Commissioned by trombonist Stuart Dempster, Erickson's General Speech is a setting of a farewell speech given by General Douglas MacArthur at West Point Military Academy in 1962. The piece requires the trombonist to speak the words of the speech through the mouthpiece of the trombone, while at the same time executing precise musical passages.
Berk Schneider, trombone, serves as an advocate for the arts through creative performances that resonate with a 21st century audience by incorporating an interdisciplinary approach towards improvisation, performance art, theatrical drama, and interactive community outreach. This fuels practices which reflect both the time honored traditions of western classical music and the realities facing today’s international artistic community through examination of the impact of culture and experience on music cognition.
Berk's musical experiences have taken him across the globe, from Saint Peters Basilica, Vatican City with the Orchestra of the Americas performing a Mozart Mass under the direction of Helmuth Rilling to Carnegie Hall with Maestro Valery Gergiev and Ravel's Bolero. Berk has toured the Western Hemisphere extensively, teaching and performing in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and the U.S.A. From the eerie perplexity of the Orange Show Monument nestled in Houston’s East End to the sold out Toyota Center and Frankfurt's Bockenheimer Depot, and the Berlin Philharmonie, performances occur in venues ranging from abandoned bunkers, parks, and traditional concert halls. His collaborations are equally varied, having worked alongside musicians, Joshua Bell, Josh Groban, conductors Enno Poppe, Brad Lubman, Robert Spano, composers Helmut Lachenmann, Beat Furrer, Phillip Glass, actor Alexander Fehling, the Houston/Firelands symphonies, and artistic genius Heiner Goebbels.
As an avid contemporary musician Berk has commissioned and performed many new creative works. A grant awarded to him by the Hilda and Hershel Rich Family Endowment for Community Service funded the creation of "Procession," a trombone concerto by Seung-ah Oh, recipient of the Buma Toonzetters Prize. Most recently Berk has collaborated with rising experimental music figure, Jeff Young on the invention of a one hour improvised performance art recital entitled “Musik aus einem winssenschaftlichen Abend” which was presented at the AtelierFrankfurt art collective.
In Europe Berk has performed in the Darmstadt Summer Course and with Ensemble Modern in the Cresc Biennale Frankfurt, Klangspuren Festival Schwaz, the Kurt Weill Festival, Playsonic Festival, Hessischer Rundfunk radio broadcasts, and other projects. He also worked regularly with the Staatstheater Mainz and Schauspiel Frankfurt (2017). A regular musician with contemporary music ensembles in Austria and Germany, Berk performed "Antipoden" for trombone and ensemble by Gerald Resch with Ensemble Zeitfluss in Vienna (October, 2016) and premiered Ulrich Rasche’s "Sieben gegen Theben/Antigone" in Frankfurt (February, 2017). While being rolled on a 3x4 draisine through Frankfurt Central Station, he made a solo appearance during Studio Libeskind's "One day in Life" concert series, performing Berio's "Sequenza V" (April, 2016).
As a founding member of Mobile Beats Ensemble, a formation of alumni from the International Ensemble Modern Academy (2015/17), Berk will have the opportunity to invent many new projects in the future. He recently finished a critically acclaimed production of "Rose Bernd" with Schauspiel Frankfurt and hopes on returning to Ecuador soon to teach with the Sociedad Fondo Jovenes Talentos in Guayaquil and perform the Tomasi Trombone Concerto. He is currently a D.M.A. candidate at UCSD and is curating his new solo show 'Imposter Syndrome.'
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