By Verena Jakobsen
|"Not only his trumpet was shining gold, but
his playing magnificently beautiful, elegant and overwhelming... the audience
alternated between awestruck gaping and enthusiastic cheering the whole
evening... his strength is amazing... and is equaled in his technique."
With these words, the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende (J. Brickner)
praised the playing of its countryman Michael Brydenfelt. Effusive commentary
of this kind is not a rarity, but can be read in the press worldwide.
At the age of only 30, Michael Brydenfelt has already played with several orchestras in countries of the world. The charming Dane, who captures the audience with his natural way as well as his first-class trumpet playing, is outstandingly received everywhere at the first go.
There are sometimes strange circumstances that can bring a person to choose a certain instrument. It appears like an accident that will later determine the whole life. Maybe, however, it isn't an accident, but a necessity that we are not able to judge upon.
One example of this is Michael Brydenfelt's trumpet career. Experience him when he plays the trumpet, and there is nothing more self-evident in the world. However, it seems to have been purely an accident as little Michael exchanged his Cola for a trumpet with his pal. With that, as destiny would have it, he would break his leg, which would have to be in a cast for a year. He had become so bored that he kept trying to get tones out of the exchanged trumpet. At that time, he was 15 years old.
The Way to Becoming a Professional Trumpeter
Michael was soon sure that he wanted to dedicate himself seriously to the trumpet. He started to practice thoroughly, and at 18 years of age, he eventually came to the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music in Copenhagen as a student in the trumpet class of Ole Andersen.
-At this time I was just an average student, he says about himself. I realized that, when I heard a recording of "Le Sacre du Printemps" with the Paris Conservatory.
Michael tried from then on to change this fact. He went to see diverse other teachers outside the Conservatory, for example: Edward Tarr and Bo Nilsson. With the latter he spoke a lot about practice discipline and serious attitude towards trumpet playing.
-I simply couldn't understand why others could play so well, but not I.
Among others, he turned to David Hickman. Michael can tell some exact details about this that is committed to his memory. He already had an appointment with David Hickman when he felt uncertain and became very nervous just days before his departure. The ticket was already bought and it was no use, the great master was waiting for him.
Michael reports how he was assigned to learn the Brandenburg Concerto, which he had never played before, for the next lesson in two days, from memory. It was like a cold shower! It wasn't however that Michael had any doubts about his task. He now practiced with the necessary defiance and already had the Concerto down by the next day. This clearly shows that Michael's character does not allow him to relax, but to keep trying until his goal has been reached. As a trial of strength and a reward at the same time, Michael played the Brandenburg Concerto in public soon after he had returned to Copenhagen from Canada.
In order to complete his education as a trumpeter, Michael did the entrance examination for the Conservation National Superieur de Musique in Paris. As a student of Pierre Thibaud he went through the hard school of the strict teacher which meant a daily practice time of eleven hours!
However, Michael consciously sacrificed these years of his life to dedicate himself to the trumpet, and to come closer to his goal of being a trumpet soloist.
Michael didn't yet have the goal of becoming a soloist at the beginning of his studies in Copenhagen, but had a firm idea of the job of an orchestral trumpeter which appeared to be fun, pleasant, and desirable work. The social aspect of this was decisive.
It's in Michael's nature, however, that when he does something, he fully dedicates himself to it. During his apprenticeship years in Copenhagen he came to a point where it became clear that if he spent so much time and energy, with his whole life actually dedicated to the trumpet, then he should play out the game completely and become a, soloist.
Michael is content with his life as a soloist. He loves to travel and meet and get to know people.
-It is simply fantastic to be a soloist, even of course when it means very hard work.
Each time he looks forward to be able to play a concert, and a couple of hours before it he can hardly wait to go on stage. He loves to turn himself over to hundreds of people and to give them something with his playing.
Michael sees his prominent status in Denmark from being a soloist as something positive. The newspapers overwhelm him with praise and women magazine reporters come to his home and write about his life with his family. He is pleased, of course, that his CDs meet with such approval and are so well sold.
Carol Conrad has been a guiding influence on him. The American pianist whom Michael met at the Prague Spring Competition in 1992 became his accompanist. He says that she has helped him tremendously in his development as a trumpet personality and especially in the area of musical form she has been a not to be underestimated mentor. They often perform together and it is a delight to see how they both play off each other in the smallest details.
Michael and Carol are now married and at the beginning of last year have received a cute little son named Matthias.
-It's wonderful to have a child! We love our son, says Michael.
It is moving to see the proudness of fatherly happiness beaming on his face. He seems surprised about my question if it isn't difficult to combine family and profession. Especially when both parents are such outstanding, sought - after.
-It is fantastic and not complicated at all, says the usually relaxed and uncomplicated young man.
Matthias is either at day care or he sleeps in the baby carriage while his parents are rehearsing or playing a concert together.
Michael's Trumpet Playing Today
Michael play over 100 concerts a year with symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, piano or organ. He is happy with his work and the lifestyle that goes with it. He would even like to increase the number of concerts in the future.
Until now he has brought out two CD's. Michael's first CD, "Trumpet Player" (CCS 10 197) appeared last year. He recorded it together with his long-time organ accompanist, Søren Johannsen. It contains works by Charpentier, Handel, Albinoni, Telemann, Dvorak, Bach, Viviani and others. His second CD "Trumpet Concertos" (CCS 11297) has recently come out. It is the result of working together with the Odense Symphony Orchestra and contains concertos by Telemann and Haydn as well as the Brandenburg Concerto No 2. Both CD's were met with great approval and are already sold in great number.
In addition, the young trumpet soloist has received a number of prizes and awards. At the end of his studies in Paris he was awarded with the "Premiere Prix a l'Unamite" for Solo Trumpet. Among others, in 1991 he won 1st Prize of the Danish National Trumpet Guild Competition, as well as 1st Prize of the EuroITG Competition for young artists in 1993 He took 4th Prize in the 44th International Music Competition of the Prague Spring Festival in 1992 and in 1993 the 3rd prize and the prize for exceptional performance in the 18th International Concours pour Instruments a Vent in Toulon, as well as the 3rd prize in Bernard Soustrot's "Prestige de la Trompette" in Guebviller in Alsace. Other than that he received in Denmark in 1994 the Gladsaxe Music Prize and the Carl Nielsen Stipend as well as a special award from the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
His repertoire is diverse and extends from Albinoni of the baroque to the classic Haydn Concerto to a modern Hindemith or Copland. Michael also likes to perform new music. Included in his repertoire are works by Henze, Friedman, Stockhausen and Zbinden to name some examples. He describes it as a uplifting feeling to perform works written especially for him.
An inspiring side effect of his travels is to meet other musicians and trumpet players.
-It is so nice that there is enough room for all, says Michael assuredly and dismisses, any competition between trumpeters. You can't compare one trumpeter with another anyway and he is certain of one thing:
-When one feels that one must play the trumpet in order to be happy, then one should follow this way completely!
Michael is the best example of this philosophy of life.
(translation: Thomas Sheibels)