TBJ103: Mary Bowden

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TBJ103: Mary Bowden on her new upcoming album, Seraph Brass and the importance of networking

Classical Trumpeter and Gold Medal Global Music Award Winner Mary Elizabeth Bowden has been described by Gramophone Magazine as “brilliant” and “radiant in new repertoire for trumpet.” Bowden, a Yamaha Performing Artist, is highly regarded for her artistry and virtuosity as a soloist and has been praised for the clarity, purity, and power of her sound. Bowden released her debut album, “Radiance”, on Summit Records featuring new American works. She has been featured on MPR’s “New Classical Tracks” with Julie Amacher, which is being aired on NPR stations nationwide.

Bowden’s 2018-19 performance highlights include solo performances at the Maspalomas International Trumpet Festival in Gran Canaria and at Lieksa Brass Week in Finland. She will also perform as a soloist with the Kassia Ensemble, Chrysalis Chamber Players, Richmond Philharmonic, and will make her Vancouver and New York City recital debuts. She will release her second solo album through Summit Records with the Kassia Ensemble.

Bowden is the First Prize winner of the International Women’s Brass Conference Trumpet Competition. She has performed as a soloist with Montana’s Big Sky Festival, Evansville Philharmonic, Peninsula Symphony (California), Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra, Croatian Army Wind Band at the Velika Gorica Brass Festival, Festival Amadeus Strings (Montana), Springfield Symphony (Missouri), Naples Symphony, Fifth Avenue Chamber Orchestra (Florida), Richmond Philharmonic Orchestra, San Juan Symphony, Springfield (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra and New Haven Chamber Orchestra, among several others. She has performed with trumpet soloist Jouko Harjanne at the Lieksa Brass Week in Finland, where she also served on the jury of the Lieksa International Trumpet Competition. At The Banff Center in Alberta, Canada, she performed Vivaldi’s Concerto for 2 Trumpets with trumpeters Jens Lindemann and Ryan Anthony. She was also awarded the Public Prize from the Perrenoud Foundation International Music Competition. Bowden frequently performs in recital both in solo programs and as the Dash Duo with her husband, trumpeter David Dash. Bowden and Dash teach at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Dash as the Assistant Professor of Trumpet and Bowden as a Resident Artist.

Bowden is a founding member of both Seraph Brass and the Chrysalis Chamber Players, a recipient of a Yale Alumni Grant. Seraph will be a guest ensemble at the 2019 International Trumpet Guild Conference in Miami and was the featured ensemble at the International Women’s Brass Conference in 2017 and at the Lieksa Brass Week in Finland in 2017 and 18. They released their debut album, “Asteria,” through Summit Records in 2018, which has been awarded a Silver Medal Global Music Award. Bowden has collaborated in chamber music programs at the Marlboro Music Festival, Lakes Area Music Festival, The Banff Centre, and at the Sydney Opera House under the baton of Håkan Hardenberger. She has served on the adjunct faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University and at The Curtis Institute of Music’s Young Artist Summer Program.

An experienced orchestral musician, Bowden is currently Principal Trumpet of the Artosphere Festival Orchestra and a member of the Iris Orchestra. She has served as Principal Trumpet of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, Lakes Area Music Festival Orchestra, New Zealand’s Auckland Philharmonia, the Daejeon Philharmonic in Korea, and with Seraphic Fire’s Firebird Chamber Orchestra. At the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, she held the principal chair in Pierre Boulez’s performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, which was released on CD in 2011. The Luzerner Zeitung described her playing in one word – “outstanding.” Bowden is also a member of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed many dates on Adele’s 2016 North American tour.

Bowden began full-time college studies at the age of 14, receiving an Associate degree from the Joliet Junior College. Subsequently, she earned her Bachelor of Music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with the principal trumpeter of the Philadelphia Orchestra, David Bilger. She was awarded her Master of Music degree in 2006 from the Yale School of Music where she studied on a full scholarship with trumpeter Allan Dean.

In this fun and lively discussion, we cover:

  • Hanging in Naples Florida

  • Her new teaching gig at Shenandoah Conservatory

  • The application process for Shenandoah

  • The importance of networking

  • Lieksa Brass Week

  • Five Year Goals

  • Consortium project for Seraph Brass and Wind Ensemble

  • Recording in Lieksa

  • Crowdfunding the recording project via Indiegogo, raising over $26K(!!!)

  • Adding a trumpet player to Seraph Brass

  • How to plan for the Seraph seasons and projects

  • Memorization

  • Upcoming solo album, "Reverie," pre-order available on her site

  • Recording with the Pittsburgh-based Kassia Ensemble

  • Working with Rick DeJonge (frequently tortured pal of Andrew & Lance) on the arrangements for the album

  • Choosing to release on Summit Records

  • The current breakdown of her schedule

  • Touring and performing with her husband as the Dash Duo

  • Consortium for a new trumpet concerto

  • Working with a composer on a new work

  • "Challenge Accepted"

  • The importance of risk-taking

  • How and when to say no to gigs and opportunities

  • Better to say no upfront than to back out later


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Expertly produced by Will Houchin with love, care, and enthusiasm.