5 February, 2020

Miguel García Casas – Young promises of the trombone by Innovatrombone.

Principal trombone at the Frankfurt Opera


At Innovatrombone we continue to introduce young trombonists who are expected to have a long career. In this occasion we have contacted the main trombone in Frankfurt Oper- Und Museumsorchester.

Ópera de Frankfurt

We are delighted to meet trombonist Miguel García Casas.

Miguel García Casas.

Bío: Miguel García Casas (1994, Les Coves de Vinromà -Castellón-) began his musical studies with Israel Salvador at the music school of the Unió Musical Covarxina in his home town and with Félix García at the “Mestre Feliu” Conservatory in Benicarló (Castellón). He finishes the Professional Degree at the Conservatory “Mestre Tárrega” in Castellón with Juan Domínguez, obtaining the highest qualification and the Professional Degree Award. Later he studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid with Professor Elies Hernandis, finishing his studies with the highest marks and winning the RCSMM Extraordinary End of Studies Prize. He furthered his musical training by taking a Master’s Degree in Musical Performance at the Hochschule der Künste Bern with Professor Ian Bousfield. In addition, he has participated in numerous improvement courses with prestigious teachers at a national and international level, being also a student of Carlos Gil and Indalecio Bonet in the Stomvi Trombone Classroom.

From the beginning he is a member of the Unió Musical Covarxina and the Associació Musical Ciutat de Benicarló. He has been a full member of the Banda Federal de la Federación de Sociedades Musicales de la Comunidad Valenciana, the Jove Orquestra Simfònica de Castelló (JOSC), the Joven Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid (JORCAM), the Joven Orquesta Nacional de España (JONDE), the Nationaal Jeugdorkest (NJO) and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra Academy (SHMF); reserve of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (GMJO) and the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO). He has also been awarded in competitions for young performers, such as the Second Prize in the Competition for Young Soloists of the “Mestre Tárrega” Conservatory in Castellón and the First Prize in the National Competition for Young Performers Ciutat de Xàtiva. As a soloist, he has performed with the Asociación Musical Ciutat de Benicarló and the Orquesta Sinfónica del Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid, interpreting the concerts of Launy Gröndahl and Nino Rota, respectively.

In the professional field, he has collaborated with the Santa Cecilia Classical Orchestra, the Spanish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, the Barbieri Symphony Orchestra and the European Philharmonic of Switzerland (EPOS), among others. In addition, he has been an academician of the “Orquestra Simfònica de les Illes Balear” and the “Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España”. In April 2017 he is selected as a trainee of the Biel Solothurn Theater Orchestra (Switzerland) and in September 2017 he wins the place of Trombone Soloist of the Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester (Frankfurt Opera House Symphony Orchestra).

With regard to chamber music, he has also collaborated with the ARTE chain (Germany) for the recording of Uwe Dierksen’s music in the film “Der Geiger von Florenz”, with Maestro Christoph Eschenbach together with the Kronberg Academy recording P. Hindemith’s Kammermusik and assiduously with the Frankfurt Chamber Brass ensemble. He is also a founding member of the bass brass group And The Brass and the trombone choir Nineties Trombone Ensemble.

He has been granted a scholarship by the Dávalos-Fletcher Foundation (Castellón), the BBVA/JONDE Foundation, LYRA Stiftung (Switzerland), Geert und Lore Blanken – Schlemper – Stiftung (Switzerland) and “Rita Zimmermann Stiftung (Switzerland) for the completion of the Master at the Hochschule der Künste Bern (Switzerland) with Professor Ian Bousfield during the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 academic years.

Innovatrombone: Hi Miguel, we’re happy to chat with you, welcome to Innovatrombone!

Miguel Garcia: Hi!!

Innovatrombone: You confess your age to us?.

Miguel Garcia: Of course, I am 25 years old (born in 1994).

Innovatrombone: Where are you from?

Miguel García: I’m from a small village in the interior of the province of Castellón, in the Plana Alta, called Les Coves de Vinromà.

Innovatrombone: How did your interest in music and/or trombone come about?

It all started at home. My grandfather plays the saxophone, guitar and piano, my mother the saxophone and piano and my father the clarinet. Although none of them are professionals, for me it’s as if they were (they are always the most critical ears to which one exposes oneself). That’s why there was never a lack of musical instruments at home, besides having always been with them in the rehearsals of the Unió Musical Covarxina (the band from my village).

I remember that my parents had a recording of Ray Conniff, where he played “Kiss me a lot”. I couldn’t stop listening to it and imagine that I played the trombone like him! At home I found a broom that had a telescopic handle, which was an imaginary slide more than perfect.

In those years my father tried to make football one of my passions, but I wasn’t the type to sweat the shirt at every game; I didn’t even run to get the ball! So we came to an agreement, the time spent on going to football was to be spent on going to the Conservatory, as at that time I was learning music at my village band school.

From there we went to the Music Conservatory to choose an instrument and the offer that was left at that time was of several instruments very interesting for my parents, and the most interesting for me: the Trombone. Although my mother tried hard, she couldn’t take away the idea of Ray Conniff’s trombone…

Innovatrombone: Tell us, with whom and where did you start studying trombone?

Miguel García: I received my first lessons from Félix García and Israel Salvador (both current musicians of the Banda Municipal de Castellón). With Felix at the Conservatorio Mestre Feliu de Benicarló and with Israel at the Escuela de Música de la Unió Musical Covarxina.

Beginning with the trombone. Concert with the Unió Musical Covarxina

Beginning with the trombone. Course in La Vall d’Uixó with Rogelio Igualada Rogelio Igualada.

Innovatrombone: Where did you continue your trombone studies?

Miguel García: Then I asked for a transfer to the Mestre Tárrega Professional Conservatory in Castellón where I continued my studies with Félix and other teachers. I also participated as an active student in the Trombone Academy with the teachers Carlos Gil and Inda Bonet between 2009 and 2012. Afterwards I moved to Madrid to study the Higher Degree at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid with Elíes Hernandis (2012-2016). Although my tutor was Elíes, I would like to highlight Enrique Cotolí and Simeón Galdúf, since with them we had classes of chamber music, sackbut, orchestral repertoire… very interesting; in addition to the classes of repertoire with piano that we had with Chiky Martín, who was like another trombone teacher!

Photo RCSMM Classroom with Elies Hernandis, Enrique Cotolí and Simeón Galdúf.
(December 2014)

I finally continued my Master’s studies with Ian Bousfield at the Hochschule der Künste Bern (Bern, Switzerland) (2016-2018).

End of course With Ian Bousfiel (2016-2018)

Innovatrombone: Can you tell us about the teachers who have most influenced you and why?

Miguel Garcia: This is a very complicated question from my point of view. I think all teachers influence us in one way or another, either musically, personally or as an example of how not to do things. There have been teachers with whom I have felt more identified, others with whom the work has been easy and quick… but what I am sure of is that I have always been lucky enough to study with teachers who in one way or another have helped me advance and take the steps that we thought would be the most correct at the time.

Innovatrombone: What trombone and mouthpiece do you currently use?

Miguel Garcia: Since I started as a superior I have almost always used the same material. The mouthpiece is a Greg Black 4G-5G and my trombone is an Edwards T350 with bell and pink tuning slide, and TBC slide with the tudel 3. The alto trombone I use is basically whatever, I have a very old Yamaha from the orchestra right now and I have also used the Courtois; always with the JK 8F mouthpiece. We also use in the opera trombones, in my case tenor and alto, classics of the Egger brand.

Although this is a material that I am not dissatisfied with, I am always trying to try new things and constantly looking for an instrument that makes me happier when I play and when I study.

Innovatrombone: You tell us about your first auditions? (young orchestras and professionals)

Miguel Garcia: That was a few days ago! The first auditions I held, if I remember correctly, were for the Joven Orquesta Sinfónica de Castellón. In 2011 approximately. I remember that it was my biggest dream at that time to play there with Javi Sáez, with whom we still share a beautiful friendship. Afterwards I did quite a few tests for academies, young orchestras and professional orchestras, obtaining very varied results.

Innovatrombone: We know you work at the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra. Will you please tell us about your arrival there and the experience you’re having?

Miguel García: The truth is that I am quite lucky to have as partners good musicians and also people who most days come to work happy and eager to do interesting things. We had a good time from the first day, we joke a lot about any subject but when it comes to work we are serious. From the first day the whole metal section has been very nice and affectionate with me, so they make learning very easy. The language at the beginning gave for many laughs, but now that I speak a little bit of German, every day is a joke (they don’t stop laughing and making jokes…! Hahaha).

Innovatrombone: Please tell us about your orchestra’s ordeal experience.

Miguel García: Well, this was a funny story. Before winning the place, they did two tests (a very current fashion, never give the place in the first time that the tests are done…). In the first test I was invited to the pre-test where we were about 15 trombonists. From there, four of us went on to the second round (all Ian’s students) and then another colleague and I went on to the main test which was held the following day. There we were again 15 other trombonists, plus the two we had spent the day before.

The tests consisted of 3 rounds and 3 Spaniards made it to the final! There was a vote, as usual, but none of the three got enough votes to keep the place, so they left it deserted.

A few months later they got the soloist place again, and one of the academics, with only 4 or 5 days between the trials. Then my reflection was: “winning the soloist one will be difficult, but at least I have to win the academist one yes or yes…” and this time I was quite lucky! On this occasion there was no pre-test, but they were the main tests; and once again we got two Spaniards to the final! After the vote I was given a year and a half of probation. Then in the trial period everything worked more or less well and after 6 months they gave the fixed place, both to my trumpet partner and to me, who had started working the same day.

Innovatrombone: Any anecdotes you remember from the auditions?

Miguel García: Uff… there is a very good one! In the last round of the second auditions, they asked for Walkürenritt; I tried to be as German as possible and do my best. But all my efforts were not enough for the Headmaster. He stopped me, and quite annoyed, he told me in German things that I didn’t understand… so I had to apologize in front of the whole orchestra saying that I didn’t understand anything and if I could repeat it to myself in English. Obviously, they found the situation funny and uncomfortable. With an even more tense atmosphere, he made me repeat the orchestral extract three more times until it came out just as he wanted. Then with a smile he invited me to continue playing the other solos. At that moment I thought, “well Miguel, you can’t mess up anymore… so the ones you have left at least enjoy them…! Hahahaha” and with a half smile I could continue!

Trombone and tuba section of the Frankfurt Opera at the New Year’s concert. From left to right: Dorian Kraft, Rainer Hoffmann, Hartmut Friedrich and Miguel García.

Innovatrombone: What is a day in the trombone life of Miguel García like?

Miguel Garcia: Let’s just say that little by little I’m trying to be as effective as possible on the trombone/studio. Depending on whether I have rehearsals and/or performances on the day/week, I schedule my study in one way or another so that I can have as much time as possible for my hobbies or for anything other than trombone. If I have a very busy week, I just study; I spend about an hour preparing for the day’s repertoire and try to do technique exercises that add up (I mean those that can help me in the “weak spots” of each day with respect to the repertoire; I don’t do the whole range of exercises before each rehearsal and/or performance). I like to be fresh when I have to work, both in my mind and my body. If, on the contrary, I have time and little repertoire, or easy repertoire, I try to dedicate a long and intense hour to technique and study and then play what I am preparing at the moment (chamber music works, concerts, repertoire…). For me the most important thing is that the study is something that motivates me. I always like to finish the study in that moment when you are euphoric working something with desire and concentration, so the next day I still want to continue working. Obviously, studying has to be something meditated and adapted to each day and situation. It must always be supported by total concentration and a critical eye that helps us to continue improving, having fun.

Innovatrombone: Do you have a project for the future that you can tell us about? Orchestras, concerts, etc

Miguel García: well, the truth is that there is none… I simply continue to prepare tests and projects that I find interesting, and of course, studying with my head so that I can enjoy playing in the orchestra and making chamber music with the Nineties Trombone Ensemble and And The Brass more and more. Although, any new project is welcome!

Innovatrombone: It’s been a pleasure chatting with you Miguel, at Innovatrombone you have your home for whatever you need and we wish you the best for the future.

Miguel García: The pleasure was mine!

We say goodbye with the music of Nineties Trombone Ensemble and And the Brass, groups in which our guest is a member.

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