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April 6, 2006
Contact: Erin Curtis-Dierks, School of Fine Arts, (785) 864-9742.

Seven KU trumpet students blew their horns to reap rewards, honors in national event

LAWRENCE — Seven University of Kansas trumpet students earned national recognition at the 2006 National Trumpet Competition held March 16-19 at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. KU’s Trumpet Ensemble placed fifth in the event.

After submitting two works for consideration, the KU Trumpet Ensemble, made up of undergraduate and graduate trumpet performance students, was selected as a national semifinalist, along with 29 other notable music schools including Eastman School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Texas-Austin. Steve Leisring, assistant professor of trumpet, directs the ensemble.

The KU Trumpet Ensemble performed a three-movement, eight-minute work titled “Meta Suite” by Spanish composer Enrique Guimera, arranged for seven trumpets by James Henry, undergraduate trumpet performance student at KU.

The ensemble received a plaque and a check for $575 for their fifth-place award. The students plan to apply the award money toward a guest clinician visit or a commissioned original work for next year’s competition.

“Professor Leisring’s ensemble is now at the level to compete on a world class basis,” said Karl Sievers, the National Trumpet Competition coordinator who teaches at the University of Oklahoma School of Music. “The level of competition at NTC is extremely high, and the difference between coming in first or 10th is in the ears of the beholder; it is not an easy nor obvious choice.”

Sievers added, “Professor Leisring has done a fantastic job at KU and they are very lucky to have him. Since he has been at KU working his magic, his studio has already reached the highest level.”

KU also received recognition when five trumpet students submitted recordings of solo works and all five were chosen as national semifinalists. KU was one of the few schools at the competition to have all solo applicants chosen as semifinalists.

Leisring said, “The National Trumpet Competition has evolved over the past decade as the collegiate trumpet player’s “Final Four” tournament. The best players from every great music program in the country participate, and the excellent showing this year by our students once again demonstrates the high quality of music students at KU.

“The best part of the competition is that the students have come back to KU motivated and confident they can perform at a level equal to that found at any program in the country, and with a clear understanding of what will take them to the next level as performers.”

The National Trumpet Competition began in 1992 and has provided performing opportunities, master classes, concerts, historic and commercial exhibits and an educational and supportive environment for almost 3,000 students who represent 40 states and six foreign countries.

For more information, please contact KU’s Department of Music and Dance in the School of Fine Arts at (785) 864-3436.

The students, their hometowns, year in school, majors, parent names (when available), previous school attended and their competition categories are:

DOUGLAS COUNTY
From Lawrence
George Robert Brahler, sophomore majoring in voice and trumpet, son of John and Kelli Brahler; Free State High School; KU Trumpet Ensemble.

SEDGWICK COUNTY
From Derby (67037)
Mason Tyler, senior majoring in trumpet, son of Michael and Michelle Tyler; Derby High School; KU Trumpet Ensemble and a solo competition semifinalist.

SHAWNEE COUNTY
From Topeka
James Robert Henry, junior majoring in trumpet, son of Mike and Becky Henry; Topeka High School; KU Trumpet Ensemble and a solo competition semifinalist.

ILLINOIS
From Chicago (60657)
Aaron W. Brizuela, master’s degree student in music; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; KU Trumpet Ensemble.

MISSOURI
From St. Louis (63141)
Justin Alan White, master’s degree student in music; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; KU Trumpet Ensemble and a solo competition semifinalist.

PUERTO RICO
From Humacao
William Munoz, master’s degree student in music; Conservatory of Music Puerto Rico; KU Trumpet Ensemble and a solo competition semifinalist.

From Yauco
Nitai Pons Perez, master’s degree student in music; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Conservatory of Music Puerto Rico; KU Trumpet Ensemble and a solo competition semifinalist.

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