Music professors to present original composition in Russia

Brad Ulrich (left) and Bruce Frazier, faculty members in the School of Music at Western Carolina University, will premiere Frazier’s ‘Blue Ridge Suite,’ inspired by his love of Western North Carolina’s mountains, in two Russian cities in October.

P. Bradley Ulrich and Bruce Frazier, faculty members in the Western Carolina University School of Music, will take a bit of the natural beauty of the Appalachian Mountains to Russia this fall when they perform the international premiere of an original piece of music in St. Petersburg and Moscow in October.

Frazier, the Carol Grotnes Belk Endowed Chair in Commercial and Electronic Music, composed the piece, a four-movement trumpet solo with brass quintet accompaniment titled “Blue Ridge Suite.” The suite’s four movements, “Majestic Peaks,” “Whitewater Falls,” “Craggy Gardens” and “Mountaintop Meditation,” all are inspired by locations in Western North Carolina.

A photo of Whitewater Falls in Sapphire by Bruce Frazier is among images that will accompany a performance in St. Petersburg, Russia, of Frazier’s original work ‘Blue Ridge Suite.’

One of the St. Petersburg performances will include projected images of nature scenes from Western North Carolina, a source of inspiration for Frazier. “Certainly, one of the nice aspects of working at Western Carolina is that you’re close to some of the most inspiring and beautiful locations in the universe,” said Frazier, an avid hiker who spends free time exploring and photographing the mountains. While his brother and friends contributed to the images that will accompany “Blue Ridge Suite,” most are by Frazier.

The professors plan to be in Russia from Oct. 7-16. The pair will spend the first leg of the trip in St. Petersburg at the International Trumpet Festival of Russia, for which Ulrich is in his third year as artistic director. Ulrich, a professor of trumpet at WCU since 1989 and a member of WCU’s quintet-in-residence, will give four performances of the Frazier piece, with accompaniment from a brass quintet from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The group also will lead a clinic at the St. Petersburg Conservatory.

This will be Ulrich’s sixth trip to Russia for the International Trumpet Festival. He has performed work there previously by Frazier and by Robert Kehrberg, dean of the WCU College of Fine and Performing Arts, but this will be the first time one of the composers has joined him at the festival. For the final leg of the trip, Ulrich and Frazier will travel to Moscow to perform at a brass festival at the Moscow Conservatory and present a clinic to conservatory students.

For more information about WCU’s School of Music, call 828-227-7242.