The 2nd European Mandolin and Guitar Academy took place in Trossingen from Nov. 7th – 11th, 2011.
I had to work on Monday and Tuesday and missed the first one and a half days. When I arrived on Wednesday morning at the Bundesakademie in Trossingen Don Stiernberg was just talking about his musical biography and his roots and inspirations. He told us about the moment when he realized that “you can play jazz on the mandolin” and about his lessons with the great Jethro Burns. He also told us about the roots and inspirations of Jethro, like Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli.
Next I had to decide between a workshop with Mike Marshall about Brazilian choro and a workshop with Don Stiernberg about Chords and Melody. I attended Mikes workshop and we learned to play the chords and the melody of two choros.
The time after the lunch break was reserved for private lessons with the four teachers. I had the rare opportunity to follow a lesson with Caterina Lichtenberg as teacher and Alon Sariel as student – they worked on a romantic solo piece by Raffaele Calace.
At the same time other participants could take part in a project with Mirko Schrader to work on an own arrangements of rock music or pop songs using mandolins and guitars, but also some additional percussion instruments and singing.
Mirko did also conduct the mandolin orchestra in the later afternoon. Eleonor Rigby by the Beatles – an arrangement for mandolin orchestra and singing by Mirko Schrader and Santa Morena, a great Jacob do Bandolim classic with Mike and Caterina playing solo mandolin were fun to play. At the end of the rehearsal America from West Side Story, also arranged by Mirko was rehearsed and also performed in the final concert.
In parallel to the mandolin orchestra Don Stiernberg had a group (Don’s Band) intended for non readers that worked on some pieces in jazz style. This group worked on Topsy, a standard gypsy jazz tune that was recorded by Django Reinhardt in 1947. The group was joind also by several participants that could read music, but wanted to play without and try to improve their improvisational skills.
After the dinner Caterina and Mike presented several new compositions with mandolins to us.
Now it was time to talk and share experiences, stories, music, instruments and soon the nightly jam session was going on. I enjoyed to jam together with Don Stiernberg and a big group of mandolin players from several European countries, playing jazz standards, bluegrass tunes, Scandinavian melodies or German polkas (!). Not only the flat f- or a-style mandolins took part in the jam – also some German and Italian bowlback mandolins joined the session.
Schedule (click to show full size):
The European Mandolin and Guitar Academy was held for the second time in Trossingen in Germany. The Bundesakademie für Musikalische Jugendbildung has been a center for the education of musicians since the 1970 and is currently beeing enhanced by a new big concert hall that will be finished next year. I got my traing as a conductor for guitar ensembles at the Bundesakademie in the 1970, I had some lessons with Takashi Ochi there and I met Rüdiger Grambow there for the first time.
During the first lecture in the morning all of the four teachers gave some interesting insights into their biography, roots and inspirations with pictures, musical examples and video clips.
The teachers had played a Teachers Performance on Monday night, on Tuesday night Young Talents were presented by the egma, followed by “Finlandia”, a program played by Jouni Koskimäki and Jarmo Romppanen, the two participants from Finland.
From Tuesday until Thursday the Haus der Musik Trekel company had an exhibition with sheet music and acessories for mandolins and guitars. And on tuesday morning German master luthier Alfred Woll gave a lecture about mandolin construction.
On Thursday night the great final concert began with performances by the mandolin orchestra, Don’s Band and Mirkos Workshop. In the second part Mike and Caterina, Caterina and Mirko and Mike and Don played several great duos with two mandolins or mandolin and guitar. Unfortunately only few visitors found the way to the Bundesakademie for this concert.
The final night was again filled with talking and jamming or just listening until it was finally time to go to sleep. I enjoyed especially a late jam with Alon Sariel.
Participants of the 2nd European Mandolin Academy came from:
Austria, Columbia, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Israel, Italy, Krotia, Russia, Scotland, Switzerland
This 2nd European Mandolin and Guitar Academy was very inspiring and has given me a lot of impressions and new ideas, I have met many interesting mandolin players and found new friends.
It is planned that the 3rd European Mandolin and Guitar Academy will be held next year at the beginning of October.
The European Mandolin and Guitar Academy was organized by the european guitar and mandolin association egma http://www.egma-online.org/
Rüdiger and Simone Grambow and the team of the Bundesakademie Trossingen did a great job. Everything was organized very well, the food was fantastic.
Teachers / Exhibition
Caterina Lichtenberg (with Josephin 7 months):
Mike Marshall: http://mikemarshall.net/
Don Stiernberg: http://www.donstiernberg.com/
Mirko Schrader: http://www.mirkoschrader.de/
Haus der Musik Trekel: http://www.trekel.de/
A. Woll: http://www.woll-mandolinen.de/