The International Brass Instruments Festival: inclusion and collaboration between artists

The coming week is expected to be intense for many musicians who will take part in the International Brass Instruments festival  this year marks the third edition. In this musical event will be joined the passionate of these instruments, the musicians who have devoted years of study and work and fatigue to their formation in the name of love for music and the values ​​it brings to society. Opusalb talked with Ilir Kodhima, the Artistic Director of this Festival, and also the first horn of the National Theater of Opera and Ballet. We kindly  invite you to follow our conversation.

Opusalb: Ilir how did you take over the first edition and who were your supporters?

I. Kodhima: These kind of  big  activities in Albania can never be organized alone.  The aim of this event is the inclusion and cooperation especially among Albanian artists. Through the Australian Company “Hammerings Rekords” with leading songwriter Alan Holley, we managed to get the initial support of starting this long and very significant journey to all of Albania. Artists P. Goodchild, A.Holley and K. Brugopavlovic were part of a Balkan tour: in Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia and Albania. The Ministry of Culture was the institution that entrusted us with our dream, but also the University of Arts has been one of our most important supporters by making available all its capabilities. The artists participating in the first edition were: Paul Goodchild – Australia, Alan Holley – Australia, Milan Roksandic – Serbia, Albanian Jazz Society, Albanian Brass Ensemble, Prishtina Brass etc. One of the most important points of the Festival was the opening of the Albanian Instrument Exhibition “STRAW” by Ermal Sela. This exhibition made a connection between traditional Albanian and contemporary instruments, understanding their development in time to the present day

Opusalb: How did the events come from first to the third edition? 

I. Kodhima: Each of the editions has its own particularities, but the priorities and intentions are the same: masterclass and concerts in halls or in the Park. We have tried participating artists to come from different countries or from different continents. In this way we could unify all the techniques or methods and we can learn as much from their culture.


Opusalb: What to expect from this edition when the last one was very satisfying?

I. Kodhima: In this edition we will have invited some world-famous artists and this means that we will have wider audience  from different countries of the world. This is also confirmed by their interest in our social networks. It does not mean that they play brass instruments and are not interesting to a wide audience. These artists belong to various genres such as Jazz, Classical, Pop, etc. and will hold conferences or masterclasses focused on the development of music in general. The second edition showed that public interest was as great as in concert halls and near the Artificial Lake.


Opusalb: What are the difficulties that such organization has, and what are the people or institutions that have supported you? 

I. Kodhima: Since we were very correct and professional in both previous editions, it has not been very difficult to get the support of the Ministry of Culture, Embassies accredited in Tirana or with other supporters. However, this kind of activity is quite costly compared to the opportunities we have, but we have been trying to be on a global level as organizers having a staff of more than 8 people and detailing each schedule in the best possible way .

Opusalb: Do you think Albanian youth are fond of these instruments and how can this festival affect this awakening of this passion? 

I. Kodhima:  If before the 90s students had great lack of  information, methods or literature, at present these students no longer have musical instruments, literature, and often pedagogues. In some music schools in Albania there is no student of brass instruments due to these deficiencies that are penalizing not only this branch but also art in general. If they do not receive proper attention from the relevant instances, a vacuum will be created that will still take us long to repair. Another major problem is the labor market. Symphonic orchestras in the cities of Albania are no longer functional, not because of the capacities but because of the lack of funding. No city in Albania including Tirana does not have a symphony orchestra that can inspire and bring the new generation of artists closer together. At our festival, over 60 students have been present in the masterclasses and this means that there is a gifted generation that promises much but economically impossible to buy an instrument, to take their experiences abroad and even pay the school in their own country.



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