OA: Ryan Anthony to perform at TrumpetFest

As a teenager, trumpeter Ryan Anthony captured the national spotlight by winning a highly publicized Seventeen magazine, General Motors National Concerto Competition in 1987.

It’s the award that “started it all,” he said.

Anthony has since built an illustrious and rich career as a musician touring the country teaching and performing solo and with orchestras.

He is currently the principal trumpet for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He is probably best known for his part with the internationally recognized ensemble Canadian Brass.

As part of Canadian Brass, Anthony performed with symphonies from Bozeman, Mont., to Pensacola, Fla., and in venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Three chances to see the virtuoso trumpeter in Grand Junction are planned in the upcoming days.

On Saturday, April 4, Anthony, along with composer and trumpeter Stanley Friedman, will put on a concert at Mesa State College as part of TrumpetFest, an educational and entertaining festival for trumpet players of all ages.

Later that day, Anthony will be the featured performer at the college’s Guest Artist Series.

On Tuesday, April 7, in the Grand Junction High School auditorium, Anthony will join the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra for The Planets concert and play Robert Farnon’s “Scherzando” and the world premiere of Friedman’s “Classical Concerto in C for Trumpet and Orchestra.”

Here’s a Q&A with the down-to-earth musician:

Stiles: What draws you to the trumpet?

Anthony: I really can’t explain it. It’s just been a fascination of mine since as long as I can remember. I’ve just fallen in love with the instrument and I love the role that it plays in music. I think it’s just about the only instrument you can find in every genre and style of music, and as a performer, that’s a lot of fun to be able to do jazz and classical. Wherever there’s music, you can find the trumpet.

Stiles: When did you start playing the trumpet?

Anthony: I started off in violin, but my grandfather played trumpet and a few other members of my family, and I just loved it from the very beginning. I loved the sound of it, loved the look of it. I was just sort of fascinated by it. When I got old enough and brave enough to tell my parents I wanted to play trumpet like Grandpa and not violin — they’re both string players — I think was 7 or 8 years old. I think probably within a few weeks I had better sounds on the trumpet than I ever had playing the violin. So they got over it pretty quickly.

Stiles: Any advice for parents who want their child to play an instrument or for a young person interested in choosing an instrument?

Anthony: I think for most children it’s fairly natural. I’ve got two kids myself and they seem to sort of gravitate towards one particular instrument or a family of instruments ... I’m always curious to see some kids gravitate towards string instruments or woodwind or brass or percussion. It seems to be just sort of in them. I would just say, be true to yourself because you have to have fun. It’s hard, and if you can’t enjoy it, then practicing can take a lot of the fun out. But, if you’re playing something you really are just fascinated with and enjoy it, then the practicing becomes easy.

Stiles: What are your current projects?

Anthony: What I’m trying to do is carve out a career where I’m able to do multiple avenues with my trumpet, and that being playing full time with a major orchestra as well as being able to continue a certain amount of performances as a soloist and as a chamber musician and clinician. Those are all things I really love to do that early on I was told it was impossible to do it all. I’m just continuing to try to carve that out and make it possible.

Stiles: What type of performance do you prefer?

Anthony: Soloing. That’s what I’ve been doing the longest, since I was a boy, before I knew that I should get nervous. I think what I love about that the most is the fact that I can actually not only work with musicians but also be able to see the audience. I just love the energy of actually performing live music. I’m actually more nervous when I sit in the back of a orchestra than I am when I stand in front of it. There’s something calming when I can actually interact and be able to see the audience in front of me, and, hopefully, they’re enjoying the experience with me. It’s usually my goal when I’m soloing to create an experience for everybody.


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