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Reviews & Comments

About the Music (from Musicians):

Darren Acosta
Trombonist, Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra:
About You Are Not Alone: Seven Unaccompanied Solos for Tenor Trombone:
"These solos are truly new. They are unlike any other unaccompanied solos I have ever done or seen. Each solo is expressive and has a real story to tell. Very evocative. No question about it!"

Joseph Alessi
Principal Trombonist, New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Commissioned and Recorded Arctic Emanations, for trombone and piano:
"Arctic Emanations is a fantastic work! The music is completely integrated with the capabilities of the instrument. The piece is very challenging and has many different moods. And the ending creates a stellar atmosphere!"

Glenn Dodson
Former Principal Trombonist, Philadelphia Orchestra
About Experiments in Music recording (music by Norman Bolter):
"I absolutely loved it!"

Tom Izzo
Director, The Naperville Area Trombone Ensemble and The Tombones (Sextet)
About Anew at Home recording, (music composed and performed by Norman Bolter):
"Just incredible!!! I can't even tell you which are my favorites. I love them all.... This is some of the finest Tenor playing I've heard in..., well, centuries. :) And what a craftsman as a composer!!!!!!"

Brian Kay
Bass Trombonist, Apollo Brass Quartet
About At Far, Brought Near, for trombone and piano:
"A beautiful and straightforward piece."

Randall Montgomery
Principal Tubist, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
About Clouncey, for tuba and piano:
"I was thrilled and honored to have you write Clouncey for me. It was an excellent choice for the final piece on my recital. The theatrics were enjoyable for me and for the audience, and my pianist even got into the act as well! The music is humorous and poignant at the same time. I look forward to performing it again."

Timothy Morrison
Film and Studio Recording Artist
About An Old Country Dance, for brass quartet:
"I love An Old Country Dance! It stays with you and has an ultimate catch about it. Lots of character, very evocative and theatrical and it's fun to play!"

Thomas Rolfs
Colleague, Boston Symphony Orchestra
"Norman seems to have that unique ability of capturing the essence of his thoughts and conveying them in the form of music."

Charles Schlueter
Former Principal Trumpeter, Boston Symphony Orchestra
"Norman Bolter is a very talented and prolific composer. I have heard many of his compositions and all of them are unique in conception and execution. He has written for many different instruments and unusual ensembles. All of Mr. Bolter's compositions for trumpet, that I am familiar with, are extremely well suited to the instrument. He exploits all of its possibilities: lyrical, dramatic, range of timbre, virtuosity, and emotional. I have performed and premiered three of his works: "On the Cusp," for solo trumpet with brass and percussion ensemble, written specifically for me, which I premiered in 2000 and recorded in 2004; "Immersions," for unaccompanied trumpet, for which I performed the world premiere in Brazil in 2004 and also performed in Japan and Italy; and "Marsha's Gift," for trumpet and piano, which I premiered in 2005 and recorded in August 2007. I look forward to any and all future compositions of Mr. Bolter's and specifically those for trumpet."

Gus Sebring
Associate Principal French Hornist, Boston Symphony Orchestra
"Norman Bolter writes music that, for me, connects to the elemental forces of nature. His music is infused with passion and drama, and it resonates in the visceral core of my being. His art is well-crafted, with a good sense of what lies naturally on the instruments he composes for. Only a true master of the trombone could expand the capabilities of the instrument as he does. Norman's music often leaves me with a sense of the smallest perfect molecular structure being in perfect balance and proportion to the extra-universal reality. For me his song is direct, meaningful, flowing and effective. ...a direct connection to a most vital musical soul."

Steve Shires
Founder, S.E. Shires Co., custom trombones
"Your legacy will be a new generation of thinking trombonists."

Tom Smith
Trumpeter, New York Philharmonic Orchestra
About Three Selections from The Gem Suite, for brass ensemble:
"The Gem Suite for brass ensemble represents a perfect union of instruments for purpose. The nobility, simplicity of character and deep sonorities of the piece are brought forth through these same qualities of brass instruments. Norman Bolter's warm thoughts and vivid colors are displayed by the warmth of breath and timbre of brass."

Charles Vernon
Bass Trombonist, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
About Of Mountains, Lakes and Trees, for solo bass, tenor and alto trombones and orchestra:
"I'm honored to play Of Mountains, Lakes and Trees as many times as possible! Awesome sounds and atmospheric conditions! THANK YOU!"

David Waters
Bass Trombonist, Houston Symphony Orchestra
Associate Professor of Trombone, Shepherd School of Music, Rice University
"Norman Bolter's music is amazing and wonderful. Like other well known virtuosos who composed music for their performances, such as Arthur Pryor, J.J. Johnson, and Fritz Kreisler, he has created a style that is perfectly suited to the trombone. This music is highly effective, and it compares musically to that of many major composers. His music is very original and covers many areas of human experience, from intimate, personal, to extremely dramatic, to light and whimsical. I have found all of these pieces to be very listenable, challenging and directly emotional. These works are really valuable for our repertoire. I am anxious to see what he writes next!"

R. Douglas Wright
Principal Trombonist, Minnesota Orchestra
About Occurrence, trombone duet, and Solar Voyages I, for trombone and brass ensemble with percussion:
"Occurrence transcends the trombone duet repertoire. It is the first duo I have played that lifts both the audience and performers from their places, takes them on a journey, and puts them back - altered. Occurrence is a truly powerful piece."
"It is not often that I get a chance to play a piece as technically demanding, yet as inspired as Solar Voyages I. It stretches soloists' proficiency on the instrument as well as their musicianship. A magnificent addition to the trombone repertoire."

Douglas Yeo
Bass Trombonist, Boston Symphony Orchestra
About La Grotte Cosquer, tenor and bass trombone duet:
"La Grotte Cosquer is atmospherically evocative of a stunning and surprising encounter with both man and nature. It is immensely satisfying to both play and listen to as all involved become part of a remarkable world of water, land and prehistoric artistry."


About the Music (from the Press):

Boston Globe, Monday, February 18, 2002
Richard Dyer, Music Review - Bolter's trombone concerto a natural
"BSO trombonist Norman Bolter has composed most of his life. Yesterday he was soloist in the premiere of his own trombone concerto 'IOURS' with Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra under Isaiah Jackson. The piece is in three movements devoted to the moon, the earth, and the sun, respectively, and the music reflects Bolter's personal relationship to nature, ecology, and myth. It also reflects his relationship to the trombone, for it is both imaginatively and idiomatically written for the instrument, with magical muted effects (the stand holding the mutes even looked like a magician's table). The first movement is a sound-tapestry; the second is both tender and jazzy; the third is full of striding fanfares of praise....
...ideas are interesting and Bolter plays a mean trombone. A kindly one too. Jackson and the orchestra entered into the proceedings with enthusiasm."

Boston Herald, Monday, February 18, 2002
T.J. Medrek, Music Review - Pro Arte performs proficiently
"Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Isaiah Jackson, at Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, yesterday. ...a planetary encounter via Norman Bolter's marvelous new trombone concerto, 'IOURS'.... Bolter, a composer and, since 1975, a trombonist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, has created in 'IOURS' (pronounced EYE-oars) an altogether winning concerto that chamber orchestras should now be lining up to perform - if, that is, they can find a soloist capable of meeting its virtuoso demands the way Bolter himself did here. A 21st century man who hasn't forgotten humankind's place in the universe, Bolter composed this three-movement concerto to depict members of what he calls our 'cosmic family' - the moon (child), the Earth (mother) and the sun (father) - in musical terms focused on his own instrument, which he played fully voiced as well as muted in various ways. He even, briefly, sang through the trombone as he played it, a haunting effect. Bolter's music for the moon conjured up the vastness of space with long, widely spaced string notes onto which was grafted trombone music that was sweet and playfully childlike. The Earth, by contrast, sounded like a place of lush wonder with, however, echoes of the moon music to remind us of the gravitational ties - a cosmic umbilical cord, perhaps? - between mother Earth and child moon. Finally, the sun arose in blazing brass splendor, grand and just a bit forbidding - fatherly, indeed. Music Director Isaiah Jackson directed the work with customary confidence and polish..."

ITA Journal, Summer 1999
Michael A. Parnell, The 1999 Eastern Trombone Workshop in Review - Reflections at the Century's Closing
Guest Artists: "...Norman Bolter presented an entertaining program of his original compositions.... In the course of explaining his musical visions, Bolter invited us to 'shed our impressions of him' and to 'simply imagine ourselves in an atmosphere' [as if we were visiting him at his home]. In this voyage of imagination, his performance transcended the technical sense of the trombone, and all that remained was pure music." Concerts: "On Saturday evening, several artists joined the U.S. Army Orchestra, conducted by Lieutenant Colonel Tony Cason.... Norman Bolter [performed] a fiery composition, Passions of Survival.... Saturday night's Grand Concert was an impressive culmination of the three-day event.... As had been the case with earlier programs, Norman Bolter and his compositions took center stage. Bolter performed his Timeline Contemplations to lead off the evening. Tracing the composer's philosophical strife to rise above the mundane was quite powerful, putting his wonderful sound and expression to good use."

ITA Journal, Summer 1999
Douglas Yeo, Record Review - Anew at Home: Music composed and performed by Norman Bolter
"Boston Symphony Orchestra trombonist Norman Bolter has offered us something far more than just 'another' excellent trombone disc. Rather, he has raised the bar for players and listeners alike by creating a unique, challenging and stimulating experience. In recent years, Bolter has turned his attention to composition and has written over 60 works for various combinations of instruments, most including trombone. In addition to this he has begun, in conjunction with his wife, Carol Viera, to explore the 'why' of music - indeed its very essence - and together they have worked to create performing and listening environments which can make the experience of music a deep and meaningful one. It is within this framework that Anew at Home has been offered. Here is a recording which consists entirely of music of a single composer and is expertly performed by its creator. This in itself is a ground-breaking achievement. From the first sound on the CD, a shattering rimshot on snare drum in Dances of Greeting followed by the delicacy of finger cymbals, Anew at Home rivets the listener's attention. The 14 compositions cover a wide range of instrumentation and character, and Bolter's playing is a model of fluidity, beauty and trombone mastery. Yet his blistering technique, stunning range and expressive involvement never occur for their own sake. It is refreshing to see a trombonist create an album that not only goes below the surface of what we have come so often to expect, but which also builds a whole new foundation and creates an impressive model for what an album can be. Norman Bolter's music requires us to think, and in partnership with his wife, he has set out to impact us in unexpected ways. Obtain this album, listen, reflect; and then go and do likewise."

ITA Journal, Winter 1998
David J. Begnoche, Music Review - A Big Sound in Beantown
"Boston Symphony Orchestra trombonist Norman Bolter gave a recital of his own compositions at Jordan Hall in Boston.... Donning several caps in the evening's extravaganza, Bolter demonstrated his multitude of talents. As composer, conductor, speaker and performer, Bolter captivated in rapt attention all those in attendance.... The recital began with On With the Battle of Life for trombone choir. The juxtaposition of independent themes wove a tapestry of uplifting sonorities.... Next up was Passions of Survival for solo trombone and orchestra. It was clear from its dramatic opening statement that this was no ordinary trombone piece. From plaintive solo recitatives to bold themes echoed in unison brass, Bolter showed a total mastery of the instrument. Tender delicate moments gave way to powerful distinctive brass chorales. The fullest range of dynamic and expressive capabilities of the instrument was explored. It truly showcased the virtuosity of this talented trombonist and embodied the heart of its title. The Song of King David, for piano and trombone was to follow.... It flowed like the soulful wailing of a prayer with the subtle poignant feeling of resolve. The interplay between piano and trombone was artfully crafted and rendered. There was a softness of tone and expansive palate of colors in Bolter's playing, which drew the listener in and left the hall speechless. Finishing the first half was Ancient Twinkle Appearing for two tenor trombones and bass trombone.... Although each player had a distinct voice, they were intertwined with a clever playful quality. The grand finale for the evening was a triple concerto entitled Of Mountains, Lakes and Trees [for bass trombone, tenor trombone, alto trombone and orchestra]. This work was the entire second half with each movement featuring a different soloist.... The music was as dramatic as its stunning execution. It was indeed a thrilling conclusion to the evening's performance."

Online Trombone Journal, April 2005
Brent Phillips, Record Review - Return of the Alto: Ronald Barron, trombone
"Sky Dreams, a truly collaborative effort by the icons of the BSO [Norman Bolter's BSO colleague Ronald Barron performs Bolter's work] and composed specifically for this disc, brings a profound and modern element to this project. Norman Bolter stretches our imagination, renews our soul with a sense of destiny and perhaps order in this world of ours with this eclectic yet original composition. One can appreciate Mr. Bolter's vision and depth as we explore a sunset in late August in all of its glory, color, mystery and revelation. The opening statement of the work is solid. One gets a sense of the epic nature of this scene with this bold and thematic opening. As is the nature of a sunset, the mysterious element of this composition begins to unfold with gradually more contemplative, haunting and distant chants which begin to emerge with muted statements (con sordino) in the alto. As the night time constellation begins to emerge, the occasional shooting star, as echoed by muted glissandi juxtaposed to this haunting melody, might be discerned. The question of transcendence and how one fits into this grand design is demonstrated in this recording by the use of an alto harmon mute or some hybrid version thereof. The work may be interpreted as ending in the form of a question or perhaps the peace that one might find in being comfortable without feeling the need for an answer."

The Trombonist, Magazine of the British Trombone Society, Summer 1999
Dudley J. Bright, Record Review - At the Turn of the Century: Joseph Alessi, trombone
"Norman Bolter, trombonist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is an accomplished and prolific composer. His Arctic Emanations are deeply evocative of the freezing wasteland that gives the soloist opportunity to revel in extended tonal colours. If this seems inappropriate to that location, Bolter has used the inspiration of the spectacular Aurora Borealis to justify the richness of his invention. Here, as with the Crespo Improvisation, the composer's experience has enabled him to use the instrument's and Joe Alessi's capabilities (to whom the work is dedicated) to the full."


About the Studies and Texts:

Jim Nova
Assistant Principal Trombonist, Utah Symphony
Trombonist, Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra
About High Range Exercises:
"What struck me most about these exercises when I started doing them was how important the resting is to the development of high range. After a few weeks of doing these high range studies, I began seeing benefits. My main teacher at the time, Glenn Dodson, said, 'Your high range is sounding better and better these days. Have you been doing something different?' I explained to him that I was doing Norman Bolter's high range builders and he was very interested. My high range began to have a 'grip' and consistency it never had before."

Douglas Yeo
Bass Trombonist, Boston Symphony Orchestra
About Methods of Effective Practice:
"An excellent booklet about practicing.... It is clear, concise and the most useful written material I have seen on the subject."


About Coaching:

Lise Hoey Laursen
Singer and Music Therapist, Denmark
"Receiving personal coaching from Carol Viera has changed my life in profound ways. She has helped me find my own source of strength to be able to find and fulfil my wants and wishes in life, and to 'just keep going' when the going gets tough. When I have lost belief and sight of my way ahead, she has kept her belief in me and my vision, and has helped and encouraged me to find my own way 'back on track'. Her respect for and sensitivity to each person's unique pathway and needs is simply rare, and her very human and caring ways are inspiring me in my wish to help others too. And well, I just cherish the day I met her!!"

Michael Levine
Founder and Director, Dallas Brass
"The Dallas Brass had the good fortune to have a coaching session with Norman Bolter and Carol Viera. They opened our sense of awareness far beyond the mechanics of pitch, rhythm and balance. They had us focused on the energy of the music and of each other, and we found ourselves listening and sensing the music in a much more meaningful way. Norman and Carol are a wonderful team and are totally aligned in their thinking and approach regarding the spirit of the music and the art of music making. My only regret is that we can't work with them on a regular basis."

Tina Schaefer
Jazz Singer, Denmark
"I have received personal coaching from Carol Viera through e-mail and it was a most rewarding experience that has strengthened me in numerous ways and keeps doing so! When Carol speaks of wanting to help another's life bloom and wanting to genuinely see another life succeed - this is not just words, but is something I have personally found to be 'actual' and it is such a strengthening and value added experience in my life - to actually feel that someone else wants my life to bloom and succeed is a 'gifting' that has offered me comfort and confidence in myself and that has given me the strength to 'just keep going' and also has 'spurred me on' to find and grow belief in myself and wanting myself and others to win. Furthermore the coaching that Carol offers is very tangible and practical and it works!!! Inside of this I have time and again been stunned by Carol's insights and skills and her ability to coach me in a way that is and feels like it is 'tailor made' for me and what I 'can do' and what I am like."


About the Frequency Band:

Shelagh Abate
French Hornist, New York
"The Frequency Band is literally a global community. I continue to be amazed and inspired by the commitment, individuality, and the pure love of music that stems from all the members that come from across the globe to participate in FB retreats. When I am feeling negative, challenged, or uninspired, I draw from the positive energy of the other members. It is the perfect antidote to steer me into a better frame of mind; it is instant perspective."

Neal Bolter
French Hornist, Minneapolis
"The work and ecology of training that the Frequency Band provides has offered me great hope and renewed belief in why I originally was drawn to the Horn. The whole definition of a successful concert and of self evaluation has been redefined and brings me back to the love of playing and joy of music and not note perfection in which now a greater freedom is the result. What a relief."

Mark Broschinsky
Trombonist, New York
"It seems like every time I go to a [Frequency Band] retreat that it has been specifically geared to my needs. The things [Norman and Carol] discuss are such an important part of making music. One thing that stuck out from the last retreat was the idea of tuning to a different 'A.' Attitude is so important to having a good experience and making 'good' music."

John Faieta
Trombonist, Boston
"The [Frequency Band retreats] about music performance that Norman Bolter and Carol Viera organize are invaluable to me. In these sessions there is a lot of attention to how one approaches performance. The retreats have helped me to look at my own performance practices in ways I never imagined. It is a privilege to be part of this much needed group."

Zenas Kim
Trombonist, Boston
"As a musician, I feel that the [Frequency Band] experience was the most fulfilling experience I've had in a performance setting. Music seems to be the only tangible outlet for me to precisely communicate my thoughts, emotions, state of mind, etc. This reason of my love for music then goes back to why the Frequency Band concerts were so fulfilling for me. I cannot think of any other concerts I have played in where the collective goal and wish of the entire ensemble has been to communicate and make a difference in the lives and hearts of each person involved in the process, both the performer and listener. These concerts aren't just another concert I've played in the past, but I will always remember them as a moment in my life where the vitality of music flourished within the genuine intentions and having put first the very reason why music has been given to us as a gift. Aside from this point, having gone through the entire experience, from the rehearsals to the concerts, has done many wonderful things for my playing. The biggest and most appreciated aspect is concentration. The experience I've had through the Frequency Band trained my mind to get into the music and meaning of the music in an organized fashion. The experience has taught me to let the music get a hold of me on my command, rather than sitting there and hoping that the music will come and knock on my door, and wasting time in the meantime. My practice sessions now seem much more efficient, and in performance situations, I am able to stay within the music and not wander in my mind."

Catherynne Murphy
Celtic Whistler and Visual Artist, New Zealand
"My time in the Frequency Band has been, and continues to be, a multi-faceted, profound, strengthening experience, teaching me to not only have belief in my own capabilities, but to discover a robust confidence that stands me in good stead in every part of my life."

Jim Nova
Trombonist, Utah
"For me the most important aspect of the Frequency Band is the retreat. I feel it is such an important thing for me to recharge my musical batteries at these events in a retreat setting and remember why I got into music in the first place. It is so easy to lose sight of that in the hustle and bustle of audition competition, orchestra and ensemble politics, etc. When I participate in Frequency Band events, I never feel more connected to the true sentiments that attracted me to music. I simply feel my experiences in the Frequency Band have helped me to not only be a happier music maker and listener, but to be a more broad minded person capable of observing and relating to things in life, not just music, in a much more open, inviting, and inquisitive way."

Emmy Schaling
Cellist, The Netherlands
"The Frequency Band has helped me and continues to help me to see beyond the usual boundaries between people - like education, background, accomplishment, gender - driven by the passion and joy to make great music together, music seen and unseen, heard and unheard, but clearly coming from a place in us where we are bound together by something stronger than superficial differences."

Anne Trott
Singer, South Carolina
"For me, participating with the Frequency Band and applying principles from the FB make a constant homing focus in finding value and taking next steps in a life's journey through the media of music. It has been a totally rich and enriching experience."

Bart Weber
Guitarist, The Netherlands
"The Frequency Band has allowed me to have come in contact with musicians from all over the world who have an urge to approach and study music as a living thing and it has helped me enormously to broaden my perception about the whole domain of music."


   
 
 

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