For trumpet and piano

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Serendipity (2010)

for trumpet and piano

duration: 3’

Premiered by Paul Merkelo on July 16, 2010 at the Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara, CA

I am a firm believer in serendipity; that if one stays dedicated to their mission or craft, then fortuitous and truly unexpected discoveries or results will find their way to that person through the course of time.

This piece was written on a Tuesday afternoon in Santa Barbara, CA. The next day was to be a masterclass, during which Paul Merkelo (principal trumpet – Montreal Symphony) was to feature music of mine for trumpet, at the Music Academy of the West. I had just returned from Sydney, Australia, where I had a trumpet concerto premiered, and here I was at MAW, where I once had spent time as a trumpet student, now being introduced as a composer. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would go to Sydney, nor return to MAW, as a composer. Serendipity.

When I told Paul I was going to write a piece for him, I suggested it be something lyrical. He thought it might be fun to add a jazz element. That night at dinner Miles Davis’ name came up in discussion, and this influenced both the subtitle and the sound of the mid-section of this piece.

For a composer, writing a piece on Tuesday and having it premiered on Wednesday, is about as close to instant gratification as one can get in this field, and I am thankful to Paul and pianist Jonathan Feldman (who came in to read it on extremely short notice!) for making it happen.

Jim Stephenson July 16, 2010

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