Trumpet prodigy brings spirit to Cabrini

By Katie Engell
November 6, 2008

On Sunday, Oct. 24, professional trumpet player Rodney Mack captivated the crowd at Cabrini College. In a short concert held in the Cabrini Mansion, Mack was accompanied by accomplished pianist Liza Wu. Together they charmed the crowd with interpretations of pieces by renowned musicians such as Bach and one of Mack’s own relatives, Ellis Marsalis.

“I didn’t know what to expect going into to the concert. I don’t usually listen to classical music but I really enjoyed everything he played! He’s so talented with the trumpet and it really showed today when he played for all of us,” sophomore education major Megan Conte said.

Born in New Orleans, Mack began studying music at age six. His biggest influence came from his cousin and gifted musician, Wynton Marsalis. Marsalis is a well-known virtuoso jazz musician who is classically trained. He is a top-notch teacher as well. He is currently the director of musical instruction at Lincoln Center in New York City. Marsalis helped mold Mack into the musician he is today by giving him classical trumpet lessons as a child.

“My parents were not musical but they were definitely very supportive of me,” Mack said. “I’m so inspired by life. I find beauty in the world and this really helped me in becoming the musician I am today.”

Mack soon became known as a “trumpet prodigy,” and debuted at age 15 with the New Orleans Symphony. “The concert was as energetic and dramatic as he was three years ago. He can really relate to an audience of any age and he proves this each time he plays for us,” professor Jerry Schauer said.

Mack’s solo trumpet CD called “Spirit of the Trumpeter” is one of the best selling albums of its genre. It is a collection of some of his most popular recital works for trumpet and piano.

In the past 20 years Mack has held positions with The New Orleans Symphony, The Colorado Symphony Orchestra, The San Diego Symphony Orchestra, The Orquestra Sinfonica de Tenerife, The Barcelona Symphony and The Richmond Symphony.

Mack currently works with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia as the principal trumpet player. Although his roots lead him back to jazz music, he focuses mainly on playing classical music.

“Rodney Mack is an outstanding, first-class trumpet player. He is a nice person to work with, very personable and down to earth.”

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Katie Engell

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