FONT ’15 Preview – Sept. 29, 2015 – Eddie Henderson Panel, Award Ceremony & Concert

Tuesday, September 29th

  eddiehendersonn_wide-4eb67b2858a603ad4093a209f6e6fb9dd47773d4-s800-c85On our final day of FONT Music 2015, join us as The New School as we’ll be honoring and featuring a living trumpet and musical legend of our time, Dr. Eddie Henderson.  Please join us for what we are sure will be a truly special evening.

7pm – Panel Discussion About Eddie’s Work and Life
The New School
55 West 13th St. New York, NY
Hirshorn Suite, 2nd fl.

Eddie Henderson, Randy Brecker, Marquis Hill, Dave Douglas

Panel Moderator:
David Adler

8pm Eddie Henderson Concert & Award Ceremony
55 West 13th St. New York, NY 

Arnhold Hall, 2nd fl.

The Eddie Henderson Quartet
Eddie Henderson – Trumpet
George Cables – Piano
Doug Weiss – Bass
Billy Drummond – Drums

With Special Guests: 
Marquis Hill, Randy Brecker and Dave Douglas
marquis 2randy breckerdave douglas

Buy Tickets to Dr. Eddie Henderson Concert & Award Ceremony:

Full Festival Pass ($100 all ticketed events & VIP Reception):

FONT ’15 Preview – Sept. 28, 2015 – Eddie Henderson Masterclass & Visionaries (Night 2)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Public Master Class – Eddie Henderson
The New School
(55 West 13th Street  New York, NY)


“Visionaries – Night 2″
Downtown Music Gallery
(13 Monroe St, New York, NY)

Nate Wooley

nate wooleyFrom the Curator:

“The term “visionary” comes with a lot of baggage. Who is to say
which ways of thinking will prove to be visionary and which will be well intentioned ideas that never quite make it. For that very reason there are many that don’t take the opportunity to find their own musical and aesthetic limits, whether it is with the idea of staking a claim as a “visionary” or not. The three trumpet players I chose for this series are the ones that are taking the chance and are heavily engaged in an attempt to push beyond the already possible systems of playing to form a new one that is best suited to who they are and what they think.”

Buy Tickets to “Visionaries – Night 2”:

Full Festival Pass ($100 all ticketed events & VIP Reception):

7 pm
Jaimie Branch – trumpet
Anthony Pirog – guitar
Jason Nazary – drums

joe moffett 2 (rob miller)


Joe Moffett – Solo trumpet

Joe’s Website:

Joe’s FONT Blog Feature:

Brandon Lewis – trumpet
Ben Carr – bass
Kevin Theodore – keyboard
David Frazier Jr. – drums

Brandon’s Website:

FONT ’15 Preview – Sept. 27, 2015 – Jonathon Powell, Blast of Brass & Visionaries (Night 1)

Sunday, September 27, 2015
Five Bands,
Three Venues,
One Day

j powell 311:30am & 1:30pm
The Jonathan Powell
Latin Jazz Sextet

The Blue Note
(131 W 3rd St, New York, NY)
(Includes brunch & drink)

Music performed by:

Jonathan Powell – Trumpet
Louis Fouché - alto sax
Manuel Valera - piano
Ricky Rodriguez - bass
Henry Cole - drums
Mauricio Herrera - percussion
& Special Guest Jeremy Powell - tenor sax

j powell 1About The Jonathan Powell Latin Jazz Sextet:
The Festival of New Trumpet (FONT Music) and The Blue Note (NYC) present the debut of
Jonathan Powell’s new Latin Jazz Sextet featuring some of the brightest talent on the NYC Latin Music scene. Jonathan has been a mainstay of the New York Latin music scene since 2001 playing regularly with the ensembles of Eddie Palmieri, Arturo O’Farrill, Gregorio Uribe, Pedro Giraudo and many others.

What They Say About Jonathan Powell:
“Powell’s crackling range and the electricity of his imagination reminded me of the first time I heard Lee Morgan and Clifford Brown. His voice is his own.”
– Nat Hentoff, Jazz Times

Buy Tickets to “Jonathan Powell Latin Jazz Sextet”:

Full Festival Pass ($100 all ticketed events & VIP Reception):

Jonathan Powell’s Website:

FONT Music Blog Feature on Jonathan Powell:

jesse neuman shot
2 & 3pm
Blast of Brass
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
(145 Brooklyn Ave, Brooklyn, NY)

jesse w student
About Blast of Brass:

Jazz trumpeter and educator
Jesse Neuman presents a concert for the whole family. Learn about (and try out!) trumpets, trombones, tubas, and other instruments of the brass family. See how serious science meets serious swing, as the musicians perform and explain several styles of brass influence music, and give kids ages 5 to 12 an up close listen to these joyous instruments.

Music Performed By:
Aaron Shragge – Trumpet
Rob Jost – French Horn
Jesse Neuman – Baritone
Brian Adler – percussion

Jesse Neuman & Blast of Brass’ Website:

FONT Music Blog Feature on Jesse & Blast of Brass:

“Visionaries – Night 1″
Downtown Music Gallery
(13 Monroe St, New York, NY)

Aaron Shragge

From the Curator:
Aaron Shragge
“The term ‘visionary’ can be a difficult to define. For that reason I think it’s all the more important to search deeply and find a way to actualize its essence. The artists that I’ve chosen for this series are all wonderful examples of the unity and diversity of the trumpet. I feel they have each committed themselves to the visionary path by continuing to search for their own unique musical voice without being swayed by convention or novelty.”

Buy Tickets to “Visionaries – Night 1”:

Full Festival Pass ($100 all ticketed events & VIP Reception):

chad 2

Chad McCullough/Dan Cray Duo
Chad McCullough – Trumpet
Dan Cray – Keyboard

Chad’s Website:
Chad’s FONT Blog Feature:

John Blevins

John Blevins & MATTERHORN
John Blevins – Trumpet, Compositions
Jeff McLaughlin – Guitar
Marty Kenney – Bass
Nathan Ellman-Bell – Drums

John’s Website:

Leo Hardman-Hill Group
Leo Hardman-Hill – Trumpet
Katherine McShane – Cello
Zoe Christiansen – Accordion
Dennis Zurilovitch – Tenor Saxophone

FONT ’15 Preview – Sept. 26, 2015 “Signatures in Brass” @ The Jazz Gallery

Saturday, September 26, 2015
“Signatures in Brass”
Jazz Gallery (1160 Broadway, New York, NY)
7:30 & 9:30 PM – $22

marquis 1

Marquis Hill

Marquis Hill

Philip Dizack.

Phillip Dizack

sign - billy b

Billy Buss

sign - Josh Evans

Josh Evans

Music performed by:
Marquis Hill
Phillip Dizack
Keyon Harrold
Billy Buss
Josh Evans
Ingrid Jensen
Piano: Theo Hill
Bass: Eric Wheeler
Drums: Obed Calvaire

World Premiere by: FONT Music Roy Campbell Jr. Commissioning Grant recipient, Kendall Moore: Signature in Brass

sign - ingrid

Ingrid Jensen

From the Curator:
Marquis Hill
“This music presents the wide variety of sounds and styles that uniquely constitute contemporary jazz trumpet music. In earlier times, jazz was more easily associated with a singular specific sound. Today, we feel there is an immense increase in the stylistic breadth of jazz. Our goal is to demonstrate how diverse musical voices now authentically fall under the jazz umbrella. This program showcases these voices and personalities through a very special night of original compositions, both orchestrated and spontaneous. I’m happy to be working with the range of trumpeters and their musical visions in this collaborative effort.

sign - kendall moore

Kendall Moore

Buy Tickets to “Signatures in Brass”:

Full Festival Pass ($100 all ticketed events & VIP Reception):

Marquis Hills’ Website:

FONT Music Blog Feature on Marquis Hill:

FONT ’15 Preview – Sept. 25, 2015 – Thomas Bergeron’s “Sacred Feast”

Friday, September 25, 2015
Thomas Bergeron’s “Sacred Feast”
DiMenna Center – Norman S. Benzaquen Hall
(450 W 37th St, New York, NY)

8pm – $22

tom 1Music performed by:
Thomas Bergeron – trumpet, flugelhorn
Becca Stevens – voice
Jason Ennis – guitars
Chris Doyle – piano
Michael Bates – double bass
David Palazola – percussion
Sara Caswell – violin
Tomoko Akaboshi – violin
Colin Brookes – viola
Hamilton Berry – cello

About “Sacred Feast”:
For this special FONT performance, Thomas Bergeron adds a string  quartet  to  his  flexible  jazz  quintet,  as  well as vocalist Becca Stevens and Pakistani tabla master Yousuf Kerai. The 11-piece ensemble will perform new arrangements of Thomas’ music, including material from his critically-acclaimed albums “Sacred Feast” and “The First of All My Dreams,” as well as brand new music for the ensemble.
tom 2
Praises for “Sacred Feast”:

“What  an  accomplishment  this  is. Sacred Feast speaks to Messiaen’s creativity, Bergeron’s ingenuity, and the talents of the band that brings this music to life. Bergeron takes the seeds of Messiaen’s work and plants them so they can sprout into different shapes in a wholly different scene and context.” – Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz

Buy Tickets to “Sacred Feast”:

Full Festival Pass ($100 all ticketed events & VIP Reception):

Thomas Bergeron’s Website:

FONT Music Blog Feature on Thomas Bergeron:

FONT ’15 Preview – Sept. 24, 2015 “Without A Frame” @ Rockwood Music Hall

Thursday, September 24, 2015
“Without a Frame”
Rockwood Music Hall
(185 Orchard St, New York, NY)
8:30pm – $15 (21+)

CJ Camerieri & Stephanie Richards

Music performed by:
cj ymusic ben folds
Asphalt Orchestra
asphalt 1
brandon founders

World Premiere commissioned by FONT Music:
OMNI by Mick Rossi, Performed by yMusic.

From the Curators:
Stephanie Richards

steph“The program “Without A Frame” is about new ways of hearing new music on the trumpet. We worked to feature forward-thinking performers and composers who have fresh sounds and fresh outlooks without, necessarily, an institutional bent.”

C.J. Camerieri
CJ 2“I wanted to focus on people who are creating mixed ensembles and commissioning peer musicians to write for themselves.” Genre-bending groups like yMusic, Asphalt Orchestra and Founders with composers such as Nico Mulhy, Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier and the premiere of the FONT Music-commissioned new work by Mick Rossi feature some of the outstanding unique voices on the scene of new music today

Buy Tickets to “Without A Frame”:

Full Festival Pass ($100 all ticketed events & VIP Reception:

FONT Music Blog Feature on C.J. Camerieri (yMusic):

FONT Music Blog Feature on Brandon Ridenour (Founders):


Catching Up with FONT Music 2015 Artist & Curator: C.J. Camerieri

CJ 2C.J. Camerieri has been a staple in the FONT Music cast of characters (er… trumpeters) since its inception.  Over the past decade, C.J. has been developing a career that defies stylistic definition – we love these kind of musicians here at FONT Music.  Graduating Juilliard, playing with Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, forming a contemporary classical (you can’t really call it that) group yMusic and recently recording with Ben Folds.  What’s next?!

We’re very lucky to have him this year curating and performing at our Opening Concert at Rockwood Music Hall on September 24th on a program we have titled “Without A Frame” (Buy tickets here).  We hope you can join us for that, but check out what C.J. has to say today as we sit down with him for a few questions.

C.J. thanks for chatting with us today.  You’ve been a foundational member of FONT Music over the years, right?

I’ve been lucky enough over the years to play with FONT Music since (maybe) the very beginning.  The first time I played on a FONT Music concert was at Tonic which has sadly been closed since 2007.  Since then I’ve played with a variety of groups including Butch Morris, the New York Trumpet Ensemble, and with my group yMusic.  A few years ago FONT Music commissioned the great composer Andrew Norman to write a piece for yMusic and it was a huge success.  The piece was the featured single off of our last record “Balance Problems” and has been met with much critical acclaim.  This year FONT Music has commissioned Mick Rossi to write a piece for us and I’m excited to start learning that new work in the coming weeks.  I am very grateful for FONT Music and feel lucky to be a part of this community.

I think the luck is ours, or at least mutual!  Thanks for all you’ve done over the years.  You’re a pretty unique player and all over the map stylistically (I mean this in a great way!).  How did you get to where you are today?

CJ w Bon Iver

CJ Playing keyboard and trumpet with Bon Iver

I graduated from Juilliard in 2004 and was trying to do a little bit of everything.  I played with orchestras, broadway shows, jazz, free jazz, studying harmony/arranging and was really happy but a bit musically unfulfilled.  I found myself searching for a musical scene that would allow me to play a variety of styles, to improvise but also play technically challenging material, to play other instruments (I also play the French Horn and piano) and get a chance to shape the music through arrangements and my own creative ideas.  I also wanted to be on bigger stages playing for more people!  I was lucky enough to find that scene in alternative music.  I started playing in 2006 with Sufjan Stevens and immediately joined his band as a featured soloist.  I then began touring with bands such as The National, Rufus Wainwright, The Plastic Ono Band, Angus and Julia Stone, Martha Wainwright, My Brightest Diamond, Gabriel Kahane, and many other artists.  I joined Bon Iver in 2011 and won two grammy’s for the band’s sophomore record in the same year that my group yMusic released it’s debut record which was named Time Out New York’s Number 1 classical record.  Since then I have become a member of Paul Simon’s band, toured and played with Sting, and played on over 200 recordings total in the last ten years.

Dang!  You’re a busy guy and playing with some the best musicians from so many different styles – that’s what we’re all about here at FONT Music, as you know.  So yMusic will be playing at Rockwood for our opening night – what is up with yMusic these days?

cj ymusic ben folds

yMusic with Ben Folds

yMusic is a lot of my musical focus these days.  We are releasing a record this fall with Ben Fold’s that I co-produced/arranged called “So There” and will tour that a bit.  yMusic is in residency at New York Live Arts and we have  a number of exciting commissions we’ll be premiering there including a performance with Bill T. Jones.

That all sounds awesome!  What else can we expect to see you doing coming up?

I’ve been recording a bunch with Paul Simon, Jose Gonzalez, The Tallest Man on Earth, and many other exciting artists and hope to get back into the studio with yMusic in early 2017 to get started on our 3rd record.

So you’re curating our opening night at Rockwood Music Hall with Stephanie Richards called “Without A Frame”.  We recently chatted with Brandon Ridenour (see article here) who will be playing at that concert with his group FOUNDERS.  yMusic will be playing and so will Asphalt Orchestra.  It looks to be an amazing evening!  Give us some insight into how you got to curating this evening.

CJ 1When I was asked to curate an “indie classical” concert at FONT Music this year my initial reaction was to not do it!  I think that the classical trumpet repertoire is in my opinion probably one of the worst collections of pieces in existence and I just don’t know why!  So many other instruments have so many great pieces but I’ve always found our repertoire extremely lacking.  I don’t want to go to a concert and hear the Hadyn Trumpet Concerto or the Arutunian ever again (isn’t that what college is for)?  That’s just my opinion.  I started to look around though and there is so much interesting music happening in the trumpet world right now that has a strong classical backbone yet is hard to put a label on.  I wanted to put together a night that featured these kinds of classical trumpet centered ensembles/performers that are really pushing the boundaries of what we call classical music.  I think it should be a fun night.

Totally agree – we can’t wait to check out this amazing night of music.  Thanks again C.J., we’ll see you next week!

Buy your ticket to our FONT Music 2015 Opening Concert “WITHOUT A FRAME” on Sept 24th (8:30pm) @ Rockwood Music Hall here!!

More info on C.J.: As a trumpet player, french hornist, arranger, and keyboard player, C.J. Camerieri has enjoyed an active, diverse, and exciting career since completing his classical trumpet training at Juilliard in 2004. He has become an indispensable collaborator for numerous indie rock groups as a performer, arranger, improviser, and soloist and is a co-founder of the contemporary classical ensemble yMusic. yMusic’s debut record was named Time Out New York’s #1 Classical Record of 2011, the same year that Camerieri won two Grammys as a member of Bon Iver for the band’s sophomore record, which later reached gold status. He is currently the newest member of Paul Simon’s band, joining for 2014’s “Paul Simon and Sting: On Stage Together” tour.

CJ began working in alternative music as the trumpet player and keyboard player for Sufjan Stevens in January of 2006.  He then went on to tour the world as a member of Rufus Wainwright’s band in 2007-2008 before starting yMusic with Rob Moose in the spring of 2008 and later joining Bon Iver in 2011 while also touring with the Plastic Ono Band and The National.  In 2014 CJ became the newest member of Paul Simon’s touring band.

As an arranger, trumpet player, french horn player, and keyboardist C.J.’s discography includes well over 200 recordings including current and forthcoming releases by Paul Simon, Bon Iver, yMusic, Sufjan Stevens, Rufus Wainwright, The Tallest Man on Earth, David Byrne, Antony and the Johnsons, Martha Wainwright, Loudon Wainwright III, Aero Flynn, Gabriel Kahane, The National, Angus and Julia Stone, Ingrid Michaelson, The Staves, My Brightest Diamond, Sean Lennon, Yuka Honda, GOASTT, Jesse Harris, She and Him, Harper Simon, Chris Garneau, Clare and the Reasons, Welcome Wagon, Anthony Coleman, ACME, The New York Trumpet Ensemble, Argento New Music Ensemble and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra.

Check out this great video interview with C.J.: 

Here’s ymusic’s website:
Here’s C.J.’s website:

Catching Up with FONT Music 2015 Artist: Thomas Bergeron

tom 1Thomas Bergeron is one of those trumpeters who does it all – and really well!  As comfortable in the jazz world as he is in the classical world and in the creative contemporary music world, he continues to blur the line of what these genres might even mean to someone.  This is why we are big fans of him here at FONT Music.

He will be presenting music from his latest project “Sacred Feast” at The Dimenna Center (Benzaquen Hall) on Sept 25th for FONT Music 2015.  We are seeing this as a DO NOT MISS performance (buy your ticket here).  Not only is he a great artist, trumpeter and composer – he’s also a great guy and we had a blast chatting with him today.  Here’s what he had to say…

Hey Thomas, thanks for chatting with us a bit today, we’re really excited to experience your show in couple weeks at The Dimenna Center – we’re so glad to have you on the program this year.  I was surprised to hear this is your first time presenting with us.  You are a great example of a “Crossing Genre Artist” we like here at FONT Music. We’ve found that FONT Music means different things to different people and artists, what does it mean to you?

I’ve been an admirer of FONT Music for years, and has become an important and influential force in the creative trumpet community, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.  To me, FONT Music is one of the most forward-thinking “New Music” festivals because it recognizes and embraces the many forms and genres that should fall under the heading of “New Music”, and focuses on the post-academic paradigm where performers are composers and vice-versa.

Right, that’s a great point about the performer being the composer and vice versa.  In our community, you rarely are seeing the sole “composers”, but more so the performer is writing for themselves and others they are closely related to.  In some ways, it becomes a bit more personal that way I suppose.

Among the many accolades for your new album “Sacred Feast”, the head honcho here at FONT Music Dave Douglas  has said some pretty awesome stuff about your new project.  “A really fine, beautiful statement. Subtle and rich … I can’t think of another player anywhere that could pull this off”. That’s pretty awesome…

Because Dave is such a model for me as an artist, as soon as “Sacred Feast” was finished, I sent the tracks over to him.  I assumed that I was one of dozens of artists sending him material every week, so didn’texpect a response.  He not only listened to it, but wrote me an email from the airport with his thoughts!  How cool is that? This meanttom 2 so much to me, and again shows how committed Dave is to supporting young artists and trumpeters.  I was obviously thrilled when he asked me to perform at FONT Music this year.  I hope that in time I can pay it forward by supporting future generations of FONT Music artists.

Dave Douglas has long been a huge creative and professional inspiration to me, and this Festival is a perfect example of why that is. On top of being a prolific creative force, stunning improviser, and virtuosic trumpeter, Dave is devoted to furthering the art form by supporting other creative artists, especially trumpeters.

Yeah, Dave’s a pretty amazing guy!  So, for those of us new to Thomas Bergeron, can you give us a brief history?  What have we missed thusfar?

This is a loaded question! I spent a good portion of my early years working in the classical world, both orchestra and chamber music.  During this time I was mostly focused on honing my trumpet playing.  Because I was taking orchestra auditions (and every freelance gig felt like an audition), I became obsessed with developing my soundtom 3 and perfecting my technique. I soon realized that sound development and technical work would be never-ending pursuits.

It wasn’t long before I grew hungry for more creative outlets. I had played jazz for as long as I was a trumpet player, but after college I became more intensely interested in improvising and composing (and their intersections). It wasn’t until I arrived at Yale for graduate school that this became a career focus. Yale is primarily focused on classical chamber music, but there were a few fantastic jazz musicians in the program (and luckily for me they were rhythm section players :)).  We put together a small jazz group, which provided an oasis of creativity for me. I wanted to convince the school that jazz performance practice had a place within their established chamber music curriculum. My strategy was to arrange jazz versions (written for jazz players) of the music of classical composers like Debussy, Villa Lobos, Chopin, and Ravel.

I love it – change the system from the inside out!  Including your musical history and interests creating something unique.  And this brought you to your first album?

My first jazz album interpreted the music of Claude Debussy (“The First of All My Dreams“).  I was encouraged by the response to the music, especially when we performed live.  We would constantly hear jazz fans saying they didn’t realize how cool Debussy was, and classical fans saying they never thought they’d enjoy a jazz show so much. While I was working on this creative outlet in the jazz realm, my classical career continued to have a life of its own.Betts Family, March 1, 2014,Bedford Ma

I’m now going into my fourth season as principal trumpet with the Springfield Symphony, my third season with the Atlantic Brass Quintet, and I recently finished a two-year residency at Carnegie Hall with Ensemble ACJW.  Working with these ensembles is of course immensely rewarding, not only because I get to perform alongside some of the worlds greatest players, but because I’m constantly exposed to some of the greatest music ever created.  As a composer, jazz musician and improviser, I feed heavily off of the music that I’m exposed to in classical settings.

Wow – you’re ALL over the place musically, that’s so cool!  And you’re drawing all areas of your musical interests into your creative playing and writing!  So unique and personal!  What can we expect next from you?

While promoting “Sacred Feast“, I’m always thinking about new material.  I’m currently working on some ideas for smaller jazz groups (trios and quartets), and I’m also writing some new music for the Atlantic Brass Quintet.  This is exciting to me because Atlantic is a traditional brass quintet made of up virtuoso players, but most of the players are also stellar improvisers with firm footing in the jazz world (like our trombonist Tim Albright, for example).  The variety of skill sets in the ensemble opens up a lot of doors compositionally.  I tend to pick a point on the horizon to sail towards, but allow the winds to blow me to a new course if they want to. So who knows, man?  In general just trying to stay creative, stay healthy, and continue working hard to serve the world of music.

Yes… serving the world of music, that sounds about right. Do you have any big classical projects coming up?

As for nerve-wracking classical projects … there are a few coming up.  Most notably, I’m performing the Haydn Trumpet Concerto, as well as Copland’s Quiet City with the Springfield Symphony in November (along with Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks … yes all on the same program … yikes).

So, Sacred Feast is your newest album out taking a “different” look at the music of Messiaen.  Can you give us some insight?

I became captivated by the music of Olivier Messiaen when I was studying with one of his students, Joan Panetti, who teaches a course at Yale called “Hearing”.  What struck me most was his ability to manipulate harmony and tone color to magical effects.  Messiaen was known as a mystic, and perhaps more famously as a devout Roman Catholic (someone tell the Pope this concert is happening on the day he’s in NYC!).

Right!  He’ll be a half mile away from you when you’re performing “Sacred Feast” – we’re seeing that as more providence than coincidence here.  We’ll save him a seat.

Seriously … Tell the Pope this show is happening while he’s in town.  He will love it.  He probably already loves Olivier Messiaen’s music.  If he hasn’t heard of Olivier Messiaen, he should.  If ever there was a Pope in history who would enjoy a jazz Messiaen show, it’s Pope Francis.

We totally agree.  We’ll see what we can do … Speaking of spiritualness of the music, how does the music affect you?

tom 4I am not a religious person per se, but Messiaen’s music takes me to a place that I can only describe as spiritual.  That’s why I created this project.  I wanted to expose people to his music who might not otherwise find it.

The band has only sunk deeper into the music through the numerous performances we’ve given since the recording sessions (I’ve often thought that bands should re-record their albums at the end of the tours that promote them. It could be like a musical version of one of those before/after pictures in weight-loss ads).

Ha!  Yeah, the music evolves so much over time – that’s actually kind of a cool idea.  The before and after musical shots… I’d be totally interested in hearing something like that.  Tell us a little bit about what to expect on Sept 25th for your concert at The Dimenna Center (Benzaquen Hall) for the Festival?

This FONT Music performance has turned into quite a special affair, with the addition of a fantastic string section and the brilliant Becca Stevens (who sings a 3-part song cycle of Messiaen’s on the record, in addition to his Vocalise).  The icing on the cake is that my friend and Pakistani tabla master Yousuf Kerai will be in town that weekend, so I’m re-arranging a number of our pieces to allow him to join us. I met Yousuf while visiting Karachi in January.  Just a few days after meeting him, we put together a concert with some local musicians in which we combined Eastern and Western musical practices.  Yousuf is the real deal when it comes to tabla.  He grew up in Pakistan and studied with Ustad Khurshid Hussain.  I remember him describing tabla as a “means of discourse”, which is a particularly apt description in the context of our collaboration.

It’s been such a pleasure talking with you, and we can’t wait to hear this pretty special concert!

Thank you for supporting contemporary music and people crazy enough to devote their lives to playing the trumpet. You’re making the world a better place.

We seem to think so too – glad you agree!  Okay, so if we DO get a hold of The Pope, how can we entice him to stop by?

My suggestion, if you have his ear:“Excuse me Your Holiness, there is a concert happening across town tonight entitled ‘Sacrum Convivium’ (use the latin, trust me). Music inspired by the great Catholic composer Olivier Messiaen, including performers from Pakistan, Japan, and the US.  Would you like to attend?”How could he say no?

Well, if you didn’t convince him, you’ve convinced me!  Thanks Thomas!

Get more info about Thomas at his website:

Here’s a great clip of “Porquoi” from the “Sacred Feast” recording session:

Thomas Bergeron’s Bio: A trumpeter, composer, producer, and educator known for excelling in both the jazz and classical realms, Thomas Bergeron exemplifies a new breed of 21st century artists. In addition to his own hybrid jazz chamber ensemble, Thomas performs as a sideman with many jazz groups in NYC, is member of the Atlantic Brass Quintet and principal trumpet with the Springfield Symphony. He recently concluded a 2-year residency at Carnegie Hall with Ensemble ACJW, and has performed with Vampire WeekendThe Danish National Symphony Orchestra, The American Symphony, The Temptations, Idina Menzel, Judy Collins, Jon IrabagonArlo Guthrie, Ernie Watts, and the Radio City Christmas Orchestra, among others. His network television appearances include Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and CBS This Morning.As an educator, Thomas is dedicated to sharing music in communities that would not otherwise be able to access it.  He currently teaches inmates at Sing Sing Maximum Security Correctional Facility through Musicambia, and is an educational consultant for The Harmony Program in New York City. Thomas has held teaching positions at Williams College, Bennington College, Yale, and Amherst College.  He holds two advanced degrees from Yale, where he won the Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition and received the John Swallow Award for excellence in brass playing.  He also holds a business management degree from UMass Amherst.Thomas is a Conn-Selmer Artist, performing on Bach Artisan Stradivarius Bb and Eb/D trumpets, the Bach Stradivarius Chicago C trumpet, and the Conn Vintage One flugelhorn.

Catching Up with FONT Music 2015 Artist: Joe Moffett

joe moffett 2 (rob miller)

Photo Credit: Rob Miller

 Joe Moffett refers to his career as “lifestyle” – we here at FONT Music agree that in itself sums up a creative artists world.  An artist’s work goes beyond just a form of income … it’s deeper and more complex.  Joe nailed it on it’s head.  We are honored to be showcasing Joe this year on our second night of Visionary trumpet concerts at The Downtown Gallery on Sept 28 starting at 7pm.  

Joe will be doing a full set solo.  That in itself is not only a huge physical feat for a trumpet player, but conceptual one, as well.  No one else to lean on or rely on in any fashion … we can’t wait to hear what he has to present to us.  It was a pleasure chatting with Joe regarding his “lifestyle” as a true forward looking artist, and definitely will strike a chord for all of us staying true to the artist within us.  

Thanks for chatting with us, Joe.  We’re so glad to have you on the roster this year with FONT Music 2015!  Let’s jump right into it – you’re doing a SOLO set on the trumpet on Sept 28!  Can you give us some insight into how you’re preparing for this show?

Nate Wooley contacted me a little while back, asking me if I would be interested in doing something at the festival this year.  This is actually my first time really being involved in FONT.  I was flattered to have been asked, and of course said yes immediately. The timing was perfect in a way – Nate suggested I do something out of my comfort zone and I had just recently begun seriously working on solo performance. So this became a good opportunity to present a set of solo pieces.

I have two pieces, “Vector” and the other tentatively titled “Shell.” Theyjoe moffett 1 are sonically quite different from each other but both deal with issues of perception, from the performer’s and the audience’s perspective. At the heart of the two pieces – and I say pieces not because they are through-composed but rather are improvisations set within a conceptual framework – remains a focus on individual sound events, their emergence and dissipation. I am being intentionally vague so as not to create a concrete image in your mind prior to the event. I’m excited to do them and am currently fleshing them out more in preparation for the evening.

Wow – thanks for the background and sneak peek at your concept going into the solo set.  We can’t wait to hear it!  Give us a little back story on you.

I started my career (the word “lifestyle” might be more accurate) working in free improvisation and free jazz, starting when I was in my undergrad at New England Conservatory. I was based in Boston for a few years after graduating until I made the move to New York, where I have lived for six years.

So, since moving to NYC, what kind of projects have you been focusing on?  What’s some of your recent projects we should be on the lookout for?

I’ve performed in and recorded with various groups over the years and have most recently been working mainly with two ensembles I co-founded – Twins of El Dorado, with vocalist Kristin Slipp (pictured below) and Earth Tongues, with percussionist Carlo Costa and tubist Dan Peck. The twojoe moffett twins groups are quite different. Where Twins is concerned mainly with new approaches to art song, performs mostly very concise pieces, and uses improvisation sparingly (or more “structurally” rather than an open-ended approach), Earth Tongues focuses on creating long-form improvised pieces, and we are working on a conception that plays with the idea of a performance that borders on installation. And of course there is my solo thing, which I am excited to be developing.

Those sound really intriguing!  You have a lot going on … what can we look forward to in the coming days for the “lifestyle” of Joe Moffett?

It’s hard to say on the long-term scale. Life is mysterious, and a career in music is a particularly interesting challenge. I certainly plan to keep performing as much as I can and try to get out of town more – that will be a major focus. I’m also becoming more interested in taking on projects that are larger in scale than an individual performance here and there. I’m in the midst of planning a commissioning and premieres project with Twins, for example, which will involve more people than just the core group and will of course include material not written by us.

I feel some uncertainty, as probably a lot of musicians and artists do, about what it means to try to develop as (or into) an artist and how that relates to the concept of a career. But I’m working on it.

Man, thanks for being so transparent on what I feel so many artists think about, but don’t always share openly.  I think that’s a really important part of the artistic struggle, but the more we talk about it, the more we can unitedly move forward.  Thanks!

Thanks to FONT Music for having me this year. I’m really looking forward to it.

The feelings are mutual!!

Purchase tickets to Joe’s solo set on Sept 28 (7-10pm) at The Downtown Gallery here. The night will also include two other “visionary” trumpet players and their bands, Jaimie Branch and Brandon Lewis.

Check out this video of Joe with his group, Earth Tongues (Video by Brooke Herr):

Earth Tongues at Panoply Performance Lab from Joe Moffett on Vimeo.

About Joe Moffett:
New York-­based trumpeter and improviser Joe Moffett approaches his work with a keen interest in unconventional sounds and forms, collective composition, solo instrumental performance, and the intersection of words and music. He is a regular participant in the improvised/experimental music scene in Brooklyn and is a co-founder of ensembles such as Earth Tongues, Twins of El Dorado and the Kaplan/Merega/Moffett Trio. His material appears on Neither/Nor, Underwolf, Eh?, NotTwo, and Prom Night Records.

Keep up to date on Joe’s blog:

Catching Up with FONT Music 2015 Artist: Brandon Ridenour

The ongoing question of “How do we save classical music?” has been looming for years it seems.  Luckily, in the creative world, multiple ensembles are not just asking the question, they are finding unique ways to SOLVE it.  FONT Music 2015’s opening concert “Without A Frame” will be held at Rockwood Music Hall on Thursday September 24 at 8:30 where we will be featuring three of contemporary classical music’s forward looking, genre bending “classical” ensembles – yMusic, Asphalt Orchestra and Founders.  It’s hard to truly call them “classical” groups as they start in one camp and jump constantly around to countless others. We’ll be spotlighting these groups in the next few weeks to give you a sneak peek for this exciting evening.

brandon 1Today we catch up with FONT Music, Canadian Brass and Juilliard alumni and all around great trumpeter, pianist and musician, Brandon Ridenour.  What doesn’t he do?  We’re still trying to figure that one out.  His latest musical project brings together 5 classically trained musician in a more “Singer Songwriter” setting – bringing both covers of multiple genres and originals to listeners ears.  If this is what the future holds for classical music, I think we’re in for a treat.  Here’s what Brandon had to say to us!

Thanks for chatting with us Brandon.  You’re not a stranger to FONT Music.  You played a few years back, right?  What did you present then?
The last FONT Music concert I recall being involved in was back in 2008. I played an arrangement of mine of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time – written for trumpet w/ electronic effects, electric guitar, bass guitar, synthesizer, piano, and auxiliary percussion.On a Messiaen side note, Thomas Bergeron’s “Sacred Feast” features works of Messiaen reinterpreted on Sept 25 at The Dimenna Center this year (coincidence?  Maybe…).  This year you’re coming back to us with a whole new project – singer-songwriter meets classical.  A match made in heaven, in my mind.  Tell us a bit about this group.

Founders is the group I’ll be playing with at FONT Music this year. It’s a singing-songwriting group of classical musicians. I was told the working theme of this FONT Music event was something like “Indie Classical”.brandon founders  So yeah, you could call us that. We do some originals, some arrangements. Sometimes there are vocals, sometimes not. The other instruments are violin, viola, cello, bass. I alternate between trumpet and piano depending on what the song calls for. Like yMusic, we might appear to be a classical group, but we don’t necessarily sound classical. Better to experience it in concert than for me to keep rambling about it…Yeah, we’re looking forward to the experience, but we don’t mind your rambling.  Give us a rundown as to what you’ve been up to over the years since your days at Juilliard.

I played with the Canadian Brass from 2006-13. My father and girlfriend are both professional pianists, and I play trumpet/piano

canadianbrass concerts with them quite often. I’ve also been performing a new piece I wrote for solo trumpet and orchestra – based on Paganini’s theme from Caprice No. 24.I’ve also started an ensemble called Useful Chamber, which I direct. It’s a chamber ensemble collective that brings the classical sound
world to singer songwriters. The ensemble’s instrumentation is flexible, but always acoustic. Could be as small as 3 instruments, orbrandon 2as large as a 20 piece chamber orchestra. Our debut album “A Dream Within A Dream” uses the full ensemble, featuring a major mixture of musical minds. Melodies are intertwined from Debussy, Mahler, Glass, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and current writers/singers Leila Adu, Elliot Cole and….me. It’s a fun project. Maybe FONT 2016??

Doesn’t sound like a bad idea … we’re really looking forward to Sept 24th!  Thanks for chatting with us!


Check out Brandon Ridenour’s website:
Check out Founders website:
Check out this video of the Founders recording session: