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Humans of the U: Briana Gillet

I started playing the trumpet when I was 10. And just like everything in life, it was not a straight path. There are definitely ups and downs with it. There are moments where you feel on top of your game and other moments where you feel like you’re a beginner. 

I think the reason I’ve stuck with it for this long is because it’s a process. You must approach it with a growth mindset. When I approach the trumpet, it’s not about getting to a final point because you can always move past that. My work is about cultivating my relationship with the instrument while creating new audience experiences with other artists. It’s always changing. That’s why I like it.

I am especially interested in interdisciplinary collaboration. I’ve participated in and organized some projects that incorporate multiple art forms into a live performance. That has been interesting and a great way for me as a musician to reframe how I approach the trumpet and how it can be used to connect with people and explore new concepts.

A recent project I headed was with a circus artist and we filmed her doing aerial acrobatics on the Salt Flats on a 20-foot aerial rig. It was amazing. After that, I had a video editor compile everything together. This video then accompanied a live performance of a fixed media piece for trumpet and electronics.

In the future, I want to explore how many artistic disciplines can be combined into one project. I am fascinated by electro-acoustic works for trumpet. Using this as a base I’d like to incorporate dancers and aerialists into the mix. From there I’d like to bring in a visual aspect, like having a visual artist painting or drawing a piece of artwork in that moment that is inspired by what they are seeing and hearing. 

— Briana Gillet, doctoral candidate, School of Music