BEMIDJI, Minn. (January 28, 2011) — For the first time, Bemidji State University will have a student competing in the prestigious National Trumpet Competition, the world’s largest competition for trumpet players.
Alexandra Kruse, a sophomore music major from Pipestone, Minn., is one of only 47 trumpeters from across the nation selected to compete in the semifinal rounds of the Undergraduate Division of the National Trumpet Competition, to be held March 17-20 on the campus of George Mason University in Arlington, Va.
Kruse was selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants who submitted digital recordings of performances to be screened by a competition committee. The committee then narrowed the competition down to the 47 semifinalists in the Undergraduate Division, limited to students under the age of 25 who are enrolled full-time in an undergraduate music program in the United States.
The competitors will have eight minutes of stage time for their semifinal performance, which includes setup and tuning. From the 47 semifinalists, the top eight will advance to the finals.
“I’ve never had a student make it before,” said Del Lyren, professor of music at Bemidji State, “And I’ve had some good ones.
“Lexie is extremely talented,” Lyren added. “I met her when she was a junior in high school and was just taken with the ability she had at her age. She came here because we could offer her a full-tuition music scholarship. She works hard, she’s dedicated and she’s also very charismatic and personable.”
Kruse entered the competition at Lyren’s behest, recording her entry around Thanksgiving of last year. She experimented with several different potential pieces to record for her entry before settling on Telemann’s “Concerto for Trumpet.”
“It’s a really pretty piece,” Kruse said. “It’s very melodic and pretty, and I just really like the style. It is hard and taxing and requires a lot of breath control, but it’s a beautiful piece. It’s meant to sound easy. That’s its trick.”
“I’ve been teaching here for 19 years and I’ve never had a student who’s been able to play it,” Lyren said of Kruse’s selection. “Students from here have gone onto almost any major graduate program you can think of, but none of them have been able to play this piece. It’s extremely difficult; easily a professional-level piece. It goes incredibly high and there is no rest, so it’s an endurance test as well as a range test.”
In total, the 2011 trumpet competition features 115 soloists in junior, high school, undergraduate, graduate and jazz divisions, plus 30 ensembles in an ensemble division.
“I’m excited to hear the other players,” Kruse said. “I want to hear how they sound, what they’re playing, where they’re from. I’m just excited to meet them. There will be professional players there, and I’m excited to meet them. I just think it’s going to be really, really fun.”
The National Trumpet Competition began in 1992 and has provided performing opportunities, master classes, exhibition concerts, historic and commercial exhibits and a supportive educational environment for nearly 3,000 competitors from more than 40 states and six countries. Nearly 100 artist faculty from universities and symphony orchestras across the nation have judged the competition. Additionally, competitors and audiences alike have been inspired by performances by legendary figures in the trumpet world, including the Canadian Brass, Aruturo Sandoval, Maynard Ferguson, Phil Smith, Tim Morrison, Jens Lindeman, Allen Vizzutti and a host of others.