I’m very happy to announce that I’ve just won the Jeju International Brass Competition for euphonium on the very nice island of Jeju in South-Korea. This competition has grown into one of the biggest solo competitions over the world and I guess it’s even the biggest one for euphonium.
The trip started really well with a very nice travel experience. When I arrived at Amsterdam airport they told me the flight to Seoul was fully booked and offered me an upgrade to business class. The trip couldn’t start better, with excellent food and a comfy chair.
Korea was really hot and humid, no ideal circumstances to play. It took me two days to adjust, exactly the time I had before the first round began. 56 euphonium players tried their luck there, so I felt sorry for the adjudicators. After this round the players who made it to the second round were announced by head of Jury Steven Mead.
We had to play the second round two days later. In this round they had cut the number of young players to 16. So it was a very tough competition indeed. I really liked the repertoire of the second round. I had to play Soliloquy XI by Wiggins and Concerto per Flicornobasso by Ponchielli. I have a lot of great memories about that last piece. All the players knew the adjudicators were only allowed to let 3 or 4 players through to the final so you could feel the tension when Steven Mead came out to announce the results. I was very nervous too. It’s very strange but I’m always more nervous for results than for playing. Even with band competitions.
I was very happy to go to the final together with Misa and Corentin which are both good friends from previous competitions. That’s the nice thing about competitions. You get to know young players from all over the world and there is no rivalry at all. We all become very good friends and listen to each other’s rehearsals and even comment and help a little bit where we can.
The final is a special thing. They give you the opportunity to play with Symphony Orchestra which is very special for a euphonium player. You don’t often get the chance to play with a full orchestra. Symphonic Variants by James Curnow was the piece for the final. A great challenging piece for euphonium and orchestra. I had to play number 3 cause we keep the same order throughout the competition. The orchestra did a very good job and I was happy with the performance so what can you expect more?
I couldn’t believe when I won this competition. By a mark of 21.8 out of 22 which I really didn’t expect. Here is a little quote from head of jury Steven Mead:
“Congratulations Glenn on your success at the recent solo competition in Jeju, South Korea. This is a very important and prestigious event in the world brass calendar and you won this in fine style, receiving universal praise from the large jury. Your musicianship, coolness on stage and outstanding technique made this a great occasion for you, and one I’m sure you’ll remember for years to come. You deserve this success as you work so hard, and I’m so pleased I was there in Jeju to witness all these events. Bravo and keep up the great work for the euphonium. “
Steven Mead Head of Jury, Euphonium Solo Competition, 7th International Solo Competition, Jeju, South- Korea. (end of quote)
I would like to thank my parents for all the support through the years. Without them I wouldn’t be able to undertake such trips and perform like this or do anything of the playing I do now.