Velika Gorica Brass Festival
The 17th Velika Gorica Brass Festival was held May 4–7, 2023, in Velika Gorica, Croatia. The event has been hosted since 2007, under the artistic direction of Tomislav Špoljar. Previous festivals have featured artists such as Allen Vizzutti, James Morrison, Radovan Vlatkovic, Mnozil Bass, Les Trompettes de Lyon, and others. This year’s featured artists included the Finnish brass ensemble Euphoria Brass Sextet and the American brass ensemble Quintasonic Brass.
Opening concert featuring firefighters' ensemble (Photo Credit: Josip Škof)
The opening concert was presented by an amateur orchestra of firefighters performing with children from a local artistic school of Franjo Lučić. Soloists for the opening concert included five young trumpet players and a young trombonist. The second concert was a jazz event presented by a big band made up of medical workers, who accompanied the featured soloist Vincent DiMartino, an American trumpet player and former ITG President, whose trumpet artistry is known far and wide.
Vince DiMartino with the Croatian Big Band (Photo Credit: Josip Škof)
During the week, master classes were given to participating students by various guest artists, including Vince DiMartino (trumpet/USA) Gerasimos Ioannidis (trumpet/Greece), Jason Dovel (trumpet/USA), Matthew Haislip (horn/USA), Alex van Duuren (trombone/USA), and Alex Lapins (tuba/USA).
Euphoria Brass Sextet with guest on bandoneon, Henrik Sand (Photo Credit: Josip Škof)
The last two concerts featured the guest artists. On Friday night, the Finnish ensemble Euphoria Brass Sextet presented a concert with a guest on bandoneon, Henrik Sand. Euphoria played a unique program exhibiting tangos by Astor Pizzolla. On Saturday, the festival concluded with a Finale concert by Quintasonic Brass from the USA. Their diverse program included both classical and jazz selections, and they also featured Greek trumpet player Gerasimos Ioannidis as a flugelhorn soloist on Joachim Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez .
Quintasonic Brass featuring Greek trumpeter Gerasimos Ioannidis (Photo Credit: Josip Škof)
Vince DiMartino with artistic director Tomislav Špoljar (Photo Credit: Josip Škof)
By all accounts the festival was a resounding success, with each night’s concerts being well-supported by the community with excellent attendance and effusive applause. (Source: Tomislav Špoljar)