Musician blows his own horn in Italy

Published on SGT Dave Morley (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Florence, Italy

HMAS Cerberus-based RAN Band member ABMUSN Fletcher Mitchell proudly represented Australia when he performed and taught at the 16th Italian Brass Week. (photo: Unknown)
HMAS Cerberus-based RAN Band member ABMUSN Fletcher Mitchell proudly represented Australia when he performed and taught at the 16th Italian Brass Week.

Performing as a soloist at different venues around Florence, Italy, including museums, cathedrals and town squares dating back 800 years, was a highlight of a musician’s recent trip away.

HMAS Cerberus-based Navy Band member, Able Seaman Musician Fletcher Mitchell, who joined the Navy as a musician in 2007, proudly represented Australia when he performed and taught at the 16th Italian Brass Week.

He said the Italian Brass Week was an international festival for brass musicians.

“It’s basically a week-long conference or seminar with performances, workshops, Q & A sessions, master classes and different presentations,” he said.

“I was invited to be the euphonium soloist for the week and joined some of the world’s best brass players who performed, conducted and gave master classes during the week.”

Able Seaman Mitchell said he performed all Australian music, which he tries to do whenever he travels, both in Australia and internationally.

“Of particular note was music I performed which was composed by current Australian Defence Force musicians.

HMAS Cerberus-based RAN Band member ABMUSN Fletcher Mitchell proudly represented Australia when he performed and taught at the 16th Italian Brass Week.

HMAS Cerberus-based RAN Band member ABMUSN Fletcher Mitchell proudly represented Australia when he performed and taught at the 16th Italian Brass Week.

Euphoism by Able Seaman Musician Wayne Preusker, Concertino for Euphonium by Leading Seaman Musician Martyn Hancock and Folk Dances by Australian Defence Force School of Music’s Captain Mike Fitzpatrick,” he said.

“Able Seaman Preusker’s Euphoism was heard by a Finnish euphonium player who took it back home to her university teacher who loved the work and will perform it as a guest soloist with the Finnish Police Band later this year.

“I also performed Sydney composer Brendan Collins’ Euphonium Concerto with the Maggio Musicale String Orchestra at the finale at the Florence Opera House to a capacity audience of 1,800.

“This was an amazing experience to perform Australian music to such a large audience with one of Italy’s top string orchestras in the beautiful Florence Opera House.”

According to Able Seaman Mitchell, there were 200 places available to attend the week for brass students, mainly university students, and all places were filled.

“These students and musicians came from 32 countries and came to work with the team of international brass soloists and educators I was lucky enough to be a part of,” he said.

“This was entirely civvy musicians as students and attendees.

“Most of the international brass soloists and educators were from top orchestras and professors at universities from around the world; I was the only military musician as part of the staff.”

Able Seaman Mitchell, who started playing the euphonium 25 years ago when he was eight, has also performed as a guest soloist throughout Europe, the UK, Asia, the US, Canada, New Zealand and all over Australia.