Baylor trumpets take first place in nation

Two ensembles and four soloists from the School of Music attended the National Trumpet Competition in Fairfax, Va., March 17 to 20. One ensemble placed first in their division, while the other placed seventh in the semifinals.Courtesy Photo

Liz Hitchcock

An ensemble from the School of Music placed first in their division at the National Trumpet Competition. This is Baylor’s fourth year sending musicians to the competition.

The group traveled to Fairfax, Va., March 17 to play their piece, “Abstracts No. 2,” by Robert Russel and arranged by Baylor professor of instrumental studies, Wiff Rudd.

“Any trumpet studio in the country can submit an ensemble or a solo in different divisions to the National Trumpet Competition,” Austin sophomore Manuel Munoz said.

The group was made up of Munoz, graduate students Steffen Baral and Beth Peroutka, Loveland Co. senior Simon Bosch, Richardson senior Chelsea Orr and Fort Worth junior Andy Lott.

Rudd had to expand the piece he chose for the group.

“It’s actually a trumpet duet,” Munoz said. “An old, kind of obscure duet that he [Rudd] has been using in his classes for a while, and he expanded it and arranged it for six trumpets.”

Groups that participate in these types of competitions use more conventional pieces, Munoz said.

“I think that’s what set us apart at this competition this year,” Munoz said. “Normally, ensembles will play music that is written specifically for a trumpet ensemble, or they do a big orchestral arrangement and score it down for just a couple of trumpets.”

Bosch said the group was able to connect with the audience because of their piece.

“[The piece] was a lot different from the other majority of everything else performed at a competition like that, which definitely gave us a creative advantage and a lot of freedom for musical expression that we really enjoyed,” Bosch said.

The group memorized the piece for comfort at the competition.

“Most of the learning and memorization of the piece happened on individual players’ times,” Bosch said. “We came in and put it together in rehearsals at the end of last semester and did a preliminary recording. This past semester we rehearsed together a lot.”

Two ensembles and four soloists participated in the competition.

The second ensemble placed sixth in the finals. Rudd was not able to attend the competition due to recital commitments.

“The real benefit from this, what we are trying to do here,” Rudd said, “is build a collaborative spirit amongst the music majors, because if you’re going to have a career as a teacher or a performer, it’s really about how well you work with other people. When we are working in groups like this and getting ready for a performance, it’s really about working together.”


Corrected: The second ensemble placed sixth in the finals — not seventh in the semifinals. 4/4/2011.