HPO’s Principal Trumpet player Michael Fedyshyn always had music in his childhood home. His mother sang in a church choir and his grandmother would play classical recordings from the Baroque period featuring the trumpet. “I remember hearing it and thinking ‘oh, what’s that sound?’ I really liked the sound of that instrument.” He started playing the trumpet when he was 12, but it was Michael’s high school teacher who detected his talent and recommended he take private lessons.
A longtime admirer of Jacques Cousteau, Michael planned to pursue marine biology in Australia or DC after high school. But his private teacher Roger W. Oades II second opened up a whole new orchestral world for the young trumpet player.
“It kind of dawned on me… I thought, if I can get good enough, then I think I’d rather do this than anything else,” he says.
Michael made the decision to become a professional musician and landed his first orchestra gig before he finished high school.
Michael has collaborated with a number of musicians outside the classical music realm, including Hamilton’s own beatboxer Hachey the MouthPEACE. “Brass and percussion often work together— it’s a pretty standard mix,” says Michael. Since beatboxers don’t typically read music when they perform, much of the performances between the HPO Brass Quintet and Hachey happened organically. He remembers that “we explained to [Hachey] that in this spot you’ve got some free time to do your thing, then we’ll come back in and play it by ear.” He would like to continue working with Hachey, mentioning that “we’re not done with this collaboration— it’s very different from some other stuff I’ve done in the past.”
Michael cites our performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 as his favourite moment over the course of his near decade with the HPO. Since Marcelo Lehninger was the guest conductor for the evening, former music director Jamie Sommerville had the rare opportunity to hear the orchestra from the audience. “It was quite a nice thing for the orchestra to play such a big piece, an important piece in our repertoire, and to have Jamie there to hear it,” he says. “[Jamie] was really pleased and proud of the orchestra, and said ‘you could put any of those solo performances up against any major orchestra in North America.’” Jamie’s feedback and the caliber of the musicianship on stage that night marks that concert a special one for Michael.
He is married to fellow HPO musician and Principal Second Violinist Bethany Bergman. The couple have two kids and juggle a rather insane schedule. “Our schedule is so varied and so crazy…it’s like there is nothing that happens at the same time on a given day,” notes Michael. The key to surviving his family’s schedule is organization which Michael tries to instill in all his music students, stressing that find the right work/life balance is the key to success for professional musicians.
Michael and the HPO brass are prominently featured in our next concert on November 8, In Remembrance: Fanfare for the Common Man, especially in our title piece for the evening.
Check out Michael performing with the HPO Brass and Hachey the MouthPEACE from last year’s Happy Hour at Baltimore House.