A Tale of Two Trumpets

A set of performances from two expert trumpeters were on full display at the Staples Family Concert Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 23. Neil Mueller, associate professor of trumpet at Central Michigan University, and Aaron Hodgson, award-winning Canadian trumpeter, performed five special pieces for a packed audience.

Famous composers, including Nikolai Tcherepnin and David Sampson, composed the pieces performed. Each piece was specifically selected to showcase the unique sounds and melodies that can be produced from a trumpet.

“This concert had some especially adventuresome and interesting music that I know the students enjoyed,” Mueller said. “This was a great chance for students to learn new music because of the exciting and unique pieces we’ve picked for the trumpet.”

Hodgson received a grant from the University of Western Ontario, where he teaches trumpet. This allowed for Mueller to work with Hodgson’s students in London, Ontario, Canada, and for Hodgson to do the same at CMU.

“Neil came up to London and taught my students, then I came here and taught his students,” Hodgson said. “It was such a great exchange — getting the chance to watch how well he works with students and getting mentored by him.”

One of the standout performances of the night was when Mueller performed the piece “A Road Beyond,” where he moved to different dimly lit stations set up around the audience in the concert hall. He played his trumpet while dark, haunting electroacoustic accompanied him in the background.

Another piece, titled “Four Sculptures,” featured both Mueller and Hodgson on stage playing trumpets together while different sculptures were projected onto a screen. The melodies synchronized with the various sculptures, which included a slide and an egg-shaped sculpture of CMU.

Hodgson said he was pleased with the experience and emphasized how much fun he had working with the students.

“I have had a great time here the last few days working with all of these great students, Neil and other faculty members,” Hodgson said. “This has been a really valuable and memorable experience for both of us.”

Mueller encourages more students to attend the campus concerts, and wishes more students who are not going into the field of music would come out and enjoy themselves.

“I know it can be a little intimidating, but I still hope people overcome that and attend these events,” Mueller said. “I hope anyone who has any interest in music would feel comfortable in coming to events here and having a good time.”