University of Saskatchewan

September 23, 2014   

U of S Music Professor is Featured Soloist on WCMA-Nominated Recording

Music professor Dean McNeill
June 12, 2012

A University of Saskatchewan music professor is a featured soloist on O Music, an album nominated for Classical Recording of the Year at the 2012 Western Canadian Music Awards (WCMAs).

Music professor Dean McNeill is solo trumpeter on the piece Kalla, which is also nominated for a WCMA – Classical Composition of the Year. The piece was created specifically for McNeill by Alberta composer Allan Gilliland, head of composition at Grant MacEwan University. The two are long-time friends who collaborated during the work’s commission in 2009.

The WCMA nominations were announced on June 5, 2012. The winners will be announced at the gala awards show on Sunday, September 30th in Regina as part of the BreakOut West weekend.

Kalla is the piece that keeps on giving,” McNeill says. “To be involved in the development and premiere of a piece is always exciting, but many works are not performed again after they premiere. To have Kalla rearranged and played by others, and to be recognized with a WCMA nomination is a wonderful honour.”

The word kalla is Norwegian for “call,” a concept that inspired and provided structural aspects of the work. Turn-of-the-20th-century New Orleans trumpeters would go down to the Mississippi River and play a note to see how long it took the echo to come back. Soon, another trumpeter would answer higher and louder, and an impromptu competition would begin. Kalla is based on this concept of call and answer that is so integral to jazz.

Stylistically considered a “crossover” piece for the trumpet soloist, Kalla draws upon both classical and jazz-inspired techniques, including traditional classical cadenzas with virtuosic runs and triple tonguing, and contrasting sections featuring plunger-mute techniques, a sound not often heard in the wind-band context.

The recording on O Music is performed by the New Edmonton Wind Sinfonia, conducted by Raymond Baril, and features soloists McNeill on trumpet and James Campbell on clarinet. It is available on CD distributed by the Canadian Music Centre.

Kalla was commissioned by the Canadian Band Association for the 2009 National Youth Band of Canada when McNeill was its professional guest artist, and funded through a grant from Grant MacEwan College’s Centre for the Arts Research and Scholarly Activity Fund.

A complete list of WCMA nominees can be found at http://breakoutwest.ca/wcma/.

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Media contact:

Michael Robin
Research Communications
University of Saskatchewan
(306) 966-1425
michael.robin@usask.ca

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