Two national orchestra musicians have fused their passion for music and engineering to design and produce a range of mouthpieces for brass instruments, the first professional collection to be manufactured in Malta.
They not only look fascinating but the result is superb
Trombonists Dennis Camilleri – known to most by the family nickname ‘Kurun’ – and Gilbert Spiteri have been studying music since their pre-teens, trying several hundred mouthpieces over the years.
Mr Camilleri has played the second trombone with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra since 2000. Mr Spiteri, a mechanical engineer, plays second trombone with the Malta Youth Orchestra and part-time with the national orchestra.
Now, after two years of research, they have launched 89 variants of their mouthpiece design to fit various brass instruments.
“I have tried more than 250 mouthpieces, including those made by some of the most world-renowned brands,” Mr Camilleri told The Sunday Times.
“But I was often disappointed. Sound and resistance were usually the main problems. Gilbert and I decided to design our own. There were numerous prototypes which led to the final product which is now ready to be launched locally and internationally.”
Mr Spiteri, a switch design engineer at Methode Electronics, explained that he designed the mouthpieces by applying a combination of engineering principles to meet the objective – a mouthpiece that would lead to optimum sound and balance, a stable pitch, all registers, and eliminate as much resistance as possible.
Designed for trombones, baritones and euphoniums, the range features a selection of sizes and configurations. Made of solid brass, the mouthpieces are plated in gold or silver and engraved with the trademark ‘Kurun & Gilbert’.
Complete with purposely designed packaging, the mouthpieces have already been acquired by some local brass musicians since the soft launch earlier this month. The feedback on the K&G Mouthpieces Facebook page has been positive.
Trombone and euphonium soloist Roderick Bugeja, who has tested the mouthpieces over the past few months, was among the first to endorse them.
“They not only look fascinating but the result is superb,” Mr Bugeja says in a testimonial.
“I have finally found a solution to all the difficulties I had when shifting from euphonium to trombone, with the best results on both instruments and with all styles of music. I am sure thousands of musicians around the globe will be as happy as I am.”
The mouthpieces will be professionally showcased at kandgmouthpieces.com which is to go live in the next few days, complete with a payment gateway that will allow musicians to acquire them online.
Camilleri and Spiteri, who have received enquiries from musicians based overseas, including the UK and Japan, plan to be the mouthpieces’ sole traders initially and will deal with requests personally.
In early July, they will travel to Paris to man the K&G Mouthpieces’ booth at the four-day International Trombone Festival, the world’s largest annual trombone event.
There, Camilleri and Spiteri, both of whom are members of the International Trombone Association, hope to attract the attention of some of the participants. More than 60 international artists playing tenor and bass trombone, jazz and contemporary musicians, ensembles, an orchestra, and composers will attend.
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