A Century of American Solo Trumpet Music

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McNamara, Anne Kovarik
Gekker, Chris
As a perpetual student of the trumpet's history, pedagogy, and literature, I always try to find new resources and pieces to learn in order to effectively perform and teach at a high level. My dissertation focuses on major American works for the instrument. Through my selection of characteristic repertoire, I explore pieces that provide landmark examples of the evolution of American trumpet music. The organization of my recitals is chronological. My first recital features music from the early twentieth century (1912-1951), the second features music from the middle of the twentieth century (1956-1988), and the third features music from the late twentieth century to the present (1992-2013). My dissertation includes music other than pieces for solo trumpet and piano. While six of my pieces are for this instrumentation, one is for cornet and piano (originally for cornet and band), one is for flugelhorn and piano, five are chamber works involving various instrument combinations including strings and percussion, one is for unaccompanied trumpet and one is for unaccompanied flugelhorn. Performance and careful analysis of these works reveal certain trends in American trumpet music of the past century. Many of the pieces included here contain elements of jazz such as ragtime rhythms, wa wa effects, and stylistic inflections. Other pieces show a strong influence from Aaron Copland's compositional style. His penchant for quartal and quintal harmony has become synonymous with the American sound; other composers such as Halsey Stevens, Kent Kennan, Eric Ewazen, and Jim Stephenson have used similar musical material in the works I have selected.
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