Trumpeter will conduct Kiger Hour
Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 13:01
Max Matzen, assistant professor of trumpet and brass studies, will conduct a Kiger Hour presentation at 5:15 p.m. Thursday at Cafe Sabor. The presentation will focus on Beethoven’s 9th Symphony compared to the musical alterations made by Gustav Mahler, a Jewish Austrian composer of the late-Romantic era.
“What I want to do is be able to go back and forth between original Beethoven and what Mahler did,” Matzen said.
Modern Beethoven performances commonly have traces of Mahler, which Matzen said have become standard performing practices.
“It’s like Beethoven and friends,” Matzen said.
Beethoven wrote his 9th Symphony after he became deaf. After he died, Mahler altered much of Beethoven’s work.
“Mahler had a variety of rationale for doing so,” Matzen said. “He fell under some pretty harsh scrutiny.”
Matzen said the design of trumpets changed after Beethoven’s death. The new designs added more valves, allowing trumpets to play a chromatic scale. Beethoven’s music was written with the limited-range Baroque trumpets used. Mahler altered the music to accommodate new trumpet designs.
In 2010, Matzen built a Baroque trumpet from raw metal which now hangs on the wall in his office. The trumpet can only play specific notes because it is designed with no valves. Matzen said Beethoven’s music was composed with the Baroque trumpet in mind.
Although the alterations of Mahler have become controversial among purists, Matzen believes some parts have been made better. He said he likes hearing the chorus more clearly and having eight French horns instead of four.
Matzen transferred to USU from Texas Tech University in 2012. TTU was his first job out of college, and he taught there for two years. USU appealed to him because he would be the only trumpet teacher with the freedom to make faster decisions.
Coming from a flat, desert landscape in Texas, Matzen was astonished to find how beautiful Logan is.
“It’s a good environment in general for a simple trumpet player,” he said. “I love living in Logan quite a bit.”
When Matzen first moved to Logan, some USU students and faculty came to help him settle in.
“Without me even asking, a lot of the music students came to help,” Matzen said.
Matzen teaches trumpet and small chamber ensembles to scholarship groups with defined, skilled students.
“They are very talented and easy to teach,” Matzen said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Matzen began trumpet at age ten and chose to join his high school band with his stepbrother’s trumpet. This is where he grew a love for jazz.
“I started off playing jazz in high school,” he said. “I got invited to play in the jazz ensemble at school. I was interested because people were improvising.”
He was intrigued by the idea of people venturing away from the written notes.
Matzen played trumpet for the Eastman Wind Ensemble of the University of Rochester, where he finished his graduate degrees.
“That’s widely considered to be the best wind ensemble in the world,” Matzen said.
In February of 2005, the EWE performed in Carnegie Hall. Matzen said the composers attended the performance to listen to them play. Matzen said it was probably the best performance they ever did.
While playing in ensembles, Matzen also performed in several international festivals across Europe, of which Montreux, Switzerland was his favorite.