From Vatican to Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

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Renowned German trumpet soloist Otto Sauter will have two performances this weekend in Ho Chi Minh City

Otto Sauter is not self-conscious about his small, rugged teeth like bamboo roots.

For him, it is a small price pay for playing the trumpet since he was 4.

Born on the shores of Lake Constance at the northern foot of the Alps, which occupies an extremely beautiful corner of Central Europe, Sauter also had to make a career choice very, very early in his life.

"I was torn between becoming a horse-breeder like my father or a trumpet player," said the famous German musician, whose water is an amateur trumpet player himself. 

"But at the age of eight, I decided to become a professional trumpeter."

That was 44 years ago. Since then, Sauter, whose mother is a soprano singer, has pursued his musical dream, working as a piccolo trumpet soloist. He received his orchestral diploma from the Winterthur Conservatoire in 1984 and his soloist diploma one year later.

"I love playing music and want to play music that everyone loves," he told Vietweek in an interview on January 21.

The German artist also explained the importance of the trumpets in an orchestra, "The sound from the trumpets are well-noticeable and distinguish the players themselves, in comparison with other instruments, including string ones and piano."

"[As a result] I fear nothing and can control my body completely when I am on the stage with my piccolo."

Known as one of the world's leading trumpet soloists, Sauter has traveled widely, performing in all major concert halls and music festivals, including in the Vatican for Pope John Paul II and 50,000 visitors together with the Philharmonia Hungarica during the Festa Musica Pro Mundo VNO.

Vietnam is the only Asian country he has never been to, but with three performances in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City this week, Sauter has the chance to complete his Asian tour map and local audiences have the chance to listen to him live.

Sauter's Vietnam debut performance took place on January 22 at the Vietnam National Academy of Music in Hanoi where he was also asked to give a lecture on the trumpet to the school's master class students, whereas in HCMC, concerts will be organized at the renowned Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica in District 1 on January 26
and 27.

For the two 45-minute concerts, which are open and free to the public, the German artist will present on his piccolo, the smallest trumpet in an orchestra, several masterpieces including Adagio by Tomaso Albinoni; Adogio by Alessandro Marcello; Concert in D-Major by Anonymous Love; and Trumpet Concert in D-Major by Johann Melchior Molter.

"At first, I planned to visit one of my childhood friends, who is working in Vietnam, with my wife, but eventually the private trip includes the free shows as my gifts to local audiences, said Sauter, who was principal trumpeter in the Bremen State Philharmonic Orchestra from 1988-1998, and has been artistic director of the annual Bremen International Trumpet Festival, which is one of the world"˜s leading events for brass players, since 1991.

Sauter, who also does a good deal of teaching at international colleges, like the Bremen Academy of Arts, the Toho Gakuen School for Music in Tokyo and the Universidad Metropolitana de Santiago de Chile and founded the Bremen Trumpet Academy in 1994, says that he knows nothing about local audience and Vietnamese music.

But "I will come back in December with a concert with my ensemble, Ten of the Best, and make it a yearly event."

The piccolo soloist founded Ten of the best ensemble in 1991 to bring ten of the world's best trumpeters together under one roof and regularly go on concert tours in Japan, the USA and Europe. Since 2008, the ensemble of 10 trumpets, piano, bass and drums has regularly played with guest stars like STING guitarist Dominic Miller and Level 42 keyboarder Mike Lindup.

With EMI Classics, Sauter has released a series of CDs of world premiere recordings called "World of Baroque" containing about 600 rediscovered compositions of baroque and early classical masters like A. Scarlatti, G. Reutter or J. M. Molter, that had not been performed in the last 250 years.

Sauter's shows in HCMC are organized by Event Management Vietnam to raise funds for blind children at the Huynh De Nhu Nghia Shelter. The program will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

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