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

Hillary Simms joins the ABQ, Juilliard faculty

Hillary Simms was recently appointed to be the new trombonist of the American Brass Quintet (ABQ). The distinguished chamber ensemble has been an “Ensemble-in-Residence” at The Juilliard School since 1987. As part of the residency, Simms is the first woman to ever joined the trombone faculty of the prestigious institution, and she is also the first female member of the ABQ. These barrier breaking accomplishments even gained the attention of the New York Times, which featured her in an informative article. As a Julliard factulty member, she will mainly teach chamber music, with some administrative tasks as well.

Simms is from Torbay, at the east part of Newfoundland. Her education includes a Bachelor of Music from McGill University, a Masters in Music Performance from Yale University and an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School, Royal Conservatory of Music. She is currently enrolled at the artistic DMA program at Northwestern University under the guidance of Michael Mulcahy.

Hillary Simms is a complete classical trombonists with a stellar career both as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. She even has professional experience with various jazz groups. In her interview with the New York Times, Simms highlights that professional trombone playing is still a male dominated field. She states that visible female idols are important to inspire more young girls to pursue careers as trombonists.

As a member of the American Brass Quintet, Simms joins an ensemble with history going all the way back to 1960. They have done over 60 recordings and premiered over 150 contemporary pieces by composers such as Jennifer Higdon, Eric Ewasen, Gunther Schüller and Elliott Carter. Simms is filling the position previously held by trombonist Michael Powell, who was the group’s longest serving member (1983-2023).

Eyvind Sommerfelt
ITA Online News Coordinator

Isobel Daws wins Luxenbourg principal job

After a competitive recent audition, British trombonist Isobel Daws won the principal trombone position of the Luxenbourg Philharmonic Orchestra.

Daws is currently a member of the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra, a program which has been a springboard for a who’s-who of the recent generation of trombonists. She has already released her first solo CD, as well being a member of the renowned trombone quartet “Bone-afide“, which has already released the CDs Burkdown and Christmas with Bone-afide. Daws has appeared soloist durig brass festivals and events in venues such as Birmingham Symphony Hall and Wigmore Hall.

Isobel started her musical at the ‘Purcell School of Music’ and then went to ‘Chetham’s School of Music’ and the ‘Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama’. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2022, having studied with Matt Gee, Peter Moore and Ian Bousfield. She created a buzz in the UK after being offered a trial for the principal position of the London Symphony orchestra during her first year at the Royal Academy of Music, at the age of 19. Since then, she has also performed with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Philharmonia, Berlin Staatskapelle and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Eyvind Sommefelt
Online news co-ordinator

New trombone releases, March/April 23

After some consideration, we hope this is the format for a monthly or bi-monthly news post with short presentations of the new trombone music releases!

Every artist has made an immense effort to make these projects a reality! Take this chance to support them, and get to know new music featuring the trombone!

If you know about a release or you have made one yourself you want us to listen to and write about, please don’t hesitate to send us an email!

Enzo Turriziani: Roots

Classical album
The Italian princiapal trombonist of the Vienna Philharmonic makes his debut recording as a soloist! He choice was to present his take on the wind band versions of the Bourgeois and Korsakoff concertos, alongside some exciting lesser known pieces. The album was recorded in Rome with the Italian Army Wind Band, conducted by Maestro Filippo Cangiamila.
What to expect: a polished and virituoso trombonist with an effortless high register.

Esteban Batallan and Alberto Urretxo: Finesterra!

Classical concert video
Spanish trombonist and composer Richardo Mollá Albeto has seen his works performed by the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic, and he has written for artists such as Joseph Alessi and Jörgen van Rijen. The video recording of his double concerto “Finsterra!” for trumpet, trombone and orchestra was recently released on YouTube. The ambitious work was premiered in 2022 by the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra with Esteban Batallan on trumpet and Alberto Urretxo on trombone as soloists.
What to expect: A brilliant new double concerto which is easy to enjoy.

Hailey BrinnelBeautiful Tomorrow

Jazz album
Brinnel is a trombonist, vocalist, and educator based in Philadelphia, and this is following up I’m Forever Blowin Bubbles from 2021. She is more featured as a vocalist than a trombonist on this album, but don’t let that turn you away, as she is a great jazz singer in her own right! Her trombone playing is heard both in solos and ensemble parts.

What to expect:
Charming and well crafted jazz inspired by the music from the 20s through 40s.

Karin Hammar: Opening

Jazz album
This 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. This is a collaboration the Italian jazz pianist Rita Marcotulli. Niklas Fernqvist – bass, Fredrik Rundqvist – drums and Andreas Hourdakis – guitar finish the lineup.
What to expect: Melodic, expressive modern jazz rooted in Northern Europe.

Nick Finzer: Dreams Visions Illusions

Jazz album
In 2020, New York City based jazz trombonist Nick Finzer received a grant from New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America, which made this album possible. Finzer is an active and productive artist, who is also assistant professor of jazz trombone at the University of North Texas. This album exclusively features compositions by Finzer himself, performed alongside a jazz sextet with Lucas Pino – tenor saxophone, Alex Wintz – guitar, Glenn Zaleski – piano, Dave Baron – bass, and Jimmy Macbride – drums.
What to expect: A modern jazz trombonist with wide range of virituosity and expression.

Mihał Tomaszczyk: Zadora

Jazz album
Tomaszczyk is the lead trombonist of the Norrbotten Big Band in the north of Sweden. This album, however, is recorded in his native Poland. Tomaszczyk has produced and written or co-written all the tracks on this album, where he plays both trombone, flugabone and valve trombone. Aga Derlak – piano, Sebastian Kuchczyński – drums, Michał Jaros – double bass, Robert Majewski – flugelhorn and Przemysław Florczak – soprano & tenor saxophones
What to expect: Modern but relaxed jazz featuring excellent musicians from Poland.

Stay tuned for more exciting releases next month!

Eyvind Sommerfelt
Online news co-ordinator

Gonçalo Nova wins the Prague Spring Competition

Another major solo competition for young trombonists has recently concluded. Unlike the inaugural Michel Becquet competition, the “74th Prague Spring Competition” boasts a rich history dating all the way back to 1947. The categories rotate each year, and in 2023, the featured instruments were the trombone and viola. The last time since 2011 aspiring trombonists had the chance to enter was in 2011, when Nicolas Moutier was awarded a 2nd prize.

A young duo tops the event

Gonçalo Nova, a 19-year-old trombonist from Oporto, Portugal, emerged as the winner of the competition. Nova commenced his studies with Joaquim Oliveira at the Oporto Conservatory, where he graduated with the highest distinction. In 2021, he continued his studies at the Freibourg Univeristy of Music with prof. Fabrice Millicher. Nova is the principal trombonist of the orchestra of the Stuttgart State Opera, a position he won in April 2022


Securing the second prize was Juhyeon Seo, representing Seoul, South Korea. He an alumnus of the reknown Sunhwa Arts School. Seo’s talent has already been recognized in his home country through accomplishments like his victory in the T&B Music competition in 2018 and having two performances available on Amazon Music. He was granted a special scholarship for talented young artists sponsored by the Hyundai Motor Chung Mong-koo Foundation. At only 16 years old, Seo’s triumph in the trombone category of the Dong-Ha Music Competition in 2020 made him the competition’s youngest-ever winner. Presently, Seo is a first-year student at Seoul National University.

The third prize went to Tim Oewjan from the Netherlands. He is the principal trombonist of the Netherland’s Radio Orchestra, and was also a finalst in the Michel Becquet competition.

In addition to the 3 prize winners, the jury rewarded 2 Honourable Mentions to Botond Drahos from Hungary and Jarosƚaw Meisner from Poland.

A group of competitors from all over the world!

The competition started with 33 preselected trombonists representing an impressive array of countries: China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United States of America and Venezuela. 13 of them advanced to the 2nd round, and 3 of them passed all the way to the final.

The young trombonists who advanced to the second showing a great attitude towards the competition!

Did the jury choose the right winners and finalists? You can judge yourself or just enjoy some great trombone playing as the entire competition is available on YouTube!

-Eyvind Sommerfelt
Online news co-ordinator

Roberto de la Guia wins Michel Becquet Solo Competition!

Spanish trombonist Roberto de la Guia won the first prize of the Michel Becquet International Trombone Competition on the 16th of April!

De le Guia is now the principal trombonist of the Wupperthal Symphony orchestra in Germany. He comes from Minya in Spain, and started his studies at the Castilla-de-la-Mancha conservatory. After winning a scholarship at the Alicante brass festival, he continued his studies in Freiburg with prof. Fabrice Millicher. Later, he returned to Spain to play 2 years with the Spanish Military Band, before returning to Germany to join the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic. De la Guia won 3rd prize in the prestigeus ARD solo competition in 2022.

Academists come out on top

The 2nd prize of the competition went to Tim Ouewejan from the Netherlands. He studied at the Amsterdam Conservatory, and currently serves as the principal trombonist of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. Ouewjan was previosly an academinst with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Víctor Álvarez Alegría from Spain won the 3rd prize. He is currently an academist at the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philarmonic with Jesper Busk Sørensen as his main teacher.

As part of the program, the finalists played “Fragments” by Georges Sadeler. This concertino for

trombone and wind band was written especially for this competition!

Before the event, the jury pre-selected 62 trombonists to take part in the live first round. Following 2 the

first 2 days of competition, 13 advanced to the semi final.

In addition to being a competition, this event was also a brass festival! The chamber groups Octotrip, Trio Turbulence, Spanish Brass and Belgian Brass all played concerts.

The competition facebook page.
Web page

-Eyvind Sommerfelt
Online news coordinator

Audun Breen performs “Fonos” with the Oslo Philharmonic

Audun Breen, principal trombonist of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra (OFO) performed the concerto “Fonos” by Arne Nordheim with his orchestra this week. The OFO has a proud history as a top class ensemble, and got their international breakthrough with the recordings with Mariss Jansons in the 80s. The orchestra is also currently seeing great international success after the appointment of Klaus Mäkelä as their chief conductor, one of the brightest stars of the classical music world.

Breen has been the principal trombonist of the OFO since 2017, and previously held positions in the Gothenburg and Kristiansand Symphony Orchestras. He got his bachelor degree at the Norwegian Academy of Music under Aline Nistad and Prof. Ingemar Roos. After receiving a major scholarship from the Doubling foundation, he continued his studies at the Guildhall School of Music in London with Prof. Eric Crees, Prof. Simon Wills, Chris Houlding, John Kenny & Peter Gane. Breen has previously performed the Gunnar de Frumerie trombone concerto with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

Memories and the primal scream

“Fonos, 3 memorables for trombone and orchestra” is the full name of this concerto. “Memorables” refers to his use of material from previous works, notably “The Hunting of the Snark”, a popular piece for solo trombone, written to Per Brevig. He wants to evoke the feeling we might have heard the music before, without knowing when. Other composers, like Richard Strauss in “Ein Heldenleben”, also looked back at their own music at late stages of their career. Nordheim also talks about the “primal scream” in his music, using its power to get in touch with the deepest feelings of existential loneliness and desperation.

“The piece has room for nastiness. There is a lot of nastiness in there. And poetry. (Arne Nordheim)

About playing the concerto, Audun Breen says: “in Fonos, everything isn’t necessarily beautiful. I feel that is not the point either. At times, it is blasting, aggressively, but musically. (…) Sometimes, it feels like I have to go in with my life on the line to succeed. It has been a long time since I played something as technically demanding as “Fonos”. At the most challenging parts, I feel I just have to dive into it. It would not work playing it safe. I feel this supports the music, the humanness, which I think he wants to achieve with the scream.”

An inspiring back story

“Fonos” came to be mostly by the efforts of trombonist Marius Hesby, who premiered the concerto in 2005. Hesby is a trombonist in the Norwegian Marine Band, and was also very active as a soloist, specializing in performing demanding contemporary works. Arne Nordheim had already written a tri0logy of pieces featuring solo trombone, but Hesby had a dream of a trombone concerto by Nordheim as well. Nordheim was arguably the most prominent contemporary composer, and a household name, who had the honour of living in “Grotten“, a state sponsored artist’s home. Hesby encouraged to Christian Lindberg to place such a commission, but despite some enthusiasm, it was not to be. Then, Hesby’s teacher, Ingemar Roos, suggested to rather talk to Nordheim about writing for himself! Hesby did so, but the opportunity did not present itself right away.

That changed when the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned a major orchestra work by the ageing Nordheim. Hesby got rewarded for his efforts: the composer wanted to use this opportunity to write a trombone concerto! The composer had actually attempted to write a trombone concerto for Vinko Globokar decades earlier, but his progress halted. Some of the sketches were used in his accordion concerto “Spur”. This time, though, at the twilight of his career, Nordheim was determined to succeed.

A concerto pushing the limits

Hesby and Nordheim collaborated extensively, and some passages of the solo part are actually written by Hesby! The concerto is also tailored to Hesby’s strengths as a player; most notably, it features unusual use of the low pedal register. It descends all the way down to the Bb below pedal Bb! (Hesby’s trick is to lip it down from 2nd position, without trigger). The final note of the piece is a F#4, and the dynamic range and technical boundaries of the instrument are pushed to the extremes.

Hesby got to perform the concerto 3 times, and he recorded it with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Jukka-Pekka Sarastre.

Already at the premiere of the piece, Nordheim’s health was deteriorating. “Fonos” turned out to be his last major work. This is a concerto we are very lucky to have!

Unfortunately, Hesby now struggles with focal dystonia, and has not performed for several years. At least the concerto is now passed on to the next generation of players through Audun Breen!

Eyvind Sommerfelt
Online News Coordinator

Women’s day trombone news!

It is time to celebrate the international women’s day! Here are some news and other items featuring female trombonists and composers!

Recently, “The trombone channel” made a video about the shocking story about Abbie Conant and her fight for rights which should be for granted. Here is a disclaimer from Abbie herself, posted by the video creator:

“There is one factual error that I should correct. I didn’t lie about my gender in my 1980 application for the Munich Philharmonic. In fact, applicants back then were required to include a photo with their application. I was living in Italy at the time and had never been to Germany. I didn’t even know that women there could face problems in orchestras and thus had no reason to hide my gender. The reason my application got through is that the orchestra decided to invite everyone and hold the first round behind a screen. This was very rare in Germany in those days, but they were used for my audition because of special circumstances (in the section).
Many thanks to Jack for putting my story into a style that fits the younger generation. Unfortunately, it’s still relevant. Jack’s YouTube “Trombone Channel” is a real service to the community.”

Women have certainly achieved many great things for our instrument in recent years!

In 2019, principal trombonist Helen Vollam premiered Gavin Higgins’ trombone concerto “The Book of Miriacles” with the BBC Symphony orchestra. This substantial work is published on soundcloud by the composer.

On the 2nd of March this year, Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje (1973-) had her award winning and highly demanding trombone concerto “Considering Icarus” (2021) performed by trombonist Karoline Trondsen and the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. Trondsen is a student of the Norwegian Academy of Music. She recently won an audition as trombonist in the Staff Band of the Norwegian Armed Forces, Oslo.

In 2021, SWR Symphony Orchestra’s principal trombonist Mayumi Shimizu released her debut album “Voyage“. The next year, she followed up with her second album, “Fantasie“.

2022 was also a big year for other female trombonists! Bass trombonist of the Kiel Philharmonic Orchestra, Lisa Hochwimmer, released “Deep Hights“. Fellow bass trombonist Clare Farr, of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra “Loud Mouthed Beauty“, including a new work by Bente Leiknes Thorsen. Martha Eikemo Andersen joined Lisa and Clare on a very exclusive list of women in full time positions as orchestral bass trombonists. Martha won her position in the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. On top of that, Isobel Daws released her solo CD of her own name, and the all female “Muse Trombone Quartet” released the album “Song & Dance“.

Hailey Brinnel, Karin Hammar have announced new albums in the near future.

Eyvind Sommerfelt
Online News Coordinator.

Ramsay wins Berlin Philharmonic Principal Trombone Audition

The Berlin Philharmonic recently announced that Jonathon Ramsay won their audition for principal trombone. In 2022, he was appointed principal trombonist of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, and is also a fixed member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Ramsay will need to pass a probation period to receive tenture with the Berlin Philharmonic.

Jonathon (Jono) Ramsay was born in Sidney, Australia, and studied with Scott Kinmont at the Sidney Conservatory. At only 20 years old, he won the position of principal trombonist of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. While in Australia, he also performed regularly with the symphony orchestras in Sidney, Melbourne and Adelaide. In 2018, he moved to Berlin to attend the Karajan Academy and study with Olaf Ott.

In 2019, Ramsay won the first prize in the Citta di Porcia and Aeolus solo competitions, and in 2022, he was awarded 2nd prize in the ARD competition. As an active soloist, he has performed with Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, Göttinger Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

Jono learned the euphonium before picking up the trombone, and now passionately plays of both bass trumpet, bass trombone, sackbut and ophikleide.

It is notable that unlike many premier orchestral positions, this one was only advertised once before a winner was chosen. Ramsay will replace prof. Christhard Gössling, who will retire this summer after 39 years with the orchestra. Jono will join an all-star trombone section also featuring Olaf Ott, Jesper Busk Sørensen, Thomas Leyendecker and Stefan Schulz.

Eyvind Sommerfelt
Online News Coordinator.

February 15 ITA membership rate increase

On February 15,  ITA will raise the membership rates for the first time since 2009 in order to compensate for, and keep up with, the ever ongoing cost inflation. We intend to keep producing our various programs, like the quarterly ITA Journal, the ITA Awards, the ITA Solo and Ensemble Competitions, the International Trombone Festival, International Trombone Week, the monthly Newsletter and much more, and hope for  your support to keep doing it!
Take the chance to lock your membership rate for the coming years by renewing your membership before February 15!