Thursday, January 18, 2018

Can anyone help to make this reality?

Dr Sokol Saraci, Professor of Trumpet, University of the Arts, Tirana, Albania

 As a professional trumpet player I would describe the brass (especially trumpet) situation in Albania as follows:
The Albanian brass school has shown good progress, after enduring a poor and isolated political and economic history in Albania during the 1990s. Looking back, I can remember how hard it was for us. After graduating we had to build step by step a professional background, seeking out information that could help to make us well educated, so we could feel comfortable facing the world.
Contact with Western musical traditions and expanding our knowledge and exchanging artistic experiences with our American colleagues developed a complete different level in the Albanian brass school. It also gave professional players access to quality pedagogical sources, so of course most things are definitely getting better.
However, as a professional player, and professor and teaching every day in the University of Arts in Albania, I am concerned about many unresolved issues, in particular the diversity of trumpets. All Albanian trumpet players - orchestral performers, professionals and students - only have a Bb trumpet. This creates not only difficulties in performing original orchestrations in various music styles, but it also makes gives us huge problems with transpositions. However at present funds are not available for these additional instruments.
My desire is to create a real trumpet laboratory in the University to give the students the chance to play all types of instruments:  flugelhorn, cornet, trumpets in C, D and Eb, natural trumpet and piccolo trumpet. It would be amazing for them to feel all those sounds and to have the possibility to discover all the tone colours of each instrument, to experience a wide trumpet repertoire, and raise their playing to another level.
Being a teacher and guide to my students has always been my dream, and that is what I hope for the future – to open a new window for the next generation.. I will always search for improvement, which means sometimes dreaming of a different reality. As the great Richard Wagner said: ‘Imagination creates Reality’.
Dr. Sokol Saraci
Professor of Trumpet, University of the Arts, Tirana, Albania 2018

Sokol Saraci is professor of trumpet and director of the chamber music and wind instrument department in the University of Arts in Albania. His education started with a degree from the University of Tirana and continued with a master’s degree from the University of Tetovo, Macedonia. After that he won a Fulbright Scholarship to the Truman State University in Missouri USA. On returning to Albania he gained a PhD with his research into wind orchestras in Albania. His publication Trumpet and the Trumpet Player is a guide to daily practice. He is well known as a successful teacher, bringing inspiration, brightness and wisdom to his trumpet classes.
He has been principal trumpet in the National Opera in Tirana for many years. He also plays chamber music and appears as a concerto soloist in Albania and around Europe.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Someone to Watch in 2018

Thomas Simaku - composer - b. 1958

When Thoma (Thomas) Simaku first came to the UK from Albania in 1991 it was the beginning of a long and fruitful friendship with Emerson Edition. Little did we anticipate the musical heights he would achieve in subsequent years.The first work we published was his haunting Nokturn for clarinet and piano, which has been a favourite with clarinettists ever since. Fortunately for us he produced several more wind pieces before the big world took over, and he was able to develop his full potential internationally. He has been winning awards and prizes ever since. In 2013 he won the International Competition for Lutoslawski's 100th Birthday with Concerto for Orchestra. It was chosen from 160 compositions submitted anonymously from 37 countries. He now holds a senior position as Reader in Composition at the University of York.


Sea Images - flute & piano
From Across the Sea - flute trio
Nokturn - clarinet & piano
Four Wedding Songs and a Dance - clarinet & piano
Tanglewood Trio - clarinet, viola, piano
Andante & Scherzo - 4 bassoons
Six Albanian Folk-Songs - horn & piano
The Eagles - 4 tpt, hn, 4 tbn, tba
Hommage Igor Stravinsky - fl. ob. cl. bn. hn.
Elephas Maximus - 2fl, 2ob, 2cl, 2bn, cbn, 2hn