The Eastman Summer Trombone Institute (ESTI) is an intensive weeklong program for players who wish to challenge themselves to be the most complete trombonist and musician possible. To learn more about what ESTI has to offer for Summer 2023, Summer@Eastman Marketing Assistant Joyce Tseng talked with Mark Kellogg, Eastman faculty and ESTI Director.
JT: For how many years has the Trombone Institute been offered during the summer? What has changed over the years?
MK: 2023 will be the 18th iteration of the Eastman Summer Trombone Institute! I’m so happy that we have been able to add more faculty over the years. When the program first started, it was my dear friend and colleague, Jim Martin, and me doing all the trombone teaching. Chris Azzara also offered a workshop at our very first ESTI and he has worked with us every year since 2006. As we expanded the scope of the program, two of my wonderful Eastman faculty colleagues, Larry Zalkind (trombone) and Priscilla Yuen (piano) joined us. Additionally, Catie Hickey and Brendan Lanighan also continue to take on big roles throughout the week. Catie, who has been an important part of the program since just after its inception, is an incredibly versatile trombonist and teacher who lives and works in Chicago; Brendan is a phenomenal jazz trombonist and public school music teacher from the Buffalo area. Both Catie and Brendan are Eastman alums and Brendan is an ESTI alum, as well! We have grown a great deal over 17 years and I am most thankful for the school’s support of our program.
JT: You have a great team coming back from all across the US every year. Can you tell us more about the team and what relationship they have with Eastman?
MK: Jim Martin, Catie Hickey, Brendan Lanighan, Priscilla Yuen, Chris Azzara, and I are all Eastman alums in one way or another. While Larry Zalkind is not an Eastman alum, he has developed a meaningful attachment to ESTI and makes invaluable contributions to our program. (The banner image above features faculty performing in Sproull Atrium at the 2022 ESTI Jazz Night.) As an Eastman faculty member since 2014, Larry has seen the benefits of this summer program as a recruiting tool for the school. We have faculty from St. Louis, Chicago, Buffalo, and Rochester; we have bass and tenor trombone faculty, piano faculty, faculty who are very fluent with both classical and jazz styles, faculty who have specialties in unique areas of music like doubling, entrepreneurship, improvisation, working with younger, less experienced players, collaborative skills, etc. In short, we offer a wide range of experiences in one week!
JT: What are the objectives of the Trombone Institute?
MK: ESTI challenges players to be the best possible versions of themselves, in an inviting, inclusive, positive, and supportive environment. ESTI is a safe place where students are not only challenged, but also given the tools to surmount those challenges. There are many ways “up the mountain,” and I feel like our faculty offers different approaches to support the different types and ages of students in the Institute. In 17 years, we’ve hosted almost 500 students, and roughly 10% of these students have ended up matriculating at Eastman. The fact that this program has acted as a recruiting tool for Eastman is a delightful by-product of the faculty’s great work and the caliber of students who attend ESTI.
JT: What is a sample day like?
MK: Each day begins with a group warm-up and includes a master class, a special topics discussion, and a trombone choir rehearsal. There are also several concerts during the week, including faculty performances (classical and jazz), a Participant Solo Concert, and Trombone Choir (the grand finale!).
JT: What repertoire should students prepare?
MK: For the recorded audition, we want to hear people play about 5 minutes of contrasting material. This is usually encompassed by recording a lyrical piece or etude and a more technical piece, movement, or etude. Once students arrive at Eastman, they usually perform twice in a master class; students also have the opportunity to play a 6-8 minute solo piece or solo movements with piano on a Participant Concert.
JT: Are private lessons included in the program?
MK: Private lessons are included and sprinkled in during the course of the week.
JT: What unique opportunities will be offered?
MK: The two most unique offerings we have are: 1) performing in a trombone choir and 2) working with our wonderful Eastman faculty collaborative pianist, Priscilla Yuen. Many younger students in particular have never played in a trombone choir with 23 other like-minded students! Students also may not have had the opportunity to work with a world-class collaborative pianist who is very familiar with their repertoire. During the course of the week, participants have lessons with the trombone faculty and one-on-one coaching sessions with Priscilla to work on the fine art of making music in a communal, collaborative manner. These unique opportunities are always particularly satisfying for our students.
JT: Who should apply to this workshop?
MK: ESTI is open to all late middle school, high school, college, young professional, and adult amateur trombonists. Each student brings unique skills, perspectives, challenges, and questions that feed into our sense of community. As I often say, ESTI is one of my absolute favorite weeks of the year because of the diversity of students who participate.
The Eastman Summer Trombone Institute runs July 30-August 5, 2023. Participants are chosen by audition and applications are due by May 1, 2023. Visit the Summer@Eastman website for more information.