Astoria jazz musician turns down new horn

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The directors of a Brooklyn music studio have offered to donate a $4,000 trumpet to a Juilliard School jazz musician from Astoria who was robbed of two expensive brass instruments after he fell asleep aboard an N train in late August, but the musician said he could not accept the trumpet.

Matthew Jodrell, 29, a jazz musician from Australia who studies at Juilliard, drifted off after boarding the train at Manhattan’s 57th Street Station around 3:30 a.m. Aug. 24 and awakened upon reaching Astoria’s Ditmars Boulevard stop.

Police said Jodrell discovered that his Inderbinen Swiss-made flugelhorn and Bach Stradivarius Trumpet, both of which were in the same leather case and are worth a total of $10,000, had been stolen after he woke up at the Astoria station. The jazz musician had been performing at Manhattan’s Highline Ballroom that night.

“There’s really no replacing them,” Jodrell said of his flugelhorn and the trumpet, which he had been borrowing from a Juilliard teacher. “We’re hopeful they’ll be found.”

But Patricia Robinson, who owns Brooklyn’s Patricia F. Robinson Music Studio which was founded by her mother 79 years ago, and Peterson Grosvenor, the director of the center, wanted to donate a $4,000 Bach trumpet to Jodrell after hearing his story in the news.

“I was getting ready to go to work when I heard his story,” Grosvenor said. “I realized I’ve got one of those.”

Grosvenor, who also donates instruments to Robinson’s music school for students who cannot afford their own by raising money through selling books, said he had recently purchased a Bach Stradivarius Trumpet, so he called Robinson to see whether she could track down the Juilliard student.

“I wanted to ease this guy’s pain a little,” he said. “I knew he must be devastated, so I thought I would give [the trumpet] to him. I know about the necessity to provide help for students who have ambition to become great musicians.”

Robinson said she wanted to come to Jodrell’s aid.

“We both knew how horrible it was to lose an instrument, especially one of such value,” she said.

But Jodrell said he declined Robinson and Grosvenor’s offer.

“As generous as it was, those instruments are for underprivileged kids, so I’d feel extremely bad about accepting one,” he said. “But it was unbelievably generous of them.”

In the meantime, Jodrell said he has been borrowing instruments from friends for gigs around the city and an Australia-based store will donate instruments to him.

Police said the instruments still have not been found.

Anyone with information about the theft should contact the city Police Department’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-8477.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 6:29 pm, October 10, 2011
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