Jesper Busk gives “Concerto Lirico” its premiere

Danish trombonist Jesper Busk Sørensen gave the premier performance of a brand new trombone concerto, “Concerto Lírico” by Bo Holten. The even took place in the spectacular “Musikkens Hus” in Aalborg, accompanied by the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Thomas Søndergaard.

The concerto was commisioned by the soloist with a special request: “write something lyrical, nothing avant-garde”. Busk’s motivation was that we already have many fine “avant-garde” trombone concertos, but he felt the repertoire

could use more trombone concertos featuring the more gentle and singing qualities of the instrument. Bo Holten is already well known for his choral works and arrangements of songs, as well as a choral conductor, and took on the task with enthusiasm. The composer says that writing for brass has a lot in common with writing for vocalists. However he appreciated that he did not have to worry about the trombone soloist being covered by the orchestra, and joked that the trombone soloist could be too dominant!

An unusual trombone concerto

All the 3 movements of the concerto are built around the opening statement, but the Danish folk song “Jeg kan se på dine Øjne” also snuck into the composition process. The composer explained that “the melody wanted to join in, and it did, probably more than it should”. The first line of the lyrics is translated to “I can see in your eyes, that you love somebody else”. Subsequently, the concerto ends in sadness, not triumph.

Jesper Busk Sørensen,

The soloist says the work is a stiff challenge, demanding both stamina and flexibility to rapidly change between dynamics and registers. He particularly embraced the chance to explore the extreme soft dynamics the composer calls for.

The concerto was called “a born classic” and “extraordinarily successful” in a review in the newspaper “Nordjyske”.

Jesper Busk Sørensen grew up in Grenaa close to the city of Aarhus, Denmark. He studied at the conservatory in Aarhus with Niels-Ole Bo Johannsen, Jesper Juul and Rolf Sandmark, and won a position in the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra in his early 20s. He continued his studies at the Northwestern University with Michael Mulcahy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Busk has held the position of 2nd trombonist of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra since 2009. He is also an active chamber musician in groups such as the Danish Trombone Quartet and the Berlin Philharmonic Brass Ensemble. Jesper Busk has been honorary professor of trombone at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music, Copenhagen since 2015.

Danish National Radio p2 broadcasted the concert live, and you can listen to it here. The concert also includes 2 orchestral pieces which should be well known among trombone players: “Four Sea Interludes” by Benjamin Britten and Tchaikowski’s 5th Symphony.

The trombone concerto starts at 31’50”:

-Eyvind Sommerfelt

Online News Co-ordinator

Karin Hammar nominated for best of ’23 award

Karin Hammar

Swedish jazz trombonist Karin Hammar has been nominated in the category “Jazz of the Year” of Manifest Gala 2024 for her latest album, Opening. The nominated albums were chosen by jury groups of over 150 people in total, all of whom have been active in the Swedish Music industry.

The Manifest Gala is organized by the organisation SOM, Independent Swedish Music Producers. The winner will be announced March 7 2024 in an event celebrating the Swedish Independent music scene. The annual reward in the Jazz category has been given out since 2006, but this is the first time an album featuring jazz trombone is nominated.

Opening was also picked out to be on Ján Graus’ list of “top 10 albums of 2023” by the editors of the Slovak website

The Stockholm based artist has a long and career behind her. Her initial fame came in the early 2000s with the group “Sliding Hammers“, with her sister. The group was a tribute to the legendary duo “Jay and Kai”, with Kai Winding and JJ Johnson. In Sweden, she is also known for being in the band of the TV-show Doobioo.

Opening is Hammar’s sixth solo album, following up Strings Attached from 2022. Her personal style as jazz trombonist is heavily featured on this album, which she also produced and composed all the music for.

The album was featured in this news article on the ITA website from 2023.

Eyvind Sommerfelt

ITA Online News Coordinator

Botond Drahos wins 33rd Porcia competition

The orchestra final of the 33rd International Competition City of Porcia, just concluded, with Hungarian trombonist Botond Drahos taking home the first prize. The second prize, audience award and youth jury award went to Tim Ouwejan from the Netherlands, and Roberto de la Guia Martinez from Spain was awarded the third prize.

The Porcia competition is considered one of the major brass competitions in Europe, for young musicians under the age of 30. It is a yearly eventtaking place in Porcia to the north east of Venice in northern Italy. The categories rotate between trumpet, tuba, french horn and trombone.

Porcia competition finalists

As is usually the case in internationaly trombone competition, the 3 prize winners had to perform 4 rounds of demanding repertoire, showing the mastery of a variety of musical styles. 47 candidates from all over the world participated in the first round. 11 of them advanced to the semifinal, 4 to the final with piano until only 3 remained in the final with orchestra. Botond Drahos and Roberto de la Guia Martinez chose to perform the trombone concerto by Launy Grøndahl, while Tim Ouwejan chose the trombone concerto by Nino Rota.

Botond Drahos was born in 2003 in Kapusvár, Hungary. Gábor Rozina was his first trombone teacher in his home town. From 2018, he studied at the High School level with Róbert Lugosi, Pál Makovecz and Márk Tóth. Drahos currently studying with Prof. Jonas Bylund in Hanover. He has taken part in youth programs of the Verbier Festival Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and is a member of the prestigious Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra. He has won several competitions in his home country, and earlier this year, he received a special mention at the major Prague Spring competition.

Tim Ouwejan is the principal trombonist of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, and has already been a finalist in multiple major trombone competitions.

Roberto de la Guia Martinez recently joined the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra as solo trombonist, after occupying the same position in Wuppertahl for one season. He recently went back to his previous employer to perform the Ferdinand David Concertino as soloist. The Spanish trombonist has also enjoyed previous competition success, most notably winning the Michel Becquet competition earlier this year.

If you are curious about how some of the most talented young trombonists of Europe are playing, the streams of the semi final and the final with piano are available on YouTube. The audio and video quality is unfortunately not the best, but the level of musicianship is unmistakable!

There have been several major competitions in Europe lately, but for young trombonists who are eager to challenge themselves, the next opportunity is right around the corner! Registrations for the trombone category of the 2024 Markenukirchen competion are now open!

Eyvind Sommerfelt

ITA Online News Coordinator

ITA Composition Contest

The official poster for the ITA Composition Contest for 2024 includes a black 8 surrounded by gold trombone bells.

Announcing the 2024 ITA Composition Contest!

We invite talented composers to showcase their trombone writing skills in this unique contest. Composers are invited to submit an original trombone octet of 5-7 minutes in length.
The winning composition will be announced in April 2024 during International Trombone Week (ITW). Its sheet music will be available to download from the ITA site at no cost for ensembles that wish to perform it during ITW 2024. Trombone ensembles are encouraged to record and share their performances of the winning composition in celebration of International Trombone Week 2024.

Will you join us and submit a composition?

Find out more >>

Lindberg gives the world premiere to Jan Sandström’s 3rd trombone concerto

Jan Sandström‘s 3rd trombone concerto, “Les accords d’Eze” was recently given its world premiere, with Christian Lindberg as the trombone soloist. The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra accompanied him under the baton of Barbara Hannigan, who also had duties as soprano soloist.

The Swede Jan Sandström (1954-) is one of very few composers who have written 3 major trombone concertos. His first one, The Motorbike Concerto from 1989 was incredibly succesful, and it has been performed over 700 times all over the world. His Trombone Concerto No. 2, Don Quixote was premiered in 1994. He has also written several shorter pieces for trombone, including scaled down versions and revisions of his 2 first concertos. Sång till Lotta from 1990 has been a world wide recital favourite for students and professional trombonists alike. It is recommended to also explore his lesser known pieces, such as A Christian Song and Bompibone BrassBitt.

Inspiration for Sandströms 3rd trombone concerto

Sandström’s 3rd trombone concerto is a tribute to the 37 year long close friendship between the composer and the trombone soloist. The subtitle Les accords d’Eze, refers to a mountain village north of Nice in France, which Sandström and Lindberg visited together in the early 1990s. It has 5 movements, and is a virtuosic but less extroverted concerto than his previous two.

Lindberg and Hannigan

The concerto received a standing ovation in the Gothenburg Concert hall on the premiere on the 4th of Octobre 2023. The piece was commissioned by the record company European Gramophone, which Christian Lindberg co-founded in 2019.

Eyvind Sommerfelt
ITA Online News Coordinator

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Announces Trombone Professor Search

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) has announced a search for a full-time Clinical Assistant/Associate/Full Professor of Trombone. The UIUC School of Music is seeking a dynamic, effective, and engaging artist-teacher with a record of high-level performances to teach undergraduate and graduate trombone students in all degree and diploma programs. This includes weekly lessons for each student, a weekly trombone studio class, and graduate-level trombone literature and pedagogy classes. Additional teaching responsibilities will be based on the secondary area(s) of expertise. Successful candidates will pursue an active recruiting program that includes building relationships with schools and private teachers statewide, other universities, and national/international organizations. The start date for this position is August 16, 2024. Information about the position and required qualifications for applicants may be found here:

The deadline for applications is November 8, 2023. Initial screening of applications will begin immediately, and interviews may be conducted prior to the close of the search. However, no hiring decision will be made until after the close of the search.

For more information about the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign School of Music, visit:

Louise Pollock new professor in Berlin

Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler, Berlin has announced that Louise Pollock will be their new trombone professor. She has held the position of principal trombone of the Gothenburg Opera from 2015 to 2023, and spent 3 seasons with the Stuttgart Philharmonic prior to that. Pollock has already built a stellar reputation as a college teacher, having taught at the University of Göteborg Academy of Music and Drama, a position she took over from Niell Humfeld award winner professor Ingemar Roos.

Trombone Section of the Gothenburg Opera
Gothenburg Opera low brass.

Louise Pollock grew up in Erlenbach in Switzerland, south east of Zürich. She started playing the trombone in a local youth wind band, and later joined the Swiss national youth wind band and the Zürich youth orchestra.

Pollock started her studies with Prof. Branimir Slokar at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, where she received her Bachelor degree with distinction. She continued to earn her master degree in Stuttgart with Prof. Henning Wiegräbe.

Louise Pollock introduced at new professor at Hans Eisler
Pollock accepting her professorship in Berlin.

She has won several prizes in solo competitions, like 1. Prize and Audience Prize at the International Aeolus Competition for Wind Instruments 2016 and the Stipendium des Deutschen Musikwettbewerbes. She has performed as a soloist with orchestras throughout Europe, such as Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, GöteborgsOperan or Duisburger Philharmoniker. She is a regular jury member at international competitions, and has been invited as artist and guest teacher at festivals in Poland, Norway, Switzerland, USA and Chile . She was a featured artist and performed a memorable recital at the ITF 2022 in Conway, Arkansas.

Pollock is also honored to serve on the Board of Advisors of the International Trombone Association, and has recently been appointed to be the chairwoman of the German Trombone Association.

Louise is a Conn Artist, and performs exclusively on a sterling silver/gold Conn 88H from the early 1950s.

Eyvind Sommerfelt
Online News Coordinator

Dr. Irvin L. Wagner passes away

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of the great Dr. Irvin L. Wagner (September 15, 2023).
Dr. Wagner was the long-time professor of trombone at the University of Oklahoma, Music Director and Conductor of the Oklahoma Community Orchestra, and mentor to so many. At the University of Oklahoma, he held two distinguished titles of David Ross Boyd and Regents Professor of Trombone. He was a trombonist in the Oklahoma City Philharmonic for 25 years and named “Oklahoma Musician of the Year” by the Governor in 1988.

Prior to joining the faculty at Oklahoma, Dr. Wagner taught at Louisiana State University and performed with the Baton Rouge Symphony. Notably, he is a past president of the International Trombone Association (1982-1984) and was heavily involved with championing and advocating for our instrument across the globe. He helped organize and establish national trombone chapters in many countries including Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Israel, Greece, and Great Britain.

His efforts around the world included public performances in over 30 countries, a TV special in China

viewed by over 600 million people, and a radio recital in India listened to by over 500 million people. These travels and performances led him to being called “the Most Listened to Trombonist in the World.” He held a Bachelor’s Degree from McPherson College in Kansas as well as masters and doctorate degrees from the Eastman School of Music where he studied with the great Emory Remington.

Thank you, Irv, for all you did for our instrument, our community, and the world.

The International Trombone Association

Polina Tarasenko wins Aeolus competition

22 year old Ukrainian trombonist Polina Tarasenko won the trombone category of the 2023 Aeolus Competition in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Tarasenko has a unique background as a trombonist, which is reflected in her very personal style and musicianship. She grew up in Kherson in eastern Ukraine, starting her musical musical career playing Dixieland jazz. Her youth group, under the guidance of Semen Ryvkin, frequently played in festivals and concerts in Ukraine and abroad. She also studied piano and music theory. After winning a competition, she enrolled in the Gnesin Russian Academy of Music in Moscow, studying trombone, trumpet, saxophone, piano, organ and composition.

Having several musical interests, her choice for higher level studies still fell on classical trombone. From 2019 to 2022, she studied at HMTMH Hanover with Jonas Bylund, and she is currently a master student of Ian Bousfield in Bern.

As a soloist, Polina Tarasenko is already a featured artist by the UR classics, and is starting a promising career, performing in major venues all over Europe. Tarasenko is also an active chamber musician, having founded the Anima Trombone Quartet with fellow students in Hanover.

3 other trombonists also received prizes at the competition: Elai Grisaru won 4th prize and Roberto de la Guía Martínez took home the 6th prize after the semi finals. Sophie Bright was awarded the special prize for the best interpretation of a contemporary piece.

Each year, 3 different instruments are featured, and the categories this time were trumpet, trombone and tuba. The prize pool is a total of €60.000, and the first prize alone was €20.000. The final was streamed live on YouTube, and you can watch her performance here.

The final results were as follows:
1st prize: James Vauguen (US), trumpet
2nd prize: Xianhua Liu (China), tuba
3rd prize: Polina Tarasenko (Ukraine), trombone

Audience Prize: James Vaughen.
Prize for best interpretation of a contemporary piece: Sophie Bright (UK).

Eyvind Sommerfelt
ITA Online News Coordinator.

Photos by Monika Lawrenz and Philippe Stier

Marie Nøkleby wins Bergen principal job

Norwegian trombonist Marie Nøkleby Hanssen just won the joint principal job of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.

Nøkleby Hanssen grew up in Asker, close to Oslo. She got her bachelor degree from University of Music, Drama and Media Hannover with Jonas Bylund as her main teacher. She finished her studies with the master soloist diploma at the Norwegian Academy of Music, under the guidance of Bylund and Sverre Riise.

As the daughter of trombonists, Nøkleby Hanssen attended her first ITA festival at only 3 years old. In

2018, she won the ITA Alto Trombone Competition, and in 2019, she was a finalist of the Robert Marsteller competition. In 2022, she was the only Scandinavian trombonist to reach the 2nd round of the ARD solo competition in Münich.

Nøkleby has been working as trombonist of the Staff Band of the Norwegian Armed Forces since 2019, and has enjoyed engagements with the major orchestras in Oslo, Gothenburg and Bergen. She is a fixed member of the all female tenThing Brass Ensemble, and is frequently appearing as a soloist accompanied by orchestras and bands.

Marie has a YouTube channel, and here she plays the recently discovered Ole Olsen trombone concerto in F major. It was recorded as part of her soloist diploma at the Norwegian Academy of Music in 2021.

Eyvind Sommerfelt
ITA Online News Coordinator