Fifth Annual WCU Trumpet Festival set for Jan. 12-14

Trumpet players from across the United States will converge at Western Carolina University for the Fifth Annual WCU Trumpet Festival, with several free performances throughout the Jan. 12-14 weekend, including a mass ensemble expected to top 100 musicians on stage at one time.

 Randy Brecker

Randy Brecker

The festival has become the largest of its kind in the United States, and last year’s event brought to campus participants from 13 states and Canada, said Brad Ulrich, professor of music and festival organizer.

“This year’s event promises to be even bigger than the previous four,” said Ulrich. “The WCU Trumpet Festival has gained so much attention lately that the International Trumpet Guild, with a membership base of nearly 7,000 trumpet players from around the world, has become one of our official sponsors this year.”

Headlining the festival are internationally famous jazz trumpet artist Randy Brecker, who will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12, in the Fine and Performing Arts Center, and classical trumpet artist Vladislav Lavrik, principal trumpet of the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow, who will perform in the Coulter Building recital hall at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13.

Brecker has been shaping the sound of jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock ‘n’ roll for more than three decades, Ulrich said, and his trumpet and flugelhorn performances have graced hundreds of albums by artists ranging from James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, Chaka Khan, George Benson and Parliament-Funkadelic to Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, David Sanborn, Horace Silver, Jaco Pastorius and Frank Zappa.

Vlad Lavrik

Vlad Lavrik

Lavrik is known as one of the most outstanding trumpeters of his generation in both the classical and jazz performance styles, Ulrich said. Born in the Ukraine in 1980, he was twice the winner of the Dokshitzer Competition of Young Trumpeters, and in 1994 won the Classical Heritage International Competition in Moscow. In his second year of study at the Moscow Conservatory, he joined the Russian National Orchestra. In 2001 at the age of 20, he was appointed principal trumpet, the youngest person to hold a principal chair in the history of the orchestra.

In addition to their performances, Brecker and Lavrik will be leading clinics designed to provide festival participants an opportunity to learn tricks of the trade from master performers, Ulrich said.

Three university trumpet professors also will be offering their skills as conductors and clinicians – Ramon Vasquez of Auburn University, Gary Malvern of Furman University and Mark Clodfelter of the University of Kentucky. Clodfelter also will conduct a large trumpet ensemble made up of all festival participants at 5 p.m. Jan. 13 in the Coulter recital hall. Last year’s ensemble had 110 trumpet players performing simultaneously.

All concerts are open to the public free of charge. For more information, contact Ulrich at (828) 227-3274.