by Daniel Hathaway

ISRAEL-ShacharIt’s a fine thing when your business doubles from one year to the next. In June of 2012, when Cleveland Orchestra assistant principal trombonist Shachar Israel launched the Cleveland Trombone Seminar, the week-long event brought seventeen trombonists to the Cleveland State University campus for master classes, workshops and performances. This year CTS expects thirty-four participants and associates. “We’re extremely happy with the response,” Israel told us last week in a cell phone conversation while he was enroute to Penn State to rehearse and play a recital. “This year they’re coming from as far away as California and ages range from 18 to 45. Thirteen out of the seventeen from last year were going to come back, though two eventually had to back out. Return customers were not something we were planning on, but we seem to offer something they want and need.”

This year’s seminar, which runs from June 8 through June 16, is a day and a half longer and two new faculty members have been added. “Based on questionnaires from last year, players wanted more orchestral focus and more attention to jazz and commercial music,” Israel said, thus Boston Symphony principal Toby Oft and internationally-renowned jazz trombonist Jiggs Whigham have been added to a roster that includes returning teachers Shachar Israel, Haim Avitsur and Mark Lusk. “We’ve also added an evening of two jazz sets at Nighttown featuring Jiggs Whigham and Paul Ferguson with a backup band of Paul Ferguson’s octet in which many of us will be playing. Being onstage with Paul and Jiggs will be really remarkable!”

Additionally, a new category of attendees has been added. “Associates are players whose minds are in the right place but are not yet physically or musically solid enough to play in the master classes.” Other sessions will be taught by guest faculty, including Samantha Basford (Feldenkrais), David Brockett (Wellness) and Birch Browning (Education).

Events that are open to the public begin with a recital by Shachar Israel on Saturday, June 8 at 4:00 pm in CSU’s Drinko Recital Hall, followed by 7:00 pm performances by the dozen professionals who make up the Great Lakes Trombone Choir on Monday, June 10, Mark Lusk on Tuesday, June 11, Haim Avitsur on Thursday, June 13. Toby Oft plays on Saturday, June 15 at 4:00 pm, and the seminar wraps up with a participants’ recital on Sunday, June 16 at 2:00 pm. The special jazz event at Nighttown on Friday, June 14 features Jiggs Whigham and the Paul Ferguson Octet in two sets at 8:00 and 10:00 pm.

Success breeds success, but what happens if interest in the Cleveland Trombone Seminar continues to soar and Shachar Israel finds himself neck-deep in applicants for next year? “Nothing’s too much to handle,” he says. “I’ll find a way to do more.”

Published on June 8, 2013

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