Thank you both for agreeing to speak to us - I know you're both extemely busy. Jonas, turning to you first - How did you get started on the trombone?
JB: Coming to the trombone was really just coincidence - there were no trombones in my school orchestra when I was nine so I took it up...
Did you play anything before that?
JB: Well recorder, but everyone plays recorder in Swedish schools! I don't come from a musical family but my music school was very active and I was lucky to have fantastic and inspiring teachers.
And how did your career progress as a professional?
JB: Well I started in the Oslo Philharmonic in the mid-80s and then I played for many years in the Stockholm Philharmonic. Since then I've become professor of trombone at the Hanover Music Academy and this is my 'day-job' - but I'm playing a lot as a soloist now.
Can you explain your role in Cors de Chasse to us - it's not a conventional concerto is it?
JB: It's interesting - because it's a double concerto; sometimes you're a conventional soloist with long solo parts, sometimes we're playing on equal terms and sometimes Håkan takes the lead - you have to adjust to each other and to the orchestra.
And the trombone isn't normally a solo instrument is it?
JB: No, not frequently
But the instrument has the most incredible range of pitch doesn't it? - I'm not sure audiences realise just how high a trombone can go...
JB: I didn't know myself until I saw this piece! This is taken to the absolute extremes actually... well saying that it's not like the piano - there's no actual limit on how high you can go - it depends on the player, but I've never seen a concerto with such an incredible range.
Håkan, does the piece present a technical challenge for you?
HH: Yes, but in different ways than you might expect - for me the trumpet part is complex because it's not standard brass writing - the part is often to me almost violinistic, so you have to try and express the emotions of the piece in a different way. Traditionally the trumpet is a very powerful instrument and one of the real challenges as a soloist is to convey other emotions and sounds.
Can you explain to me a little about being a brass soloist, because there's very little repertoire isn't there?
HH: For me when I started out on my solo career I didn't know how little. I played the Haydn which is our one truly great concerto from the classical canon, and then thought - what now? Pianists are so lucky - they just take the next great Beethoven concerto off the shelf, but now I look back I'm pleased because I've been so involved with new pieces, working with contemporary composers.
How many concertos are there for trombone?
JB: Until recently not many, but contemporary composers seem to like the trombone, and are inspired by the many talented players in the world today. The trombone also seems to me to suit the contemporary music language very well
Does this piece use any different 'contemporary' techniques?
JB: No, not at all really - there's one note with flutter tonguing, but it's mostly contemporary in terms of harmony and form rather than using specialist mutes, or multiphonics or anything like that.
Håkan, I'd really like to ask you about writing for brass instruments as we have a composer workshop coming up - what advice would you give to the composers?
HH: Actually I'd say to write what they want - it's our job as the musicians to get around the technical challenges... although what really interests me is the challenge of conveying different emotions through the trumpet sound. I really like different ideas - like this piece which is, as I said, like a violin part!
And finally Jonas, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring trombonists?
JB: Well not words of wisdom, but I hope every young musician can have the inspiring environment that I had - lots of young musicians see only the difficulties in becoming a musician and don't realise that, to me anyway, being a musician is an enormous joy and privilege.
- Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay Feature
- Carl Davis Interview
- Sokhiev Rite Of Spring
- Christine Brewer
- Christoph von Dohnányi Birthday
- Salonen and Lindberg
- Vladimir Ashkenazy 09
- Sokhiev On Three Choirs Festival
- Esa-Pekka Salonen on Classic FM
- Hickox on The Pilgrim's Progress
- Vladimir Ashkenazy Interview
- Nicola Benedetti Interview
- George Benjamin Interview
- Alfie Boe Interview
- Duncan Chapman Interview
- Laurence Davies Interview
- Christoph von Dohnányi Interview
- Gustavo Dudamel Interview 08
- Gustavo Dudamel Interview 06
- Charles Dutoit Interview
- James Ehnes Interview
- Boris Giltburg Interview
- Hardenberger & Bylund
- Richard Hickox Interview
- Lorin Maazel Interview
- Charles Mackerras Interview
- Esa-Pekka Salonen on Vienna
- Salonen: Season Opening
- Esa-Pekka Salonen Interview
- Gil Shaham Interview
- Akiko Suwanai Interview
- Lars Vogt Interview
- Paul Watkins Interview
- Sulki Yu Interview