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Board of Trustees Visit Utley Collection in South Carolina

By Sabine K. Klaus
Joe R. and Joella F. Utley Curator of Brass Instruments

Sabine Klaus talks to Trustees

Twelve members of the NMM Board of Trustees, with their spouses, arrived on June 23, 2010, for a visit to the NMM's Southern satellite—The Joe R. and Joella F. Utley Collection of Brass Instruments and Institute for Brass Studies—in Joella Utley's home near Spartanburg, South Carolina. Although they enjoyed Joella's warm greetings, some typically hot weather, and traditional Southern hospitality, they were awestruck by the riches of the collection that was donated to the NMM in 1999.

Sabine K. Klaus (above), the Joe R. and Joella F. Utley Curator of Brass Instruments, presented the group with a tour of the collection's highlights, including a natural trumpet in D by Johann Wilhelm Haas, Imperial City of Nürnberg, made ca. 1710-1720 (NMM 7212). Aided by videos that were filmed in the Utley home within the last three years, the visitors from South Dakota were able to admire not only the visual beauty of the instruments at hand, but also their sounds, as they were expertly played by world-renowned musicians.

Celeste Holler Seraphinoff (right) demonstrates the sound of a miniature natural horn made by Johann Wilhelm Haas, Imperial City of Nürnberg, in 1681 (NMM 7213), in a video shared with the Trustees during their visit.

Celeste Holler Seraphinoff plays miniature horn by Haas

Klaus talks about Queen Victoria's State Trumpet

The visitors were amazed to learn about a silver State Trumpet (NMM 7162) that was made in 1846-1847 by John Nichols, London, for the First Life Guards of Queen Victoria. It is one of a set of three State Trumpets, the other two still owned by Queen Elizabeth II and displayed at the Tower of London with the crown jewels.

Don Scott demonstrates principles of a natural trumpet Craig Kridel demonstrates bass cornetto

Reproductions of historic instruments in the Utley Collection were played for the Trustees by local musicians, Don Scott (Spartanburg) and Craig Kridel (Columbia). Scott (left) demonstrated the principles of playing a baroque trumpet, on a reproduction made by Joe Utley in 1997. A highlight of the trustees visit was the premier performance, by Kridel (right), of a bass cornetto (NMM 14480) made in 2010 by Roland Wilson of Cologne, Germany. It is based on a seventeenth-century description of a basse de cornets by the monk, Marin Mersenne, in his treatise Harmonie Universelle (Paris: 1636). This bass cornetto is the first exact copy made in modern times based on this historical source.

The tour of the Utley Collection was followed by a PowerPoint presentation about Klaus' forthcoming book, Trumpets and Other High Brass: A History Inspired by the Joe R. and Joella F. Utley Collection of Brass Instruments.

The NMM board members left South Carolina with a better idea about how portions of the Utley Collection could be incorporated into the NMM's planned building expansion, as well a greater insight into the multi-facted history of high brass instruments.

Klaus gave the Trustees an overview of her forthcoming book about the Utley Collection

Return to NMM Newsletter Index (August 2010)

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©National Music Museum, 2010
Most recent update: August 27, 2010

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