Interview about the HTBC 2017
Jamie Williams (J.W.)
Matyas Veer (M.V.)
J.W.: Could you explain what intrigued you to undertake such a project?
M.V.: The idea came from a DVD called Billie’s Bootcamp(aerobic) which I was inspired many years a go, and later, the idea formulated and developed through chatting with my friends Zoltan Kiss and Csaba Wagner. The goal was to organize a trombone festival which is unique and that the numbers of the teacher’s in the festival is at least 70% Hungarian. Since 1995 there has been no International Trombone Festival in Hungary, and my dream was to create an event and happenings, combining all the good ideas from several international trombone festivals in the world, to a which participants will be most happy and satisfied. I like to create the platform where I can share and to continue the great Hungarian Trombone school and it’s tradition which I am very proud of.
J.W.: Was this idea long in planning and how did you put it all together?
M.V.: The idea came to us in 2016 summer. After the last Christmas, Zoltan and I began to fix the details and by beginning of February we opened the online application. The toughest part was to create the general schedule at the end, which took us six months. The PR and organizing concerts as well took much effort and many hours. There were many discussions and meetings with Zoltan during the process and it worked most efficient that I was in charge of administrative part on my own. It was overwhelming amount of work behind PC, and in a meanwhile Zoltan being busy with collecting sponsors and participants. We committed ourselves executing different roles and that was the key to the success of our festival.
J.W.: Could you give more details about how many nationalities were represented and who came as artists?
M.V.: Students nationality:
France, Belgium, UK, Serbia, Austria, Malaysia, Poland, South Korea, Japan, Hungary, Ukraine, Sweden, Australia ( At least half of the students currently studying in Germany )
We had 50 participants. We offered 4 places for full scholorship for Hungarian students who received 1st prize for a national trombone competition in Hungary in 2017.
Teachers name and nationality:
Zoltan Kiss - Hungary
Jamie Williams - USA
Marshall Gilkes - USA
Dirk Ellerkamp - Netherlands
György Gyivicsán - Hungary
Gusztáv Hőna - Hungary
Róbert Káip - Hungary
Zsolt Szabó - Hungary (USA)
Eric Budd - Australia
Matyas Veer - Hungary
Denson Paul Pollard - USA
Hiroyuki Kurogane - Japan
Csaba Wagner – Hungary
J.W.: What was the basic concept for who get lessons with who?
M.V.: The concept was that every student get lesson from every teacher. The basic idea was to give at least 6 times 30 minutes individual lessons for the students.
J.W.: There was a a high level of jazz, solo, and ensemble concerts. Could you give us a glimpse into who performed what?
M.V.: I am glad we had many great artists and the artistic level of the concerts was outstanding. 8 concerts in total during 4 days. The opening concert began with The Hungarian Trombone Connection (trombone octet) joined by Marshall Gilkes. The recitals and concerts were performed by artists/ professors, either in solo performance or in ensemble. The Lätzsch Trombone Quartet in a first recital presented by The Lätzsch company. Denson Paul Pollard played an outstanding recital as well the world reknown Corpus Trombone Quartet. In the final jazz concert, playing a jam session with Marshall who was a main jazz professor and Eric Budd from Australia who is a multi talented brass player and a great pedagogue, for the jazz students were a great exciting opportunity.
My favourite performance was the flashmob on the last day of the festival. We went to a square near by BMC and played a concert of 25 minutes on the street. The people loved it.
J.W.: Tell us about the incredible venue (Budapest Music Center) and how it came about that we could use this building for instrument exhibits, lessons, concerts, restaurant and even lodging?
M.V.: László Gőz who is an active jazz trombonist is the director of the BMC. He is the owner of the venue and he has worked on the acoustic of the main concert hall for the trombone to sound the best. Laszlo often mentioned about he's dream of BMC becoming the "Temple" of the trombone world. When we consulted him for the first time about the Bootcamp, he loved the idea. The facilities are wonderful, the food in the restaurant is delicious and price is very reasonable. The Opus Jazz Club is a part of the BMC building where we organized concerts and master-classes, which was very handy. I think the BMC is a superb place to organize the next festival too.
J.W.: We even all came home with a special souvenir!
M.V.: The souvenir was a surprise gift from László Gőz. He said "I have a surprise for everyone, because I like the idea of your Trombone Boot camp so much”. The gift was his personal contribution, for the remembrance of this great event. It was a very big surprise for us and was very moving.
J.W.: On this note, will it happen again?
M.V.: Yes, our plan is to organize the HTBC annually. The next festival will be held in June 2018. We will post the new date of the festival soon on our website.
J.W.: Now for the less nerdy information: When I arrived, you showed me the bed in your apartment where I would sleep, although there wasn't much sleeping! Your incredible wife cooked and made us feel like family. We had a party the first night before the festival even officially started. The artists were not just teachers and performers, but more importantly a team which has a wonderful friendship due to the fun atmosphere. This is important for the students to see because after all, we all come together for the same reasons. We even still keep in touch through our WhatsApp group! There was a sense of sadness once it was finished. On this note, will it happen again? Also, add some of your thoughts regarding the spirit of those days.
M.V.: It was a great pleasure and learning experience for me to get to know wonderful musicians and to collaborate as a team having a strong feeling of solidarity and friendship (teachers), it was a great joy for me. The atmosphere of these conversations were fantastic and fun when we had opportunity at the end of the day discussing, sharing our experiences and exchanging ideas. I also wanted to share the Hungarian spirit/culture by hosting some of the members at my own home, I wanted to make guests feel welcome and at home in token of gratitude for coming to join our first boot camp in Hungary.
Until the first day of the festival I couldn’t believe that my dream will actually come true. I hoped and prayed that everything will be all right, but almost until the last moment we did not see how we will manage the financial part of the festival. Fortunately, we received generous sponsorship from the Schagerl, as well Buffet Crampon, Lätzsch, Edwards and the K&G. Thanks to these sponsors, we came through succesfully. In my opinion, creating a festival for the first time like this Bootcamp is very risky without experience, but I believed that the participants, invited artists and professors will trust us enough to come join our first camp in Budapest. The most challenging part for us was at the beginning, where everything had to be created from zero, but we can use these experiences in the future. I am really motivated to organize the second edition, after having the feedbacks from our survey that almost 100% responded that they would like to come back to our next camp. We have a great idea for the next year! Because of the name "Bootcamp" we will provide a 30 minutes military training every morning. After all, we can play the trombone better if we are healthy, right?