Women’s History Month Profile: Megumi Kanda

March feature! Each week I will profile a different woman or women in music who are particular heroes or inspiration for me.

This week, please welcome to the stage

MS MEGUMI KANDA!

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I wanted to be like those women, strong but elegant, and to make a path for other girl trombonists.

Tokyo native Megumi Kanda is one of the few women in the United States (or the world, for that matter!) to hold a trombone position in a major orchestra. She stole the scene at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 2002, winning the audition so resolutely the committee bypassed the trial period generally reserved for new musicians.

She began playing trombone at the age of 10 in Japan and moved to the United States to study at Cleveland Institute of Music with James DeSano. Prior to winning her MSO gig she played with the Rochester and Albany orchestras.

Most recently composer Amy Riebs Mills wrote a piece for her called “Red Dragonfly”, using thematic elements from one of Ms Kanda’s favorite Japanese songs. She premiered the work in 2013 at the International Trombone Festival in Columbus, Georgia.

She’s also performed as soloist in front of her own orchestra, and more information on that and her work so far can be found here: http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/arts/113082274.htmlmegum

Weekly Roundup 2/24/15

Reading: Taking a little study break for the week.

Practicing: Red Dragonfly, by Amy Riebs Mills, written for Megumi Kanda (of the Milwaukee Symphony). This was a house-warming gift from a friend and fellow musician. I’m excited to learn it and possibly perform it at next year’s Brass Chix!

Rehearsing: Thursday night I begin rehearsals for the Mozart Requiem with Exultate, a local choir and orchestra I have worked with before. Our performances are next weekend, March 6-8, so come see us if you can!

Minnehaha Repertory will be reading Franck:  Symphony in D Minor, Sibelius:  Lemminkäinen’s Return Op. 22 #4, and von Weber: Oberon Overture on Saturday.

Performing: Exultate Mozart Requiem March 6-8th, various locations around the Cities.

Listening: I have a big crush on Janelle Monae so pretty much her whole Metropolis cycle (so far). Also have you seen Jupiter Ascending? I mean, do yourself a favor. Seriously. The soundtrack, by Michael Giacchino, is real purdy, and over the top, and wonderful. He also wrote the music for Lost, the Incredibles, Star Trek, etc.

Teaching: Gearing up for a month of contest performances, so I’ve been encouraging my students to start incorporating performance runs in their practice sessions, and we’ve been doing the same in lessons.

Relaxing: I’m really dying to get outside and do some winter fun before spring, but negative degree days aren’t making that an option. Here’s hoping we’ll have some ‘reasonable’ winter so I can go for a hike in my new snow pants soon.