Premier trombonists to descend on Iowa City for international festival


The Daily Iowan; Katina Zentz

The Voxman Building is seen on July 8, 2018. (Katina Zentz/The Daily Iowan)

For the first time, the University of Iowa will host the annual International Trombone Festival to bring world-class trombonists together for a special four-day event to celebrate the many facets the trombone has to offer.

The events will occur all day running July 11-14 at the Voxman Music Building.

Hosting the festival will be University of Iowa trombone Lecturer Jonathan Allen and Director of the School of Music David Gier.

“ITF brings together about 800 of the world’s top professionals, pedagogues, trombone teachers, students, and amateur enthusiasts for a week of recitals, performances, lectures, and discussion,” Allen said.

Each host takes her or his own spin on how to run the festival, and festival manager Justin Cook said one of Allen’s biggest ideas was to bring young, rising trombonists who are trying to make a name for themselves into the spotlight and also showcase the talents of the university faculty.

Allen has spent the past two years planning the production, and he is excited to showcase the new Voxman to the trombone community.

One of the festival’s missions is to help college professors from around the country connect through professional development and give them the opportunity to perform and communicate about what they have been doing with the trombone in their schools.

Students are the main focus of the festival. It encourages young musicians to participate in the youth workshop program to expand their knowledge and meet other people who share the passion for the trombone.

“One thing Jonathan did this year was to just get those kids into concerts to hear the world-class musicians and know what the trombone should sound like,” Cook said.

This year’s youth workshop will be coordinated by international YouTube sensation Christopher Bill. The workshop is for kids ages 17 or younger who want to establish the fundamentals of the trombone and be challenged.

“We try to push what the trombone can do and how it is seen in the world, so that’s in part by finding great performers of the trombone to showcase their skills,” Cook said.

Some of the highlighted events include performances from the U.S. Army Field Band, Southeast Trombone Symposium Professors Choir, and the Juilliard Trombone Choir. Other new featured artists for the festival include UI alumnus Denson Paul Pollard and British trombonist Peter Moore.

UI jazz-history student Alexa Doyle plans to attend events like the U.S. Army Field Band to see the oldest and largest such band perform.

“I can’t wait to experience the only trombone festival in the world in action,” she said.

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