Larry Larson, Principal Trumpet, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony

CLAUDIA: How many years have you been playing professionally as a trumpet player?

LARRY: 30 years
CLAUDIA: Where did you go to school?
LARRY: I graduated from DePaul University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Music in Trumpet Performance.
CLAUDIA: What or who was your guiding influence as a music student?

LARRY: As a trumpet student at DePaul University, my trumpet instructor Ross Beacraft was my guiding light-- with his patience, positive attitude, and professional smarts on the free-lance job sites. I then had the great opportunity to study with the legendary Bud Herseth of the Chicago Symphony during my 2-years in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. His sound is still the zenith to which I strive every time I pick up the horn.
CLAUDIA: Did you listen to and study only Classical music while in school?
LARRY: Before I got to DePaul, I had never even heard an orchestra, and was a devoted jazz player. I switched gears literally overnight in my first year of school, after I heard my very first Chicago Symphony concert. My jazz playing took a back seat until about 10 years ago when I resurrected it with a vengeance.
CLAUDIA: What types of music do you also listen to besides Symphonic repertoire?
LARRY: I listen to a wide variety of jazz artists, a lot of Dave Matthews Band, Sting, The Beatles, Brian Wilson, Elvis Costello, and many, many movie soundtracks.
CLAUDIA: What are some of your favorite movie soundtracks?
LARRY: “Lord of the Rings” Trilogy (Howard Shore), “Born On The Fourth Of July” (John Williams), “Star Wars” (John Williams), “King Kong” (Max Steiner), “Adventures of Robin Hood” (Erich Korngold), “Spartacus” (Alex North), “L.A. Confidential” (Jerry Goldsmith), “Jurassic Park” (John Williams).
CLAUDIA: Who are your favorite composers to perform?
LARRY: Gustav Mahler – his trumpet writing is like no one else’s. I often wonder what he would think of today’s trumpet playing, especially on our modern instruments. I would have loved to have him hear Bud Herseth play ANY of his works!
CLAUDIA: Which of your favorite composers do you listen to in your free time?
LARRY: Mahler, Bach, Puccini, John Williams
CLAUDIA: What made the Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy performance memorable for you as a performing artist?
LARRY: I have had the opportunity to record many movie soundtracks in my career, but have rarely had the chance to BE the live soundtrack while the film-video game is being shown. This was a terrific thrill, as Nobuo Uematsu’s scores to Final Fantasy play out like the thrilling, blockbuster movie soundtracks that I love to listen to.
CLAUDIA: Do you usually get an audience like this for your season symphony subscription concerts?
LARRY: This concert was the antithesis of our typical symphony subscription concert, as we NEVER see and hear a composer welcomed by his screaming fans as if he was a rock star. This Final Fantasy audience was on fire right from the dimming of the lights at the top of the show. It was utterly thrilling to be a part of that kind of energy – an energy that seemed to build throughout the night. I know that many of my colleagues in the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony were also impressed and blown-away both with the quality of the music and the overwhelming response from the audience.
CLAUDIA: What types of opera or symphonic music do you think the enthusiastic fans of Nobuo Uematsu’s music would like as well?
LARRY: There is no question that Uematsu’s fans would enjoy the operas of Puccini and some Wagner, and certainly the symphonic music of Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss – and certainly all of the movie scores of John Williams, as well as Howard Shore’s “Lord Of The Rings” Trilogy.
CLAUDIA: Are you friends with any gamers who like listening to the works of Nobuo Uematsu?
LARRY: It turns out that he is the favorite composer of one of our neighbors, who’s fiancé is an exec at EA Games.
CLAUDIA: How do you think a typical symphony orchestra could encourage the Final Fantasy fans to come back regularly to their concerts?
LARRY: I suppose by marketing certain composers as being major influences/inspirations to today’s video game composers. Also, by encouraging the fans to experience what it’s like to hear this type of music played by a living, breathing orchestra, as opposed to a midi file created for many of their video games. What is it we say? “Live music is best!”