Hallo…Velkommen til Oslo!

“Alright, alright…”

Hello and welcome to the second instalment of my 2019 Summer Solo Performance Tour. What better way to begin a blog than by showing you a random picture of parked cars in an Alley. Awesome, right?!?! Well, it somewhat was. I was fortunate to walk through this alley 2 or even 3 times a day. But more about this alley later. Let’s begin with my trip.

My trip began with a nice 8 hour and 15min flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Oslo, Norway. It was a smooth flight on Norwegian Airlines and I can honestly say that I only remember 2 hours of it due to me sleeping on the plane 6 of those hours.

After deboarding, I had to catch a train in order to get to National Theatre. Like most times when waiting, I like to practice. Whether it’s on the plane, waiting in the airport terminal to board, anywhere is a great opportunity to practice. As per usual, people are amazed when they see musicians playing their instruments and like clockwork, people would creepily take pictures. However, this time around an older gentleman, Harald Dølheim, politely asked if he could take a couple of pictures and I said yes. Ladies and gents, they came out pretty good. Thanks, Harald, for the awesome shot!!!

Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Courtney…why are you in Oslo, Norway?” For those of you who know me, you know that I perform internationally and I try to stay abreast to hip s*** outside out of my backyard. Besides, an untraveled mind is a bigoted one!

10 years ago, the Stockholm Conservatory Brass Ensemble did a west-coast tour and performed at UCLA. Like most trumpet players with no ego, Game recognizes Game, and I quickly became friends with one of the baddest trumpet players I know, Axel Sjostedt (guy in the Black Hat and T-shirt). Hell, I taught him everything he knows regarding style, music making, finesse, all things trumpet, how to speak Norwegian/Swedish, and etc. But, I’m not here to brag…it’s what I do! Seriously, I’m just joking. Hell, I don’t even know how to play, say, or even spell the word trumphaet.

Over the years we remained friends, exchanged trumpet advice, pedagogical approaches, new musical ideas, trumpet geek talk, tattoo ideas and etc. We were youngin’s back then. Me in my early 50’s and Axel with no facial hair. This is us now…

It’s clearly obvious that I didn’t age whatsoever and time really isn’t a factor when you play trumpet. Between 20 combined tattoos, 4 jobs, a completed DMA, a couple of international solo tours, 2 Iron Man competitions, 1 tough mudder, buying a Porsche, and winning two orchestral positions, the planets aligned and the dynamic duo was back together again.

I was fortunate enough to have been asked to perform two pieces with the Oslo Philharmonic (Respighi’s “Roman Festival” (Offstage Principal) and Ravel’s “Scheherazade) at the Oslo Konserthus and y’all, I truly believe that I was born to play in this hall. In all actuality, the hall was built with trumpet players in mind (in my opinion). You’ll hear why later on.

In addition, I was fortunate to have shared the musical load (Respighi) with two wonderful musicians, Sebastian Haukas (right) and Guro Bjornstad Kraft (left).

Later on, I’ll give you a little snippet of what I was fortunate to be immersed in during my stay.

In addition to the offstage trumpet parts, you had those leading the calvary on stage in the foreground. Picture below are 4 players that not only performed at the highest standard during every rehearsal and at the concert, but are individuals that I have the utmost respect/admiration for and whose sound can cut through glass. But before you can truly understand a person and get into their sound, it is imperative to have good coffee and Dr. Pepper.

However, before I show you the rest of the crew, let me give you a little taste of one of the most beautiful section(s) in musical history where (for 10 seconds) I would convert to becoming a string player (while weekending as a clarinetist).

Pictured below from left to right, Jonas Haltia, Brynjar Kolbergsrud, Axel Sjostedt, Jeppe Lindberg Nielsen, Wolfgang Guggenburger (Professor in Trossingen) and yours truly.

In addition to working hard, I did what I could to see as much of the city during my off days. Here are a few pictures of the various places that I got to visit, most of which I just so happened to discover after getting lost (looking for moustache wax) and what I came across on my daily route to the Konserthus, enjoy!!!

So, this picture depicts 5 Flights of stairs that I walked up and down (86 steps) a minimum of twice per day. Believe me when I say, this is the best way to tighten up the Gluteus Maximus.
This alley is a paradox in time and was always calming to me. Depending on your vantage point, your story would differ as to why the cars parked the way they did.
The kaffeehus that I frequented for good expresso and the best place to people watch.
New construction was always being built and instead of just having exposed bricks, the city would use these building covers to keep the building looking visually pleasing to the eye.
The Castle, afar
The Castle, up close
Almost there, but first…the trans loop.
The Concert Hall where those creative healers either passed with grace or failed with shame and regret.
The Music Academy that housed the next generation of creative healers.
Getting to ready to walk in…
…and here we are!

Now you’re probably wondering to yourself, “Doc…who is this beautiful queen and why don’t you ever smile in your photos?!?!?” Well 1). I never smile in photos, 2). I only take pictures with people who smile so I don’t have too, and 3). this was the only other person of visible color in the orchestra. Ladies and Gents, I present to you Miss Cécile-Laure Kouassi, a phenomenal Bass player and section member of the Oslo Phil. Although we didn’t get a chance to hangout and talk shop (mainly because I don’t trust musicians who can eat and play their instrument at the same time. Something just aint natural about that), it was great getting to fellowship with my sister from another mother.

Well, today is the day to have musical conversations with my Oslo family and what better way that to get into the zone than to warm-up in a pretty hip space. Or, you can make a instagram video in the Trumpet Tips room and get interrupted by one of the badass clarinet players of the Oslo Phil…see below.

Now mind you, all rooms are on a “first come, first served” basis. Luckily for me, I always show up earlier and grab the best room. Finally, here’s snippet of the what I got a chance to partake in during my residency in Oslo. This is one of the BEST orchestras that I’ve performed with and one of the most memorable (so far).

Man, it was such a pleasure making beautiful music with these guys! Okay, I’ll give you one more taste!!

But before I do that, I will say that there was one thing that really took my breath away. At the end of the second standing ovation (and what wasn’t shown on the recording) was an embracing gesture from the members of the orchestra and something I plan on bringing back to my creative collective. After maestro left the stage, like a school of fish or flock of birds flying in sync, the entire orchestra turned and gave each other a hug. I really wish you all could have seen it. Although rather quick and for some reading this not at all interesting. For me, it was rather nostalgic and welcoming.

Like most things, all good things must come to an end.

I truly had a wonder time reconnecting with old faces and meeting new ones. In addition to the aforementioned, having new experiences help strengthen the mind, body, and soul. But before I go, here are a few more pictures of some places and a few peeps that I will forever cherish.

This is the entrance to the Fjord and where I got lost, almost went back time, grew a beard, and almost changed my name to Kratos.
This is the area around the Fjord that was miraculously beautiful.
Such a beautiful view.
Alongside the bay.
Breathtaking beautiful.
Walking toward the castle.
Almost there.
…the 10th gate?
Castle Guard
This is one of the baddest trainers (Gregoris) on the planet that almost killed me and my body was like, “Not today, Satan!” I guess things like that happen when your trainer is a former Olympic wrestler.
This chair help bring me daily comfort while drinking golden goodness from a cup.
Although this wasn’t an architectural staple in Oslo, whoever put this on the pole…Kudos!
This was my little snuggle bunny that I got to chill with before she took her final breath, CoCos.