Greetings from Aspen, Colorado!

by Kirby Haugland '11, Artist Development Fellow: 2009

A joint concentrator in Music and Mathematics and a Lowell House resident, Kirby Haugland ‘11 was awarded a Fellowship to attend the Aspen Music Festival and School in trumpet performance, where he will hear orchestral and chamber music performances and study privately. Haugland participates in a number of musical ensembles at Harvard, including Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra (1st trumpeter), Bach Society Orchestra, and Lowell House Opera Orchestra. He plans to pursue a graduate degree in trumpet performance, with the ultimate hope of a position in a symphony orchestra or opera company.

Greetings from Aspen, Colorado! I’ve now been here for a little over a month. The Music Festival has been an incredible experience. It started out with several days of dead time while we all waited for placement auditions. I played the exposition from the first movement of the Kent Kennan Trumpet Sonata (I will hopefully be performing the entire piece here in a week or two), and some sightreading and orchestral excerpts.

Since then I’ve been involved in all sorts of musical activities. Trumpet players, as well as the other winds, brass, and percussion, are on a rotating schedule between the five or six orchestras here, meaning that we don’t know what we’re playing each week until a few days before the first rehearsal! So far I’ve been in performances of Sibelius’s 1st Symphony, Mozart’s 35th, Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, Debussy’s La Mer, Gyorgi Kurtag’s Stele, and Respighi’s Pines of Rome, as well as a whole score of pieces at a 4th of July concert and in the marching band in Puccini’s La Boheme. The performance of Pines just took place yesterday, with the Aspen Festival Orchestra, which is composed of both students and faculty members. It was absolutely amazing; I don’t think I’ve ever played that loud in my entire life. I’ve had the opportunity to work under conductors like David Roberston, David Zinman, Christopher Seaman, and a host of up and coming conductors from the conducting program.

In addition to the orchestral program, I’ve been taking lessons, attending master classes and concerts, and playing in chamber music. I’ve been studying primarily with Louis Ranger, a former member of the American Brass Quintet (ABQ) and the New York Philharmonic, and will be spending the second half of the summer with Raymond Mase, a current member of the ABQ and a professor at the Julliard School. I’ve been playing with a brass quintet with other students from Oberlin, Arizona State University, Baylor University, and the University of Connecticut, with coaching by John Rojak, the bass trombonist of the ABQ and also a professor at Julliard. There have been performances by Gil and Orli Shaham, Vladimir Feltsman, and many other world-renowned soloists. I recently performed Eugene Bozza’s Sonatine for Brass Quintet as part of the "Brass Bash."

The experience so far has been fantastic. In addition to the music, I have met scores of students from around the country and the world and have enjoyed other activities like hiking up 11,000-foot Aspen Mountain! The second half of the summer promises to be just as fruitful. I am very thankful to Harvard for the Fellowship grant that has allowed me to come to Aspen. It is unlike anything I have ever experienced before, and it is helping me to grow immensely as trumpet player and musician.