A Portrait of An Artist

An interview with Denis Wick Ambassador, Kate Amrine

Tell us a bit about your career. The amount of things you are doing in the brass world is pretty interesting!

 I am a freelancer in New York City where I play trumpet for a variety of situations across multiple genres from regional orchestras to subbing on Broadway to working as a soloist. I also teach private trumpet lessons through my own studio and as an Adjunct at New York University. My first album came out in fall 2017 and it featured new music for trumpet by women composers. You can find reviews of it here https://www.instagram.com/katetrumpet/p/BpCZPu0Aabh/ and here https://www.textura.org/archives/a/amrine_asiam.htm Recently I have been commissioning new works and doing some composing myself in preparation for my new album to come out this fall on innova records. It is called This is My Letter to the World and it features new music for trumpet inspired by political and social concepts. I wanted to start a conversation about many of the issues that are very important to me, yet the greater message isn't to say that my current beliefs are “correct” or “right” and if you don't agree then you are wrong. That would be crazy. I want to inspire discussions amongst listeners and those in various communities so that we can all work to make this world a better place regardless of our specific viewpoints. Outside of my album, teaching life, and freelancing, I've been playing a lot with my brass group Project eGALitarian which performs music by women composers and aims to inspire and impact the lives of women in our community. I also have been continuing to work on the Brass Chicks blog. I recently started a duo (Spark Duo) with my partner Ford Fourqurean on clarinet and we just completed our first North east tour and NYC show of premieres. 

In a recent This is You podcast, we interviewed Denis Wick Ambassador Mark Ponzo and he was mentioning that 5 years ago, the dean at his school sent out a memo that quoted 25% of his students would be working jobs in the future that don’t even exist. Do you feel like any of your current career was self created, or didn’t really exist as part of a “Musician’s Career” while you were in school.

That’s fascinating! I do feel that probably 50% of my career has been things that I created by myself but I personally don’t think they are outside the realm of what I thought a “musician’s career” was while I was in school. However, many of the things I am doing now I definitely didn’t anticipate that I would be doing when I was in school. I’m thinking of my albums, my work as a soloist, and my involvement with Brass Chicks: nobody asked me to create these projects and when I was in school I never thought some of these things were possible or that I would be the one to do it. Fast forward some years later - I eventually had the idea to do these things and collaborate with the appropriate people. I imagine that perhaps the dean was referring to jobs in social media or other aspects of building a career as a musician that are quickly becoming a big aspect of the regular musician’s career. Some of those things - including being a regular poster on Instagram - I definitely didn’t think I would be doing or see as a legitimate part of a what I would be doing in music. Of course now I’ve realized how valuable it is and I am a full believer. I also think that generally this quote is hitting at the freelancer mindset and trajectory because there are less open auditions and less spots to be won in more “traditional” music careers such that we all have to think a bit more outside the box to things we never thought were possible. 

Tell us a little about your work with Brass Chicks. What is it, how did it begin?

The Brass Chicks blog was actually originally founded by Rebecca Epstein-Boley whom I met at a summer festival. She approached me about an interview for my first album and I realized how important and how impactful the project would be with two people working on it so we decided to collaborate. We plan who to interview, write the interview questions, curate posts from fellow female brass players in the community, and write articles ourselves. Personally, my intention behind the blog is to create an outlet for women of all ages to be inspired and learn about other women in the community. Growing up I didn't have very many female brass mentors and I also didn't realize there was a whole world beyond simply teaching or performing in an orchestra. Our goal with the blog is to promote the creative contributions of female brass players across the entire music business and highlight important topics that affect female musicians that many other publications aren't directly discussing.    

What are some projects you hope to work on in the future?

With my duo, we are in the process of putting together more performances and tours of our unique instrumentation (plus electronics) as well to colleges and high schools across the country. We are also applying for many grants to reach schools and areas that may not have the appropriate means to bring us to work with their students. I’m in the planning stages for a new trumpet organization in NYC as well. With my upcoming album, i am in the process of putting together more performances and reaching out to schools. Activism and social justice are two things that I am very passionate about and I want to be able to share this music with as many people as possible. 

 

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