“You have a beautiful cornet tone and smooth technique, with perfect intonation. The style of these solos comes across try well, and I am happy that you selected several unrecorded but deserving solos. “

David Hickman

Regents Professor, Arizona State University

Purchase Info
Raquel Rodriquez & Jan Corrothers: Cincinnati Virtuosity
About the Album

Cincinnati Virtuosity-The Cornet Music of Frank Simon and Herman Bellstedt

An important component of American popular music at the turn of the 20th Century consisted of town wind bands and factory bands that would often perform for town and civic functions. One of the most popular wind bands in American History is the John Philip Sousa Band. The Sousa Band toured nationwide and presented live concerts to thousands of Americans. The Sousa Band also commonly featured virtuosic soloists, most commonly a singer and a cornetist. Two Sousa Band cornet soloists of note are Frank Simon (1889-1967) and Herman Bellstedt (1858-1926). What is extraordinary about these men are that both lived and performed in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to performing, these remarkable men also composed music, particularly for the cornet.

In addition to performing with the Sousa Band, Bellstedt performed with and conducted his own band at the Cincinnati Zoo in August of 1902 and later became Professor of Wind Instruments at the Cincinnati Conservatory in 1913. Frank Simon performed with the Cincinnati Symphony and in 1932 founded the band department at Cincinnati’s Conservatory of Music, where he also taught for 20 years. Simon is most remembered for founding the Armco Band in 1920 based in Middletown, OH. Sponsored by the Middletown-based steel company, it became one of the greatest concert bands in the country. By 1922, the band played weekly summer concerts for 10,000-12,000 people. The Armco Band reached national fame for its weekly broadcasts (1929-39) on the NBC Radio Network.

There have been many recordings made of cornet virtuosic music from well-known soloists and composers, but remarkably, there are no recordings devoted exclusively to the music of these men at the time of this recording. I have enjoyed learning these charming (but challenging!) cornet solos. The CD includes nine cornet solos with piano accompaniment. I felt compelled to include some of the more popular pieces such as Napoli, Willow Echoes, and La Mandolinata. Not as popular, but not completely obscure, are the pieces Carnival of Venice, Fantasia No. 1, Miss Blue Bonnet, and Princess Alice. The most obscure pieces are Piece de Concerte and American Boy.

Each piece is what could be considered a virtuoso cornet solo. What makes these pieces so charming are the memorable melodies and ample moments for musical phrasing. The pieces all have their own technical challenges as well, including many fast tonguing and finger dexterity sections. Nevertheless, the pieces were all enjoyable fare, and in my opinion, great crowd pleasers and excellent for use in recitals.

I would like to thank Jan Corrothers, an extraordinary piano collaborative artist, based in Cincinnati. Recording engineered, edited, mixed, and mastered by Kim Pensyl at the CCM Jazz Recording Studios, The University of Cincinnati. Thank you Kim, you are a true professional! Also, thanks to Carol Dunevant who served as a musical advisor and producer for all 4 days of the recording sessions. This was a labor of love and we hope you enjoy the music of Cincinnati’s own Frank Simon and Herman Bellstedt.

Artists:

Raquel Heredia Rodriquez is the Assistant Professor of Trumpet at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky. At NKU, Raquel is the Coordinator of Brass Studies, teaches applied trumpet, performs with the NKU Faculty Brass, and is the director of the Trumpet Ensemble and Concert Band. Raquel is a versatile musician having appeared as a clinician, soloist, and chamber musician throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and China. She was a performing member of the internationally known Synergy Brass Quintet in their 2008-09 national tour and performed in over 200 concerts and clinics across the nation. Raquel has been a trumpet/cornet prize winner at NABBA (North American Brass Band Association), the US Open Brass Band Championships, the National Trumpet Competition, and the International Women’s Brass Conference. Dr. Rodriquez received her BM and MA degrees from West Texas A&M University and DMA degree in trumpet performance at the University of North Texas. Her former teachers include Dave Ritter, John Holt, and Keith Johnson. Raquel is an Artist/Clinician for the Conn-Selmer Company and Denis Wick mouthpieces, mutes, and accessories.

Jan Corrothers is a Collaborative Pianist in the Greater Cincinnati region where she is a member of the Xavier University music faculty as Choral Staff Accompanist, as well as Principal Accompanist of the Cincinnati Children’s Choir. In demand a collaborative pianist, Jan performs regularly for many choral conventions, workshops, recitals and festivals across the United States and abroad. She has presented workshops on the art of choral collaboration for organizations including Chorus America and the Fellowship of American Baptist Musicians. She currently serves on the FABM board as President-Elect.

Previously, Jan held positions as Staff Accompanist at Northern KY University, Alderson Broaddus University and Marietta College. She holds a Master of Music degree in Organ Performance from Shenandoah University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied and Church Music from Alderson Broaddus University. In 2008, Jan was the recipient of the Alderson Broaddus University Outstanding Young Alumni Award for excellence achieved in the field of music within ten years of graduation.