Who are we?
The members of the Carillon Quartet have all been at the heart of the community that is expanding the trumpet’s solo repertoire, and together they are leading the revival and reinvention of the trumpet’s presence in chamber music. After meeting at CalArts in 2015, this innovative group has been redefining and expanding the public’s perception of the trumpet’s acoustic capabilities. The rich sonic scope that a group of trumpets has at its disposal is beyond what audiences are accustomed to expect from the instrument.
During the Renaissance and Baroque periods it would be virtually impossible to have a concert experience without at least some trumpet heraldic or concerti by major composers like Monteverdi, Bach, or Telemann; but for the better part of the next two centuries, the instrument was relegated to a tool for composers to give color and texture to other instruments in select moments of their major symphonic works.
Things have vastly changed since the 1970’s, and thanks in no small part to the American jazz soloists and classical innovators, the trumpet has been in a privileged state of revival. The instrument has been in a previously unseen golden era. While it’s impossible to turn back time to commission a Beethoven trumpet concerto, there is now a whole requiem by Hans Werner Henze, concerti and solos by Olga Neuwirth, Rebecca Saunders, Luciano Berio, Toru Takemitsu, Elliot Carter, Heinz Karl Gruber, and Peter Eötvös, to name a few.
While the trumpet’s solo repertoire has grown at an electrifying and dramatic rate, few efforts have been made to regain what was once a rich tradition for brass: its chamber repertoire. In the early 1990’s, a group of exciting trumpet players led by Markus Stockhausen and Marco Blaauw took a stab at correcting this, forming a trumpet quartet called Michael Trumpeters. In their short time together, they left behind a thrilling collection of works by various composers of the Köln School, including Karlheinz Stockhauen and Mauricio Kagel.
These works have been performed intermittently for the last 30 years, but there haven’t been any established groups that have devoted significant time to studying this chamber music… until now! Following in the steps of Michael Trumpeters, the Carillon Quartet is revisiting and adding to this complex and beautiful repertoire so that generations in the future will have a vast range of options to program concerts of serious music, no longer tied to the chains of playing arrangements and transcriptions intended for other instruments.