David Ammer

In addition to his work as a founding member of the Motor City Brass Quintet, David Ammer is also principal trumpet of both the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra and the Detroit Opera House Orchestra, as well as a member of the award-winning Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, with whom he has been featured as soloist. During the summer, he performs as principal trumpet of the Sunflower Music Festival in Topeka, Kansas. He has performed alongside the Canadian Brass as well as the brass section of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, both in recital and in concert, at Orchestra Hall. He has performed on live television at Detroit Tigers’ baseball games, and has recorded several commercial studio sessions in the Detroit area. Additional summer chamber music performances include those at the Aspen Music Festival, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and Spoleto USA. Originally from Massachusetts, David played with the Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra and served on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts at Boston prior to relocating in Michigan. A graduate of Swarthmore College and Yale University, he studied extensively with chamber brass pioneers Raymond Mase and Allan Dean. His solo cd, La Trompette a Renouvelé!, features premiere recordings of 20th century recital works, and was released by Brassjar Music in 2011.


La Trompette a Renouvele!

David Ammer, Trumpet

The title of this CD, La Trompette a Renouvele!, can be taken on several levels. Over half of the composers represented on it are French; and just as French language and culture dominated the western world in the eighteenth century, later musical composition for soprano brass instruments keyed in Bb, C, and Eb was made possible largely through the innovations of the Belgian instrument designer Antoine-Joseph “Adolphe” Sax (1814-1894) and the French designer, Gustave Auguste Besson (1820-1874). The quality of Sax’s designs was superior to that of his rivals in Paris, and his valved bugles, with their chromatic capability, became known as “Saxhorns.” Hector Berlioz was writing for valved cornet barely ten years after Beethoven’s death, and the creation of Saxhorns and cornets spurred the subsequent development of British and American brass bands. Thus, the composers represented on this collection all share a common musical tradition that has its roots in nineteenth century instrumental music and development. In addition, trumpets made by French companies such as Sax, Couesnon, Mahillon, Besson, and Selmer set the standard for later makers in Europe and America to follow. The resurgence of the trumpet as a solo instrument, for the first time since the early 1800s, had arrived.

French proponents of the orchestral trumpet keyed in C, most notably Georges Mager (who also sang, and entered the Boston Symphony Orchestra as a violist after WW I, sharing a stand with Arthur Fiedler) and Roger Voisin (who joined the section with his father, Rene), were in turn major influences on American orchestral players and instrument makers who followed. Mager, who became Principal Trumpet of the BSO in 1920, taught Renold Schilke, who later became

one of the most prolific brass instrument designers in America, and Adolph “Bud” Herseth, the finest American orchestral trumpeter of the twentieth century. Schilke and Herseth were both members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and they in turn influenced brass players worldwide, the former with his superb musical designs, and the latter with his consummate artistry and unsurpassed focus and consistency. While Herseth’s primary musical focus was on his role as Principal Trumpet in the CSO, his daily practice was rooted in the technical demands required of solo cornet literature, such as multiple tonguing, lyrical playing, dynamic contrast, and extended range. (He once remarked of the Methode for cornet by Arban, the great French cornetist, “If I could play everything in the Arban book, from front to back, without missing a note, I’d be a very happy man.” ) Herseth’s extraordinary artistry had a profound impact on ensuing generations of brass players in general, and trumpeters specifically. Therefore, the compositions on this CD represent a history of the evolution in solo cornet and trumpet literature. Extending the tradition, there are the notable recording premieres of four different fanfares by Manuel de Falla, Erik Satie, Gerald Levinson, and Vincent Persichetti.

Listen to a sample on CD Universe.