Monday, December 8, 2008

Alison Balsom

The classical music world has never been inclusive of women. Classical music as we know it today begin as church music in a time when women weren't allowed to speak in church, let alone sing or play an instrument, and it took art music many, many years to even began to overcome this bias. (And it's hardly a thing of the distant past!) A slavish devotion to the 'great masters' of classical music has kept women composers from being widely played even today - fortunately, the situation is much better for performers!

So, for the sake of variety (and to annoy the inverse art snobs...), I'm going to occasionally feature some classical music here.

As a classically trained trumpet player myself, I've often felt that my instrument was a sort of 'last frontier' for female musicians. I can't count the times I've heard: "Girls can't be really good at trumpet! They don't have enough lung power!", or some other such silly reason. (There are technical reasons that this isn't true - and curiously enough, the one instrument that argument does hold water for... is the flute!).

Thus, when I recently discovered Alison Balsom, I was instantly taken with her:

Balsom specializes partly in transcriptions from Bach and other related composers, and in my opinion, takes them to a level never attained before by a trumpet player. She's one of only a few female classical trumpet soloists - but hopefully one of the first of many, many more.

At this point, I've pretty much run out of things to say, so...

Just listen.

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