Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Butler School of Music professor premieres solo album ‘Nothing Less’

Manoo Sirivelu
Professor Caleb Hudson (trumpet) of the Butler School of Music performs at Bates Recital Hall to release his new album “Nothing Less“ on Feb. 1, 2024. He plays alongside Tessa Lark (violin), Emi Ferguson (flute), Michael Nicolas (cello) and Gabriel Campos Zamora (clarinet).

Four generations of trumpeters gathered amongst the crowd at Bates Recital Hall on Thursday night, not for a reunion, but to hear a sneak peek of the compositions and arrangements of UT associate trumpet professor Caleb Hudson.

Hudson’s professors, peers, students and the students of his students came together for the debut of Hudson’s solo album. The album, based on the title track “Nothing Less,” brings to life themes of humility and selflessness from the biblical story of Elijah.

“It’s a solo album that explores the idea of not glorifying yourself,” Hudson said. “That’s the thread that weaves itself into every piece that we’re performing, and the thing that I have to keep at the forefront of my mind as I progress as an artist.”

Nothing Less features compositions by Kyle Athayde, Remy Le Boeuf and Hudson himself, in addition to Hudson’s arrangements of Corelli’s violin sonata and Philip Glass’s piano etudes. During the performance, Hudson showcased the ensemble with solo features and impressive balance, where every song felt like a conversation between instruments.

Grammy-nominated violinist Tessa Lark, who plays on the album, said the group’s friendship helped them play well together.

“It’s an unusual ensemble, instrumentation-wise, so it’s unique sounding,” Lark said. “Every piece is unique. We have a special bond, the five of us together, it’s heartwarming.”

The unprecedented ensemble consists of a flute, clarinet, trumpet, cello and violin. Emi Ferguson, a 2023 Avery Fisher Career Grant awardee and flutist on the album said that Hudson’s work serves as a foundation for future composers to build upon.

“We’re hopeful that going forward, composers will see this album as a jumping-off point for their inspiration,” Ferguson said. “(The hope is that) this formation will become a more standard formation.”

The album, recorded during the pandemic in 2021, marked a milestone for the musicians after not playing in an ensemble for a year due to lockdown restrictions.

“(Our producer) had found this wonderful hall at Drew University in New Jersey that was allowing people to record during the pandemic,” Lark said. “It’s a dreamy project, and it was nice within the pandemic to have something like that to dig our teeth into.”

After spending three years working on the album, Hudson said he feels humbled to see it come to fruition.

“There’s so many people that have sacrificed to make this (album) a reality,” Hudson said. “I have no idea where it’s going to go, but even if it didn’t lead to anything else, this project was worth it for the sake of what we were able to (create) together.”

Nothing Less received a standing ovation from the crowd on Thursday, continuing even after the ensemble left the stage. Lark and Ferguson’s stage presence and Hudson’s personalized compositions left the audience wanting more.

“We’ve all been waiting to get to share this project,” said Ferguson. “The four of us who are playing on the album with him are so excited to get to support (Hudson) as he puts this out into the world. … It’s an incredibly generous album, and you can feel that when you listen to it.”

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