Zsolt Szabo, Western Carolina University’s assistant professor of trombone and euphonium, has been chosen to join a select group of internationally renowned trombone players to judge an online competition.
The Hungarian Trombone Camp has established the first stay-at-home International Online Trombone Competition. Szabo was one of 12 judges selected to judge the tenor trombone. Szabo is the only full-time professor to be chosen.
“It’s a very big honor for me because most of the people on the judge’s panel pretty much are the most famous and the most well-known trombone players in the world,” Szabo said. “They are literally at the forefront of my field and so to be selected to be among them, it’s really a great honor.”
The competition features 11 categories with various age groups. Participants are asked to record and submit one or two videos, which will be judged by the jury panel. The deadline for entry is June 1.
“With the COVID-19 situation, I think it’s a very new and unique idea to organize this online competition,” Szabo said. “I think it’s going to be something to do for the students who are cooped up at home and there aren’t many prospects for the summer. There’s no travel and no summer opportunities. I think this is going to be a great opportunity for students to do something and find the motivation to practice and continue working hard on their skills.”
The most challenging part will be judging the varying degrees of sound quality, said Szabo, who is a member of the American Trombone Quartet, the Hungarian Trombone Connection, the Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet and is the Principal Trombone of the Brevard Philharmonic Orchestra.
“Unless someone has really high-tech, studio-level recording capabilities, it’s going to be very difficult to really judge quality over tone, or over sound,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult and challenging. I’m estimating some people might have good quality mics, but most everyone will not.”
For more information on the competition or to apply, visit onlinetrombonecompetition.com.