, Ananda and Yael, who helped me to bear the hard work of organizing the 2015 Valencia International Trombone Festival.
International Trombone Festival (ITF) is the world’s largest annual trombone festival. The responsibility for the ITF lays with the International Trombone Festival, Inc., a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.