2002 Lifetime Achievement Awards Skip Gray, ITEA President
In recognition and appreciation for a lifetime of significant contributions to the instruments of the Tuba-Euphonium Family.
During 2002 ITEC held in Qreensboro, North Carolina, ITEA honored four individuals with the association’s highest honor for their achievements in the musical community. Skip Qray, President of ITEA, presented the following citations and awards on behalf of the membership.
Roger Bobo is regarded by many as die premiere tubist in the world, perhaps the greatest tuba player of all time. His many solo performances and recordings are considered hallmark – THE way the instrument can and should be played.
Roger Bobo started his tuba studies at age twelve and later went on to study at the Eastman School of Music. He was simultaneously appointed tubist with the Rochester Philharmonic, a post he maintained for six years until his graduation from Eastman with a Bachelor and a Masters Degree in Music. In 1961, Roger Bobo played the first tuba recital at the Carnegie Recital Hall in New York to high critical acclaim, firmly establishing the tuba as a solo instrument in its own right. Roger Bobo moved to the Netherlands in 1962 to join the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. During his stay in the Netherlands, he performed solo recitals throughout Europe and appeared as a soloist with the Concertgebouw Orchestra.
In 1964, Roger Bobo returned to California to become tubist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Zubin Mehta. He has been a soloist with the oti numerous occasions, and was also very active in the film studios of Hollywood, winning the coveted “Most Valuable Studio Musician award in 1988. Roger Bobo was a founding member of the Los Angeles Brass Quintet, an ensemble with whom he has toured and recorded with extensively. He has been featured on international television, including two guest appearances on “The Tonight Show,” and a feature documentary/master class by ZDF/Arte television in Europe.
Since 1990, Roger Bobo has made his home in Europe, establishing himself as one of Europe’s most popular brass soloists. He is also very much in demand as a teacher of all brass instruments, presenting master classes, conducting brass ensembles, and adjudicating in the major solo and brass ensemble competitions throughout Europe, North America, Japan, and Australia. He has a growing reputation as a conductor, and has conducted orchestras in Europe and North America including concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Regina Symphony Orchestra.
He is the professor of advanced tuba studies at the Lausanne Conservatory in Switzerland, and also teaches at the Fiesole School of Music near Florence, Italy. In 2001 Roger Bobo was appointed Professor of Tuba at the Royal Northern Conservatory of Music in Manchester, Great Britain. He is also the director of the brass section of the Italian National Youth Orchestra and has also been engaged on numerous occasions to rehearse professional orchestral brass sections in the preparation of the major symphonic repertoire. Many students of Roger Bobo now occupy positions in major Symphony orchestras throughout the world, and others have gone on to develop their own successful solo careers.
Since the success of his Carnegie Hall recital, many important composers have written solo music for Roger Bobo. He has greatly increased die tuba solo repertoire; more than fifty works have been written for or dedicated to Roger Bobo. He also has played the Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto more than any other tubist, with over sixty performances of this piece with major orchestras throughout the world. He currently has seven solo recordings with Crystal Records Inc. (USA), a recording conducting the Sound INN Brass (Austria), and has written a method book for brass. Mastering Brass Instruments (Editions Bim – CH, 1993).
Roger Bobo has enjoyed a long collaboration with Yamaha, which has led to the development of several models of tubas and a line of Roger Bobo signature series mouthpieces.
In July 1997, Roger Bobo was the artistic director of “Verso il Millennio,” an international conference and competitions for tuba and euphonium in Riva del Garda, Italy. He has also been the artistic director of the annual festival “Swiss Brass Week” in Switzerland, Santa Fiora in Musica in Italy, and the newly founded Swiss festival for brass in Lausanne.
Roger Bobo has had a truly remarkable career as an artist, teacher, and conductor. He has brought an ever higher appreciation and understanding of the capabilities of the tuba to many diverse audiences. He has stimulated composers to write great, innovative new works that have both stretched the boundaries of playing the instrument and caused audiences to value the tuba as a great musical instrument. He has inspired musicians, both those playing the tuba as well as others, to ever higher levels of musicianship and technique.
Rex Conner (1915-1995) received a Bachelor of Music Education from Kansas University and a Master of Education from the University of Missouri. His initial teaching experience included public school music in the state of Kansas and at Nebraska State Teachers College. During the Second World War, Mr. Conner was a member of the 347th Army Air Force Band.
Rex Conner was appointed to the faculty of the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan and taught there each summer from 1957 through 1982. He was appointed to the faculty in the University of Kentucky School of Music in 1960, becoming the first full-time professor of tuba and euphonium at an American university. He was an active, enthusiastic faculty member through the time of his retirement from the University of Kentucky in 1980. During the nineteen sixties and seventies, universities throughout the country added full-time tubists to their music faculties, often referring to the “Kentucky model.” It is interesting to note that the School of Music at Indiana University which is regarded as the finest institution of its kind in the world today, added a fulltime professor of tuba, the noted William J. Bell, in 1961 much in reaction to the notoriety of Mr. Conner’s hiring by the University of Kentucky.
During his twenty-year tenure at Kentucky, Mr. Conner acquired a national and international reputation as an outstanding teacher. The fact that he was held in very high esteem can be documented by his appointment to the International Honorary Advisory Board of Tubists Universal Brotherhood Association in 1974. This body is comprised of a very small group of only the most highly respected professional tubists in the world. A great many original musical compositions for solo tuba were written for Mr. Conner by important composers and a recording made by him in the early nineteen seventies of a body of these works is still a “standard” among many tubists and music educators’ listening libraries to this very day. Besides being a true pioneer in the field. Rex is beloved by his many students and was always regarded as a model of dignity. Rex Conner is truly an important historic figure for the University of Kentucky and The Interlochen Arts Center, as well as the international music realm.
It is the work of craftsmen that make it possible for the technical dreams of musical artists to become a reality. The quantum leap in the artistic standards of our instruments could not have been possible without equal improvements in the design, production, and worldwide distribution of instruments that could voice our inner-most musical dreams and ideas.
Instruments designed and made by Willy Kurath, Sr. have made these musical dreams come true. Mr. Kurath began his career in 1950 with the humble beginnings of a simple repair shop, later adding the fields of instrument design, development, and manufacture. By 1955 he devoted his energies completely to the design and creation of low brass instruments, making the Willson Band Instrument Company of Flums, Switzerland a reality, one that would positively change the world of the tuba and euphonium performer forever.
A clarinetist and tubist, Mr. Kurath developed the philosophy to build the best instruments possible. His desire was to build a company that was sensitive to the needs of the professional player without the goal of becoming a huge corporation whose sole focus was making a profit. Through his efforts, a growing line of excellent instruments was created, and as a result he earned the coveted Swiss National Brasswind Instrument Maker’s Certificate.
It was in 1974 that Willson and Willy Kurath would make their name forever associated with euphonium instrument design. At this time Mr. Kurath worked with virtuoso Brian Bowman in the development of a new euphonium design, later to become the famed Willson 2900 series euphonium. This began in 1971 with the testing of several prototypes at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. This euphonium design is still the choice of legions of professionals worldwide after some 28 years in production. The instrument’s tone, free blowing characteristics, and excellent intonation were a large improvement to the world of euphonium manufacture.
The 1990s brought an exciting number of Kurath designs to the tuba world. Many developed with consultation with such tuba artists as Marty Erickson have also greatly increased the number of superior artist level instruments available to the tuba playing public. Recent designs of Eb, F, and Orchestral CC Tubas have shown that Willy Kurath is an “Artist Craftsman,” one who has dedicated their entire career to designing instruments that go far beyond what is standard for sheer simple profit.
Even though Willson has representatives all over the world, worth mentioning is his long relationship with DEO Musical Products, Willson’s long time distributor in the United States. Donald Getzen, founder of DEG met Mr. Kurath in 1968 at the Musikmesse in Frankfort, Germany, beginning Willson’s and DEG’s long association which continues this day under Mark W. Schafer, owner of DEG since 1995.
Mr. Kurath’s influence will survive far into the future for his son Willi Kurath Jr. is continuing his traditions at Willson by assuming his father’s career path, already receiving the Swiss National Brasswind Instrument Maker’s Certificate.
Great composers create ideas in sound, literally telling stories with music. John Williams is undoubtedly one of the most successful composers in history, known and respected by millions of people throughout the world for his movie soundtracks, concert works, and other music. He has made a huge contribution to the tuba-euphonium world with his use of the instruments in significant roles throughout his vast compositional output.
John Williams was bom in New York and moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1948. There he attended UCLA, Los Angeles City College, and studied composition privately with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. After service in the Air Force, Mr. Williams returned to New York to attend Juilliard University, where he studied piano with Madame Rosina Lhevinne. While in New York, he also worked as a jazz pianist, both in clubs and on recordings. He then returned to Los Angeles, where he began his career in the film industry, working with such composers as Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman, and Franz Waxman. He went on to write music for many television programs in the 1960s, winning four Emmy Awards for his work.
Mr. Williams has composed the music and served as a music director for more than ninety films, including The Patriot, Angela’s Ashes, Star Wars Episode I; The Phantom Menace, Stepmom, Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Seven Years in Tibet, The Lost World, Rosewood, Sleepers, Nixon, Sabrina, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Far and Away, JFK, Hook, Presumed Innocent, Bom on the Fourth of July, the Indiana Jones trilogy. The Accidental Tourist, Empire of the Sun, The Witches of Eastwick, E.T (the Extra-Terrestrial), Superman, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Star Wars trilogy. Jaws, and Goodbye, Mr. Chips. He has received forty-one Academy Award nominations, most recently for his scores from A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone, making him the most nominated living person. He has been awarded five Oscars, three British Academy Awards, eighteen Grammys, three Golden Globes, four Emmys, and numerous gold and platinum records. His most recent film project is George Lucas’ Star Wars Episode Two: Attack of the Clones.
In January 1980, Mr. Williams was named nineteenth Conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra since its founding in 1885. He currently holds the title of Boston Pops Laureate Conductor which he assumed following his retirement in December, 1993. Mr. Williams also holds the title of Artist-in- Residence at Tanglewood.
Mr. Williams has written many concert pieces, including two symphonies, a cello concerto premiered by Yo-Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood in 1994, concertos for the flute and violin recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra, concertos for the clarinet and tuba, and a trumpet concerto, which was premiered by the Cleveland Orchestra and their principal trumpet Michael Sachs in September, 1996. The New York Philharmonic and principal bassoon player Judith LeClair premiered his bassoon concerto. The Five Sacred Trees, in 1995. Most notable from the tubaeuphonium perspective is his tuba concerto, written in 1985 for Chester Schmitz and the Boston Symphony. This incredible, virtuosic work is in the familiar melodic and harmonic style that has made Mr. William’s work so appealing and has served to bring the tuba greater notoriety and appreciation. Mr. Williams has led the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra on United States Tours in 1985, 1989, and 1992 and on a tour of Japan in 1987. He led the Boston Pops Orchestra on tours of Japan in 1990 and 1993. In addition to leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood, Mr. Williams has appeared as guest conductor with a number of major orchestras, including the London Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with which he has appeared many times at the Hollywood Bowl. Mr. Williams holds honorary degrees from eighteen American universities, including Berklee College of Music in Boston, Boston College, Northeastern University, Tufts University, Boston University, the New England Conservatory of Music, the University of Massachusetts at Boston, The Eastman School of Music, and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Besides his immense compositional productivity that continuously places the tuba in important roles, his impact on other composers and their manner of orchestration has been substantial. The tuba and euphonium world are greatly appreciative of Mr. William’s artistry and use of our instruments in a manner that takes us to so many listeners.
Recommended for Further Reading…
Bobo, Roger. “Reflections of the Tuba, Teaching, and Music.” Brass Bulletin 94 (1996): 10-14.
Bobo, Roger. ” Tuba — A Word of Many Meanings: an Essay.” TUBA Journal 24, no. 2 (1997): 42.
Bobo, Roger. “…And Approach the Realm of Making Beautiful Music.” Brass Bulletin 18 (1977): 27-39.
Bobo, Roger. “Sampling? Friend or Enemy – Some Reflections.” Brass Bulletin 76 (1991): 13-15.
Bobo, Roger. “Being Your Own Teacher.” The Instrumentalist 43 (December 1988): 23-24.
Bobo, Roger. “To the 94.” TUBA Journal 6, no. 3 (1979): 8.
Bobo, Roger. “Dynamics and the 80s.” Brass Bulletin 29 (1980): 23-26.
Bobo, Roger. “Arnold Jacobs, Interview I.” Brass Bulletin 33 (1981): 43-50.
Bobo, Roger. “Arnold Jacobs, Interview II.” Brass Bulletin 34 (1981): 37-44.
Mathez, Jean-Pierre. “Roger Bobo: Poet du Tuba.” Brass BuOetin 70 (1990): 22-25.
Meckna, Michael. “Roger Bobo and the Tuba Explosion.” TUBA Joumai 19, no. 4 (1992): 42-43.
Conner, Rex A. “Fingering Tricks That Work.” TUBA Journal 6, no. 3 (1979): 10-11.
Conner, Rex A. “Reminiscing about Walter Hartley, His career, and Interlochen.” TUBA Journal 18, no. 3 (1991); 4-5.
Hoggard, Earle. “Viewpoint.” TUBA Journal 19, no. 1 (1991): 88-90.
Young, Jerry. “In memoriam.” TUBA Journal 23, no. 2 (1996): 39.