While we love to hear from our official artists, we also love to hear from players around the globe. Today Anne-Sophie Leveugle share with us a little about her musical journey…
What instrument do you play?
I play the Besson Prestige cornet.
When did you start playing and how did you get into music?
I actually started playing the flute as a 6-year-old girl in music school. My mother is a professional flautist, so it seemed a logical choice to follow her. My family on my father’s side has also had a musical instrument business for 40 years, so the musical gene has been in me from an early age.
It was only years later that I suddenly fell in love with brass band music, when my parents took me for a concert. When I was 18 years old, I started as a total brass layman in the music school on the cornet with Frans Violet.
Which band/orchestra do you play in and how do you get involved?
Currently I play in Brass Band Willebroek and Young Brass Band Willebroek. Young Brass Band Willebroek was a natural progression from my lessons with Frans. A year later the switch to Brassband Willebroek followed. First on third cornet, then on repiano cornet.
For my grandparents, this was a bit of a shock and took some adjusting to at first; my grandfather Robert Leveugle set up Brassband Midden-Brabant, and at the national championships at that time, Willebroek and Midden Brabant were one of the biggest “rivals”. My grandmother’s reaction was therefore “I could never have imagined before that you would ever play with Brass Band Willbroek!”. Now Brassband Midden Brabant no longer exists, so fortunately my grandparents are always in the front row at concerts and competitions of Brass Band Willebroek.
How often do you practice?
Usually I study for two hours a day, in addition to any rehearsals of (Young) Brass Band Willebroek or projects. In total I usually spend three to four hours a day with my instrument.
How do you prepare for a performance?
I am a fairly anxious person by nature when I have to perform. That’s why I try to memorize the difficult technical features in advance, so that they are well imprinted in my head, and I certainly don’t have to think about the notes on stage anymore. Also, just before I go on stage, I try to think about the fact that you are there to have fun!
What do you need to take with you – do you have any lucky charms or ‘must haves’?
I don’t really have a lucky charm, but I am often reassured when my teacher/boyfriend Lode Violet is in the audience. Because he is my teacher at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, he is present at all important exams and presentations, which give me a lot of comfort!
What is your best musical memory?/favourite place to play?
I’ve been able to experience a lot of really cool things as a musician.
One of the best musical memories is the first big championship I played with Brass Band Willebroek. We played Destination Moon at the EBBC 2018 in Utrecht. It was the first time that I was allowed to play in such a large hall and in front of such an audience, which was a very special experience.
Another lovely memory is when Lode was selected for a program on a national radio station. He put together the Violet Besson Brass Quartet, consisting of Lode Violet, Tim De Maeseneer, Jonas Violet and myself. It was an incredible experience to play with such top class musicians on the radio.
What would your advice be to someone just getting started?
Get inspired by great artists and bands so you can remember where you’re going. As with all new things you learn, especially with brass instruments, at first it seems like you are achieving very little. But the “click” will come! Try to play in bands or associations that are slightly above your level, because in your comfort zone you will never achieve the greatest things.
What mouthpiece do you use and why?
Currently I play on the Alliance 3. It is an absolutely old and decrepit mouthpiece that used to belong to Lode. I have a new Alliance 3 mouthpiece at home, but maybe my old mouthpiece is a lucky charm after all!
What do you want to go on to do in the next few years?
In the coming years I would like to do many interesting projects, if possible abroad. I have already had a number of unique opportunities, such as participating in the Norwegian Brass Band Championships or participating in a national chamber music competition and hope I get to do more in the years to come.
If you could change anything about your musical life what would it be?
I would like to be able to play the piano. At the moment I teach brass and music initiation in the music school, and it would be a great advantage for the students if I could accompany them with pieces or songs. That’s something I definitely want to get behind in the future.
What is your favourite thing about music?
My favourite thing in music is the “power” that a brass band generates. When a brass band opens up full power, I always know why I chose a saxhorn instrument, and I am incredibly grateful to be part of Brass Band Willebroek – there really is nothing like it!