Dr. Podrebarac’s Top 10 Solo Works for Trumpet!

(in alphabetical order…)

1. Alexander Arutunian – Trumpet Concerto in A-flat Major

Alexander Arutunian, an Armenian composer, composed this between 1949-1950. A single- movement concerto with an extended lyrical section, this is a rite of passage for trumpet players. The melodic and rhythmic characteristics of Armenian folk songs influence this work, but nothing is borrowed. The Soviet trumpet player Timofei Dokschitzer was the first to record this concerto and make it famous.

2. Regina Harris Baiocchi – Miles Per Hour

Chicago native Regina Harris Baiocchi’s music has been performed in concerts around the world, including the Chicago Symphony and Detroit Symphony. Baiocchi’s music is distinctly lyrical, with an emphasis on percussion and the dynamics of sound. Miles Per Hour was inspired by Miles Dewey Davis and dedicated to Professor William Butler Fielder. In a recent interview, Baiocchi shared that this work is a combination of jazz and concert that captures the spirit of Miles Davis.

3. Alexander Goedicke- Concert Etude Op. 49

Russian composer and pianist Alexander Goedicke was a contemporary of Rachmaninov and Stravinsky. Music in Soviet Russia during the first half of the 20th century was tense to say the least – composers lost their lives over their compositions. Fortunately for Goedicke, he generally remained in favor with Stalin. His music was typically conservative and accepted within the Social Realism style Stalin demanded. Much more fortunate than many of his colleagues, he survived “the Purge,” led by Zhdanov, in 1948. This concert etude features extensive double-tonguing passages – the perfect piece to develop quick multiple tonguing!

4. Adolphus Hailstork – Sonata for Trumpet and Piano

Dr. Hailstork has written numerous works for chorus, solo voice, piano, organ, various chamber ensembles, band, and orchestra. He received his doctorate in composition from Michigan State University, where he was a student of H. Owen Reed. Additionally, he has been awarded two honorary doctorate degrees. This sonata grabs the audience’s attention from the start with its energetic and determined rhythmic motion.

5. Joseph Haydn – Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major

Haydn composed the Trumpet Concerto for his friend, Anton Weidinger. Weidinger invented an instrument that used side holes and keys, similar to those found on woodwind instruments, and Haydn composed this piece so Weidinger could show off the capabilities of diatonic and chromatic playing in the trumpet’s low register. A staple in the trumpet repertoire, the Haydn Concerto is important to have in your library.

6. Jennifer Higdon – Trumpet Songs

Dr. Higdon is one of the most frequently performed living composers in the United States. Recently, she received the Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University, given to contemporary classical composers of exceptional achievement who have significantly influenced the field of composition. Higdon arranged for the trumpet what was originally a collection of short art songs for voice and piano. This allows the trumpet to sing and showcase its sound and musicality, stretching the player.

7. Ulysses Kay – Tromba

Ulysses Kay, 1917-1995, came from a musical family – he was the nephew of the jazz trumpeter King Oliver. He earned degrees at University of Arizona and Eastman School of Music. His teachers included Howard Hanson and Paul Hindemith. Tromba, Italian for trumpet, is a 3-movement work. Imagine an incredible blend of Hanson’s sweeping melodies combined with the intricacy of Hindemith’s harmonic complexity – this piece is a must-have in your collection.

8. Libby Larsen – Fanfare for the Women

Larsen is one of the most performed living composers. She is a co-founder of the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composers Forum. Composed to celebrate the opening of the University of Minnesota’s Women’s Sports Pavilion, this piece was performed from the center of a basketball court by the trumpet player Lynn Erickson. The piece was written in mind for the vast space with its long acoustical delay, adding emphasis with the overtones overlapping.

9. Johann Baptist Georg Neruda – Concerto in Eb for Trumpet and Strings

A Classical period composer, Neruda’s compositional output includes eighteen symphonies, fourteen instrumental concertos, sonatas, sacred works, and an opera. This Concerto was originally written for the corno da caccia. However, it is rarely performed on any instrument other than an E-flat or B-flat trumpet.

10. Henri Tomasi – Concerto for Trumpet

Henri Tomasi, a French composer and conductor, played an important role in wind music and the Paris Conservatory. He was commissioned to compose a number of wind pieces for the test pieces at the Conservatory. Written in 1948, this concerto was originally declared “unplayable.” Now it’s a favorite of trumpet players everywhere. Are you ready to play the unplayable?

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