Novus needs your help to record its second album, Whoever Has Ears, Let Them Hear. We’re doing our first crowdsourcing campaign on IndieGoGo which has a range of rewards depending on your contribution level.
The album is to be recorded by Jesse Lewis, Grammy award-winning producer (Roomful of Teeth and the Boston Symphony Orchestra) and will consist of some incredibly powerful music by Jeff Cortazzo, Eric Guinivan, John Orfe, Robert Pound and Hilary Purrington.
Eric Guinivan, wrote Incantations for Novus to perform at the 2014 International Trombone Festival in Rochester, NY. The piece is in three continuous movements and beautifully plays with rhythm and pitch. This excerpt includes the end of the first movement, the entirety of the second and the opening of the third.
It’s beyond words the honor that it was to perform on the concert. So much of what I know and strive to be comes from John Marcellus. For our portion of the event Novus performed two movements from John Orfe’s Parable of the Sower. The original parable talks about the things that keep the farmer’s seeds from growing to their full potential, John’s piece expresses those ideas in musical form. The group thought it fitting to perform a piece with such a direct relation to teaching.
Full program here (not printed: Novus interrupted the first piece with the Eastman Choir/Christmas Sing standard the “Trink Canon.”):
While I didn’t get many photos from the event itself I did manage (with friend, Mike Ketner’s, help) to get some images from the rehearsal before the performance.
Mark Lusk conducting the choir. Kim Scharnberg, composer, in background.
Students with John Fedchock
Jeannie Little conducting the choir
Students with John Fedchock
Students with John Fedchock
Mike Clayville with students
Ron Barron playing with Mark Lusk conducting
Mark Lusk rehearsing “The Chief” with Jeannie Little conducting
Novus dressed in costumes John Marcellus has worn for performances (except the kilt and tam). L to R: Dave Murray, Michael Selover, Michael Clayville, Dana Landis
From the program at the event:
Trombonist, conductor, and pedagogue Dr. John Marcellus was appointed Professor and Director of the Eastman Trombone Choir in 1978 after a worldwide search for an heir to the legacy of Eastman’s legendary Professor of the Trombone, Emory Remington (1922-1972), the “Chief.” “Doc” Marcellus is internationally known as a soloist for his performances and recordings as Principal Trombone of the National Symphony Orchestra and as soloist with the United States Navy Band. He is a respected brass pedagogue and international recording artist with a stunning record of former students successfully winning major symphony orchestra auditions and appointments to some of the most prestigious music faculties in the world.
Dr. Marcellus is currently a member of the Eastman Brass, Principal Trombone of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Brighton (NY) Symphony Orchestra, and a performing artist for Courtois Trombones of the Buffet Crampon Company. He is a former member of many fine ensembles, including the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Ballet Orchestra, the American Ballet Orchestra, the Boston Pops Orchestra, the National Symphony Brass Quintet, the Washington Theatre Chamber Players, and the Contemporary Music Forum of Washington. Dr. Marcellus has appeared as guest conductor at Interlochen Center for the Arts (1982); Penfield Symphony; US Naval Academy Band; and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra (1995, 2005).
Novus’s participation in the event was made possible with generous support by Sheridan Brass:
On Saturday, June 7, Novus will perform at the 2014 International Trombone Festival in Rochester, NY. Their program will consist entirely of works for four trombones written for Novus by American composers. The program will include:
On March 19, NOVUS will return to the Eastern Trombone Workshop in Ft. Myer, Virginia for its third performance at the festival. NOVUS will premiere two new works, Opus Esoterica by Jeff Cortazzo, US Army Blues/Capitol Bones/Washington Trombone Ensemble bass trombonist; and Events and Their Horizons by Hilary Purrington, graduate student at the Juilliard School and graduate of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.
Jeff’s piece creatively intertwines musical cells familiar to most every trombonist:
Remington exercises in harmony
It’s an exciting piece that will have you amazed by how naturally he blended these exercises together. And fun for the group to put together, we feel like we’ve been practicing the piece for most of our lives!
Hilary’s piece is a longer affair, with unison notes passed through the group that, sometimes subtly and sometimes not, shift to dissonant harmony then back again. It’s an exercise in blend and uniformity, of pitch, articulation, release… all the fundamentals of ensemble playing.
Novus is extremely proud to announce a partnership with S. E. Shires Co. As Shires Artists the members of Novus will use Shires Instruments in their quartet performances.
Mike Selover and Dana Landis made a trip to the Shires Factory in Hopedale, MA last weekend. Both are looking to purchase new instruments: Dana, a Shires “Chicago” tenor, and Mike, a custom tenor. This wasn’t Novus’s first trip to Hopedale, Mike Clayville and Dana Landis have been playing Shires horns since 1999. The whole quartet took a trip to the factory in 2010. Here are some pictures from last weekend and 2010:
Novus had the great pleasure of being in residence at Dickinson College last month. It was a week of incredibly productive collaborations and interactions with students and faculty. We talked to the choir about blend and balance, performed and gave feedback on student compositions, collaborated with the Department of Theater and Dance on two pieces, worked with the brass students and much, much more.
Flight of the Four Kings
In Flight of the Four Kings, the trombone quartet written for us by Chris Brubeck, we collaborated with dancers from the college. Several months ago we sent a recording of the piece to Dawn Springer at Dickinson. Dawn selected dancers and developed choreography to enhance the music. This semester Sarah Skaggs, director of dance at Dickinson, took over the work and spearheaded an incredible performance.
Oedipus at Colonus
Another exciting collaboration was on Robert Pound’s Oedipus at Colonus. Several years ago Robert composed incidental music for the Sophocles play for which the work is named. He chose to write for oboe and harp, and trombone quartet because of their links with ancient instruments. For this production Dickinson professors Sherry Harper-McCombs and Karen Kirkham led college actors in performing excerpts from the play to go along with Robert’s music and even had students construct masks for the performance. Benjamin Farrar, another Dickinson faculty member, did lighting design for this as well as the entire concert. Meghan Levy, a Dickinson alum, created images to be projected during each segment.
A highlight of the performance was Classics professor Marc Mastrangelo’s delivery of Oedipus’s curse of Polyneices. Here’s a clip from the tech rehearsal:
We also took the piece to the college library where we performed excerpts, the composer discussed the construction of the piece, Marc talked about the importance of the play and students recited lines.
We spent much of our time at the college when we weren’t rehearsing talking to students in various classes. Other than the work we did with the choir, composition and brass students, we also talked to a music theory class about Webern’s Langsamer Satz, a music appreciation class about life as a musician, and middle and high school band students about everything from the trombone to practice habits to careers in music.
All this hard work was capped off with a concert on the final day. The students performed superbly and Novus filled out the program with works by John Orfe, JacobTV, Eve Beglarian and Webern. Thanks to everyone at Dickinson who made this possible starting with everyone mentioned above and also: Stacy Rohrer, Keith Novak, Amy Wlodarski, Blake Wilson and Blanka Bednarz.