quick thoughts on ITG and new music

If I’m being honest, up until fairly recently, I was confident I’d never have my work presented at the International Trumpet Guild’s annual conference. There were three major factors at play there: first, because the easiest way in is to earn a spot on the New Works programs, and I’m not generally a fan of competition-style work selection due to the truly bananas odds; second, because I haven’t historically felt like my professional colleagues in the trumpet world take me seriously (which was further exacerbated when I came out); and third, because in 2017 or 2018, a trumpet professor told me point-blank that I shouldn’t bother, because ITG was never going to program experimental trumpet music. That last one held me back for a long time, because while I can make myself at home in a variety of styles, I write the most like me when I can at least dip my toes in the experimental side of things. (And though it doesn’t work this way for everyone at every career stage, right now the pieces of mine that go big tend to be the ones where I let myself play around a little.)

While we could sit around arguing forever about what counts as “experimental” music, I’ve just returned from presenting a piece that calls for extended techniques at the 2023 conference, so I am (for the time being) delighted to announce that unsupportive trumpet professor is full of shit. Yes, there’s probably (still) a massive portion of ITG’s membership that happily skips the New Works recitals altogether, but the shows this year were pretty damn packed. People are showing up for new music, even at a conference where it’s at times programmed concurrently with other presentations relevant to those folks and their performance practices. Could it be better? Of course. But it’s not dire, as I was led to believe—even though programming will vary from year to year, there’s a good chunk of conference attendees who are invested in supporting those performances. (And, even better: a bunch of them are teachers or training to be teachers.)

I’m beyond thankful to Dr. John Marchiando, who gave the go to the garden performance this week; to our stage crew in Westminster Hall, who were attentive and caring throughout rehearsals and the performance; to ITG leadership for their hard work organizing a successful conference; and to the Guild members and conference attendees who made it out to the Thursday show. I owe an extra-large round of thanks to the ITG New Works Committee for taking a chance on me and garden this year, and specifically to Julia Bell for making sure we got programs so we can claim our royalties.

Though it’s hard to afford traveling to and attending ITG (especially when your partner wants to go and support you), I’m so glad I was able to meet a bunch of fantastic folks, see some faces in person for the first time, and reunite with some cherished friends. I got to send copies of go to the garden and a song for past selves off to states and countries they’ve never been to before, and in the coming months and years, watching those get played will be immensely special, too.

(If you missed out and want a copy, I have one garden and one past selves left. DM or email me a photo of your conference name badge and I’ll send back instructions on how to purchase so I can mail you the hard copy. Or you can grab a soft copy at a less-discounted-but-still-discounted price on my site—no code required.)

I’ll probably write more about my ITG trip in the long run, because I think there’s more we can discuss, but for today, I think it’s time to wrap up. So I’ll close with a few ways you can support me, whether you’re newly arrived or have been around for years:

  • ALL my trumpet works are on sale for $5 off through June 30, 2023, AND all my repertoire (not active consortia) about queerness or queer-relevant topics is 50% off during June for Pride Month. Pick up whatever you’d like! I won’t do another sale like this until at least the fall (for reasons I’ll explain next weekend), so pick up discount copies while you can.
  • Should you have an interest in supporting currently-incubating brass music, I’d love to have you as part of my active consortium: KENOCHORIC for brass quintet. As this is an investment in a brand-new work, it’s more expensive than picking up a score or two, but you’re making it possible for me to keep creating cool stuff in the process. Buy-in is $250 for most, and $125 for parties where at least half of you are students.
  • And, lastly, if you’re a teacher and your students want to play my work, drop me a line and I’ll send you a coupon code for your entire studio to use.

It’s a truly unique honor to be recognized by my peers in a forum like ITG’s. I hope to be back again for more in future years, but for now, I’ll just be over here, basking in the glow of this past week. And if you missed the show, you can listen to John play go to the garden below.


Thanks for reading! If you learned something from this post and would like to tip me, head on over to my Ko-fi page. For more analysis and commentary like this in your life, check back again soon, and consider subscribing to my mailing list (at the bottom of the page or in the sidebar) for quarterly update emails on my biggest projects. To support the long-term work I do as an artist and advocate, you can find me on Patreon and @honestlyeris on Instagram.