"Beautiful, evocative, mysterious, sensuous..."
American Record Guide
THE GIRL IN WHITE
About "The Girl in White"
Ballet No. 1 “The Girl in White” by Robert J. Bradshaw is influenced by the polyrhythms of traditional Mexican folk music and son styles. Bradshaw spent many evenings listening to and researching the history of this music, with the specific intention of influencing the creation of this work. This musical connection represents and celebrates Ackley’s own connnection to Latin America through performance, education and his family. During these studies, Bradshaw found this rich and diverse music beautifully complimented his own sense of rhythm and that it seamlessly integrated with the postminimalist foundation on which the composition is built.
The Girl in White was made possible by a University of South Carolina Provost’s Research Grant and through a social networking funding platform called Kickstarter. Supporters from throughout the world donated to the project to help support the creation, recording and premiere of the ballet.
This ballet is scored for trumpet, soprano saxophone, percussion, piano, two violins, viola, violoncello and contrabass (or chamber orchestra). The instrumentation presented here allows for both rich, lush sonorities and bright, colorful sounds - especially with the added use of a variety of trumpet mutes!
Harmonically, the composition is based on the relationship of two chordal structures. This relationship expands as the work progresses. This is by no means a hard and fast rule, as the composition is not serial; however, it provided a strong and defined harmonic pallet from which to build the suite.
Classical trumpeter, James Ackley, is an internationally acclaimed trumpet solo artist, recording artist, pedagog and author, with numerous appearances that have included orchestras, wind ensembles and chamber groups spanning the globe. Ackley has frequently performed as a recitalist throughout North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. On a tour through Venezuela, critics described him as "one of the best trumpet players in the world." The Hartford Courante described him as, "a true artist”, the Free Times called him “one of the nation’s top trumpeters” and the American Record Guide proclaimed him "absolutely amazing." James Ackley is currently under Andes International Management as a concert soloist and chamber artist.
Ackley received his B.M. from Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music and his M.M. from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Former teachers include Michael Sachs (principal trumpet of the Cleveland Orchestra), James Darling (former member of the Cleveland Orchestra), Mary Squire (former principal trumpet with the Ohio Chamber Orchestra), Eugene Blee (former principal trumpet of the Cincinnati Symphony) and additional studies with David Zauder (former second trumpet of the Cleveland Orchestra) and Alan Siebert of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Currently, Ackley is Associate Professor of Trumpet at the University of South Carolina School of Music after holding the same position at the University of Connecticut for six years prior. James has also taught at Youngstown State University, the National University of Colombia and the National Conservatory in Mexico. Formerly principal trumpet and soloist of the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra, Ackley has previously held positions as principal trumpet with other orchestras throughout Mexico, the United States and South America. He is currently a member of the award winning brass quintet, Bala Brass.
Ackley has had the opportunity to collaborate with musicians such as Sir George Solti, Francisco Rettig, Enrique de Patron, Placido Domingo, Fito Paez, Eddie Martinez, Arturo Marquez, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Leonard Bernstein, Christoph Eschenbach, Louis Lane, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, and JahJa Ling, among many others. He has also collaborated with notable modern composers such as Karim Al-Zand (Concertino for Trumpet and Orchestra), Robert J. Bradshaw (Sonata for Trumpet & other compositions), Cherilee Wadsworth-Walker (Suite for Unaccompanied Trumpet), Gordon Goodwin (Sonata for Trumpet and Piano), Erik Morales (Concerto for Two Trumpets and Band) and James Stephenson (a ballet to be composed in late 2014). He performed Bradshaw's Sonata for Trumpet and Piano at the 2004 International Trumpet Guild Conference (also recorded on his Recital Music for Trumpet album) and Al-Zand's Concertino for Trumpet and Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
Ackley has appeared as a guest artist on the "Music for Everyone" program of the Bogotá Philharmonic and on several national television programs in the countries of the U.S., Colombia, Paraguay, Venezuela, Ecuador and Mexico. He has recorded with several orchestras, most notably the Grammy Award winning Bogotá Philharmonic, as well as television, radio and movie scores. James has frequently performed as a soloist at the International Trumpet Guild Conferences (2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013). As a soloist, Ackley has performed in more than 30 countries.
His two solo recordings, Recital Music for Trumpet (2007 Claronade Records) and Lirico Latino: songs for trumpet (2008 MSR Classics) have both received critical acclaim, and as the founding member of the professional trumpet ensemble Tromba Mundi, he released their first CD (Tromba Mundi) under the MSR Classics label (2009). In 2010, James recorded Robert J. Bradshaw’s opera .Gabriel (2010 Beauport Classical), an opera about the dangers of withdrawing from society due to technology and networking. The trumpet plays one of the main characters, Gabriel, an enigmatic voice of hope, solitude and desperation. An additional recording of two trumpets and organ material was released in 2011, titled Eternal Source of Light Divine. In 2013, Ackley release a new CD titled New American Works for Trumpet, featuring a newly written ballet The Girl in White, with the trumpet as the solo instrument, by composer and friend Robert J. Bradshaw. Several projects will come to fruition in 2014, including the Bala Brass CD Revealed, the opera Plastic (by composer Robert J. Bradshaw), a recording of baroque music for trumpet and organ and a few video projects.
Ackley maintains an active performance and teaching schedule; performing solo recitals, concerts and clinics throughout the U.S. and abroad. He is often seen as a judge for the National Trumpet Competition (USA), since 2003, and has sat on the board of directors of the International Trumpet Guild. His musical arrangements and compositions are published under the editorial visage of Cimarron Music Press. His first published book, A Systemmatic Approach to Flexibility for Trumpet, has received much acclaim from some of the most prestigeous trumpeters of our time. You can find his book at Mountain Peak Press.
Robert J. Bradshaw
Focused on producing socially relevant works of art, ROBERT J. BRADSHAW's (b. 1970) music is inspired by historical events and influenced by his multi-cultural family including immigrants from Italy, Scotland and his maternal grandmother’s Jewish family that emigrated to America from Eastern Europe at the turn of the century.
Bradshaw spent his formative years surrounded by generations of artists and musicians including works by his great grandfather, George A. Bradshaw, whose etchings are part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection. Bradshaw’s artistic aesthetic, shaped by his family’s diverse heritage, continues to be directly impacted by his paternal grandfather’s art, a brilliant watercolorist and art historian, and maternal grandfather’s teaching, a 1940s jazz guitarist from New York City. Bradshaw’s music is a sophisticated fusion of these musical styles, celebrated as “wholly and unmistakably American”.
Commissions and recordings of Bradshaw’s works have been supported by leading arts organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the New England’s Music Drives Us Foundation. His music has often been heard in concert halls around the world, from Sydney, Australia to Bangkok, Thailand. In America, it has been performed in many prestigious venues including Lincoln Center and the Shakespeare Theatre Company's Sidney Harman Hall, featured as part of the Kennedy Center's International VSA Festival.
Bradshaw’s multifaceted music explores and expresses emotions associated with social, historic, sacred, and contemporary issues and events. Notable works include “The Girl in White”, a ballet celebrating the influence of Mexican culture on American music and “At the Root of Identity”, an electroacoustic composition exploring stereotype threat and its impact on personal performance. Bradshaw’s catalog includes operas, ballets, symphonies and an extensive list of chamber and solo compositions.
Commissions include works for the James Pappoutsakis Flute Competition, the New England String Ensemble Musical Heritage Initiative and the American String Teachers Association with NSOA. Of particular note is the Australian Trumpet Guild's commission of the opera “.Gabriel” which was also honored with a grant from the American Music Center, named winner of a Boston Metro Opera Mainstage Award, recorded by the Palmetto Camerata and premiered at the 35th Annual Conference of the International Trumpet Guild, 2010, courtesy of Opera Australia and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra.
In addition to composing, Bradshaw is also in high demand as a lecturer and teacher at all levels of education, frequently invited to teach at institutions throughout America, including recent lectures at Harvard University and Wake Forest University. A devoted advocate for the availability of music education for all children, Bradshaw accepts residencies where he helps children compose and perform their own music. He currently holds the position of Composer-In-Residence with the Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestras, Waring School, and is Director of the Young Composers’ Forum at the Tennessee Valley Music Festival.
Bradshaw explores diversity and social advocacy with his partner and flutist Catherine Branch through the Music of Difference project. MoD aims to transform the classical concert venue into a venue for positive conversations about disability and difference. Branch and Bradshaw’s collaboration began with the creation of “for Catherine”, a triple concerto directly founded on the rhythm of Catherine’s unique gait.
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