Standout UA musician taps on big doors

2013-05-02T00:00:00Z Standout UA musician taps on big doorsCathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Kimberly Toscano knew from the moment she saw him that Trevor Barroero was destined for big things.

"He had this spark about him. He wanted to learn everything," Toscano recalled.

They met through the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra when he was 11 and started studying together several years later, when he was a senior last year at Ironwood Ridge High School.

When he decided to go to the University of Arizona this year, Toscano, who teaches percussion at the School of Music, took him on as a student.

They had lofty goals.

"We decided to make this year ambitious," he said, then ticked off the list of priorities:

• Audition for the TSO - he advanced to the semifinals and was asked to be a substitute in the percussion section.

• Compete in the TSO's concerto competition - he won.

• Audition for a trio of prominent summer music festivals. He flew to New York to audition for the Pacific Music Festival in Japan and went to Los Angeles to try out for Tanglewood Music Center. He auditioned via a recording for the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado.

He didn't make the cut for the first two, but he was selected for Aspen.

"This is a tremendous honor for a percussionist of any age, but to be accepted as a freshman is particularly special," Toscano said.

The 19-year-old will be one of the youngest participants at Aspen - an eight-week festival that includes intensive training with renowned musicians and performances alongside such noted artists as the Takács Quartet, Sybarite 5, Pink Martini and violinist Gil Shaham.

But to get there, he needs to come up with $7,000 to cover expenses. He's raised about $4,000 and hopes to raise the rest when he and Toscano perform a recital Sunday at the UA's Holsclaw Hall.

At Aspen, Barroero will get a chance to study with a pair of renowned percussionists - brothers Mark and Paul Yancich. Mark is the timpanist with the Atlanta Symphony. His brother is the principal timpanist with the Cleveland Orchestra.

Barroero is especially excited to be working with Paul Yancich, who is a protégé of the late great timpanist Cloyd Duff, whose style of playing is what Barroero has been studying. Toscano is a former student of Yancich's and a champion of the so-called Duff style, which includes placing the timpani with the low drum on the right and building it to the high drum on the left as the Germans do.

In the United States, timpani is set up much like a piano, starting with the low drum on the left side and the high drum on the right.

"The fact of working with Paul Yancich and studying the Duff style with one of his students is great," said Barroero, who is the principal percussionist with the University of Arizona Symphony Orchestra. "Studying with him is going to be an absolute thrill."

"Trevor has been a very special student to teach, and I am very proud of what we've done together," said Toscano, who is leaving the UA to teach in the fall at the University of Georgia in Athens alongside her husband, percussionist Timothy Adams Jr. Toscano will continue in her role as the TSO's principal timpanist.

If you go

• What: Trevor Barroero in concert with Kimberly Toscano.

• When: 7 p.m. Sunday.

• Where: Holsclaw Hall, North Park Avenue and East Speedway at the University of Arizona School of Music.

• Cost: Suggested donation of $10, students; $20, adults, to help defray Barroero's expenses to attend the Aspen Music Festival and School this summer.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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