It’s a great century to be a trumpeter. The last time trumpeters had it so good was in the 18th century, when Bach, Handel and other greats created a wealth of virtuosic trumpet repertoire. Then the great rivers of trumpet writing started to dry up. After Haydn and Hummel, the trumpet virtually disappeared from the concert platform as a soloist. Yes, the great symphonists continued to write wonderful trumpet parts in their orchestral works, but the pianists and violinists became the concerto supremos, and the most idolised soloists of the concert hall.

Of course, the trumpet found a new outlet in the early 20th century in jazz, but it was the avant-garde composers of the mid-century who ushered in a glorious renaissance for the concert-hall trumpet. Berio, Stockhausen, Gruber and others found there was plenty of unrealised potential still waiting to be mined from its golden tones.

American trumpeter Ed Carroll has been through the entire gamut. Hearing the Mahler symphonies in his teens was his Road to Damascus moment when he knew he had to be a professional musician. After training at Juilliard he launched into his career wanting to be the American Maurice André. If clocking up well over 20 commercial recordings as a baroque soloist is a measure of success, then one can say he achieved his goal. And if your CD collection contains recordings by the great American orchestras you will almost certainly have heard him in the orchestral works of Mahler, Strauss, Bruckner and the rest. But the new Golden Age of the trumpet is, according to Ed, now. As he says, “I fervently believe that many of the most masterful contributions for the trumpet have been in the past 50 years and continue to be written today”. Now a zealous advocate for the contemporary trumpet, Ed Carroll imparts his fearlessness and mastery of craft to students at the California Institute of the Arts. His reputation as one of the world’s best teachers equals his reputation as a player. When the Los Angeles Philharmonic urgently needed two extra trumpeters to help their over-extended trumpet section in some challenging new repertoire, they phoned Ed and simply asked him for his two best students. Professional compliments don’t come any better.

His program for ANAM is a showcase for the many different voices of the modern trumpet. A welcome rarity is the 1937 work Sensemayá by Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas, a hypnotic musical representation of an Afro-Cuban voodoo ritual. At the other end of the spectrum is the darkly comic Are You Experienced? for narrator and ensemble by New Yorker David Lang, which somehow brings the flavour of Seinfeld into the hall. Add some neo-classical Hindemith, some medieval-inspired Maimets and an interstellar call from Messiaen and you have one of the most varied concerts of ANAM’s 2016 season.

Words by Phil Lambert


MESSIAEN Interstellar Call
MAIMETS Media Vita (arr. for 6 trumpets)
LANG Are You Experienced?
HINDEMITH Konzertmusik op. 49
REVUELTAS Sensemayá (arr. brass & percussion)

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