June 27: Tony Weikel, trombone

Performing: Goodbye by Tom Zugger

Paired with Artwork: Landscape at Céret (1913) by Chaim Soutine

Musician statement: I had a difficult time choosing a work to pair with my piece. The piece of music I chose is about losing someone you love. I came across Landscape at Céret and it caught my attention, but did not seem to speak to the emotion I wanted to convey at first. I came back to it again and realized it was abstractly perfect. The dark, chaotic colors in the foreground have no real structure, and to me represent the chaotic, emotionally charged grieving process.  The lighter colors behind all of the darkness represents the hope of getting back to normal, even though normal will never be the same and is always marred by the ever-present weight of grief.

This work struck me very deeply once I looked past my surface level reaction. My wife and I lost our firstborn son six years ago, and the more I studied Soutine’s piece, the more I realized it seemed to represent our daily struggle to get on with life while always grieving for him, and never forgetting him.

About the music: Goodbye, by Thomas Zugger, is a piece for solo trombone, and is meant to represent the grieving process suffered by those who have lost someone they care for deeply. The composer writes: “It is an image, conveyed through music, of the passionate and intense emotions of saying goodbye to someone dear.”

The piece is divided into four sections, each separated by a brief pause. The first section, entitled “Despair,” starts with a motive heard throughout the entire work, a half-step movement down. It begins slow, with slight variants in tempo, mostly softer dynamics. The ending foreshadows the next set emotions with more aggressive dynamic and tempo changes. The second section, “Grief,” again starts slow with the same descending half-step motive. As the section progresses, the rhythm, dynamics, and range become very sporadic, and ends with the half-step motive in the extreme low register. The third section, “Conflict and Anger,” starts quite differently. It begins with a slow wide interval motive, and this motive quickly gains speed and development. It continues to gain momentum with very angular melodic material, extreme tempo and dynamic changes, and range that pushes the technique of the trombone to the edge, emphasizing the idea of conflict and anger. The last section, “Acceptance and Hope,” starts again with the half-step motive, but with a pick-up note, signaling a change of outlook. It floats through simple but intense melodic material, and ends with the half-step descent, repeated three times. The last statement of the half-step motive is quite low in register and soft dynamically, bringing the work to a very unstable yet appropriate end.

Dr. Thomas Zugger, composer of Goodbye, is currently the Interim Dean and was long-time professor of trombone and euphonium at Capital University Conservatory of Music.

Tony Weikel, originally from Buffalo, NY, attended SUNY College at Fredonia where he received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education. He then attended Duquesne University where he earned his Master of Music degree in trombone performance. After graduation, he spent time freelancing in the greater Pittsburgh area. Tony then attended Indiana University, continuing his graduate work focusing on trombone performance. While in Indiana he won a position with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, substituted regularly with the Louisville Orchestra and was active as a freelance musician throughout Central Indiana. After his time at IU, he moved to Columbus, OH and completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in August 2015 at Ohio State University. While in Columbus, he has thrived as a freelance musician while keeping a busy teaching schedule. Tony’s current positions are second trombone with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, adjunct trombone instructor at Capital University, adjunct low brass instructor at Otterbein University, and adjunct low brass instructor at Cedarville University. His principal teachers have included Carl Mazzio, Scott Parkinson, Peter Sullivan, Murray Crewe, Peter Ellefson, and Joe Duchi.