Tag Archives: Trombone

Celebration for Doc

On May 2, Novus joined Scott HartmanJohn FedchockJeremy MoellerMark LuskJeannie LittleRon BarronLisa Albrecht, the Eastman Trombone Choir and a full audience to celebrate Dr. John Marcellus‘s career at the Eastman School of Music.

It’s beyond words the honor that it was to perform on the concert. So much of what I know and strive to be comes from John Marcellus. For our portion of the event Novus performed two movements from John Orfe’s Parable of the Sower. The original parable talks about the things that keep the farmer’s seeds from growing to their full potential, John’s piece expresses those ideas in musical form. The group thought it fitting to perform a piece with such a direct relation to teaching.

Full program here (not printed: Novus interrupted the first piece with the Eastman Choir/Christmas Sing standard the “Trink Canon.”):

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While I didn’t get many photos from the event itself I did manage (with friend, Mike Ketner’s, help) to get some images from the rehearsal before the performance.

From the program at the event:

Trombonist, conductor, and pedagogue Dr. John Marcellus was appointed Professor and Director of the Eastman Trombone Choir in 1978 after a worldwide search for an heir to the legacy of Eastman’s legendary Professor of the Trombone, Emory Remington (1922-1972), the “Chief.” “Doc” Marcellus is internationally known as a soloist for his performances and recordings as Principal Trombone of the National Symphony Orchestra and as soloist with the United States Navy Band. He is a respected brass pedagogue and international recording artist with a stunning record of former students successfully winning major symphony orchestra auditions and appointments to some of the most prestigious music faculties in the world.

Dr. Marcellus is currently a member of the Eastman Brass, Principal Trombone of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Brighton (NY) Symphony Orchestra, and a performing artist for Courtois Trombones of the Buffet Crampon Company. He is a former member of many fine ensembles, including the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Ballet Orchestra, the American Ballet Orchestra, the Boston Pops Orchestra, the National Symphony Brass Quintet, the Washington Theatre Chamber Players, and the Contemporary Music Forum of Washington. Dr. Marcellus has appeared as guest conductor at Interlochen Center for the Arts (1982); Penfield Symphony; US Naval Academy Band; and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra (1995, 2005).

Novus’s participation in the event was made possible with generous support by Sheridan Brass:




Last weekend, Erin Lesser, Matt Marks and I played for Art Trek Plus at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Our participation was part of Alarm Will Sound’s residency at the museum. For Art Trek we performed works for children, ages 5-12, and spoke about their relationship with visual art. The presentation also included an interactive activity: the participants improvised sounds with Matt, drew landscapes with Erin and created their own abstract works with me.

I performed Scelsi’s Tre Pezzi, not something someone would traditionally perform for that age group. I ran it by my daughter beforehand, figuring if a three year-old could handle it this group should be OK. It went over well at home and at the museum. I performed in Gallery 911 in front of two works by Burgoyne Diller, one in gray, the other in black and white and punctuated with primary colors; both using, primarily, rectangles to create form on the square canvas.

I related the simplicity in the gray scale piece to the first part of the Scelsi: the music gains its shape from the repetition of an A flat (and eventual explosion to an E flat), the painting’s form comes from repeated rectangles. I related the second part of the Scelsi to the other work by Diller. There’s still repetition in the music (this time centered around an A) but in a more dramatic fashion and with the added “color” of the mute. The relation to the Diller is not one-to-one but there are still some similarities. For the final part of the Scelsi we had the participants create their own image. Most everyone took theirs with them, though I did find this one left behind: