Hodel and McWilliams perform modern, contemporary pieces

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Samantha Schwanke/Winonan

Winona State University’s Music Department hosted trumpet player Martin Hodel and piano player Kent McWilliams for a concert in the PAC Recital Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

Hodel is currently an associate professor of music at St. Oalf University and has played with top groups such as the Minnesota Orchestra, where he is currently a substitute player.

He is also a principal and solo trumpet player in the Eastman Wind Ensemble. He has toured throughout Japan, Germany and the United States. He played a piccolo trumpet, trumpet and flugelhorn all with bright, clear and fluid tone.

McWilliams also teaches at St. Oalf University, but has previously taught in Canada. He has worked with groups across the nation and the world, including Poland, Germany and Canada.

He is also an active clinician and presents performances and pedagogy workshops across the nation. He displayed extreme skill and was a very technical player, being able to do complicated rhythmic patterns with ease.

The concert set was a great balance between modern and contemporary works with twists of classic and jazz.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it!” said Lior Shragg, music liberal arts major and jazz studies minor at Winona State.

“It was a really good program set, chronologically and the musical works themselves,” Shragg said. “A lot of the time the music department picks very classical performers so it was nice to have some modern pieces.”

Hodel and McWilliams played five pieces, starting with Giuseppe Tartini’s “Concerto in D Major for Trumpet and Orchestra”, then “Sonata for Trumpet and Piano” by Daniel Kallman.

During the tour that Hodel and McWilliams were on, which ended with Winona State, the sonata was their world premiere piece.

“We got a grant and had Kallman write it,” said Hodel during a performance break, “I knew Kallman because he’s actually my neighbor! I convinced him because it’s so hard to find a 19th century piece for trumpets and we players just love them.”

The third piece, “Soleil for Piano Solo” by Denis Gougeon, was a solo for McWilliams.

“Our set is so challenging that Hodel begged me for a break so here I am!” said McWilliams.

His solo, though short, provided the audience with a short lesson.

Soleil means sun and the piece reflected several sun related ideas, such as a sunset, sunrise and comet flares.

Each sun idea was represented with some sort of fast piano run or dissonant chord progression, which McWilliams executed with extreme skill.

The concert finished with “The Avatar” by Steve Rouse and “Sonata for Trumpet and Piano” by David McIntyre. These pieces showed the range of the players and how easily the players could switch between styles of playing and also their ability to balance soft and powerful lines.

Overall Hodel and McWilliams played exceptionally well together. They were able to balance very well, switching between melody and accompaniment with seamless skill.

Contact Samantha at [email protected]