2009 Election of Officers

2009 Election of Officers


Deanna Swoboda
Demondrae Thurman

International Vice-President

James Gourlay
Markus Theinert


Joseph Skillen
Kevin Wass

ITEA members can vote by either mailing in the ballot included with mailing of this journal issue or by using an online voting tool. A hard copy of this year’s ballot can also be downloaded (.pdf) online. Members may only vote once.




Deanna Swoboda


Deanna Swoboda has enjoyed a vibrant career as a performer, educator, and entrepreneur. As a performer she played tuba with the internationally recognized Dallas Brass and has performed hundreds of solo recitals throughout the United States and Europe. In addition to Dallas Brass she has also performed with the Denver Brass, Monarch Brass, Cedar Rapids Symphony, Symphony of the West Valley (Arizona), and Washington/Idaho Symphony. Ms. Swoboda has performed and presented sessions at the Deutsche TubaForum and the National Conservatory of Madrid, Spain. She is creator and performer of a band recruitment presentation and video called Band Blast Off! and is a founding member of the University of Oklahoma’s International Tuba/Euphonium Summer Workshop. Ms. Swoboda hosted two regional conferences for ITEA: at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and at Western Michigan University. She served for 2 years as Director of Education for Denver Brass and has taught at the University of Idaho, University of Nevada Las Vegas, and University of Northern Iowa. Ms. Swoboda is a board member for the International Leonard Falcone Festival and serves as membership coordinator for ITEA. She is currently professor of tuba and euphonium at Western Michigan University and performs in the Western Brass Quintet, a resident faculty ensemble. As a clinician, she has appeared at International Tuba-Euphonium Conferences, the Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference, national and regional MENC conventions, Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, International Women’s Brass Conference, and for numerous state music educator conventions. She has also made appearances on the CBS Early Morning Show—with the Dallas Brass—and National Public Radio, and was featured in the May 2004 issue of The Instrumentalist magazine and the October 2000 issue of School Band and Orchestra magazine. Ms. Swoboda wrote, produced, organized, and performed on the educational resource DVD Band Blast Off! She has appeared on CD recordings with the Dallas Brass, The Western Brass Quintet, Salt River Brass Band, and Belle Aire Brass. Her solo CD, Deanna’s Wonderland , was released on Summit Records in 1999. Tuba Tex: How the West Was Fun will be released in January 2009, and she is currently working on a recording project for summer 2009 that will feature the music of women composers.

Candidate Statement

I am honored for the nomination to serve as Vice President of the International Tuba- Euphonium Association. I have enjoyed thoroughly serving as ITEA’s membership coordinator for the past 7 years and have been a member since 1989. I have always felt a sense of belonging in the tuba-euphonium community and look forward to the opportunity to do more for the membership and for the organization as a whole. We stand upon the shoulders of those who come before us, and we have had amazing leadership in ITEA since its conception. With the inspiration of our predecessors and excitement for what lies ahead, we will continue to move forward in the development of our art form.

I believe we need to focus on strengthening and increasing our membership. We can achieve this in several ways:  

  • continuing to support and attend conferences
  • developing pedagogical and educational materials
  • strengthening international relations
  • building university and topical chapters
  • commissioning new works
  • developing incentives for current as well as new members  

I’ve had the privilege of hosting two regional conferences, performing for several ITECs, and attending conferences in Budapest and Canada. I’ve experienced the excitement, the commitment, and the work involved. “Good planning means good fun,” and it is the responsibility of ITEA to help make the conferences (regional and international) a positive event for hosts and participants. We need more effective tools and guidelines that will assist conference hosts, making their job easier.

I am passionate about developing more pedagogical and educational resources for younger students (books, videos, recordings, music, and online materials) through ITEA. It is our job to create a stronger foundation for young tuba and euphonium players, thus creating more membership for our future. Over the years I have contributed several recordings and videos designed for younger players. It would be exciting to direct that energy into the organization and help strengthen this area.

It’s important to develop and strengthen our international relations. Through my experiences teaching and playing abroad, I have developed relationships that will help build a bridge between North America and the world. My international travels this year will take me to Portugal and Russia to perform recitals and present master classes.

As we strive to broaden the repertoire of our instruments we need to continue ITEA’s commitment to commissioning new works. I have commissioned several new works for tuba in the past couple of years, and I have to say it is thrilling to meet the composer and perform music “hot off the presses.” Creating more repertoire directly effects the growth mission of the Tuba-Euphonium Press as well.

When we “dream it” and set goals with a timeline, we will continue making progress as an organization. The International Tuba-Euphonium Association is a place where everyone is welcome despite age, gender, or nationality. I would be extremely honored to serve as Vice-President.


Demondrae Thurman


Demondrae Thurman is quickly becoming one of the most recognized names in a new generation of euphonium soloists. His solo recording entitled Soliloquies was released on the Summit Records label in 2005. He plans to make a recording of songs and arias in June 2008. Demondrae is in high demand as a clinician/adjudicator. He has been a featured artist for many of the International Tuba-Euphonium and U.S. Army Band Conferences in addition the Leonard Falcone Festival. Thurman has performed and recorded as euphoniumist with several orchestras included the Atlanta Symphony under the baton of Grammy Award-winning conductor Robert Spano. As a champion of contemporary music, Demondrae has premiered numerous works for solo euphonium including Soliloquies by John Stevens and Fantasy for Euphonium and Orchestra by Doug Bristol.

Demondrae is also an active chamber musician. He is a founding member of the highly acclaimed Sotto Voce Quartet. Sotto Voce has performed extensively throughout North America and Europe and has three recordings on Summit Records. Sotto Voce’s second release, Viva Voce!: The Complete Quartets of John Stevens, won the first ever Roger Bobo Award for Excellence in Chamber Music Recording given by the International Tuba-Euphonium Association. Demondrae also plays first baritone horn with the world renowned Brass Band of Battle Creek.

Equally in demand as a trombonist, Demondrae has performed with the Mobile Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Tuscaloosa Symphony, Hot Springs Festival Orchestra, and as a member of the Tuscaloosa Horns with such Motown recording artists as The Temptations, The Four Tops, and The Supremes.

Demondrae Thurman is a Miraphone Performing Artist and plays exclusively the Miraphone 5050 Ambassador “Edition” euphonium which was designed specifically for him. He also plays the “Demondrae” model mouthpiece manufactured by Warburton Music Products.

Currently, Demondrae Thurman teaches at The University of Alabama where he is Assistant Professor of Euphonium and Tuba.

Candidate Statement

The International Tuba-Euphonium Association has evolved at a tremendous rate in the 15 years that I have been a member. I vividly recall the motion to change the name from Tubists Universal Brotherhood Association to its current name. It felt like I was a part of something truly monumental even though I didn’t quite understand the need for the change. In retrospect, the fact that the name was indeed changed lets me know that our organization strives to be all-inclusive.

With that, I am pleased with the push to include amateur musicians. They are a critical part of the livelihood and growth of ITEA. If chosen as Vice-President, I would make a strong effort to increase visibility of the orchestral and military band musicians from around the world. I feel as though they are under-represented in our conferences and particularly in our literature. Their expertise relative to audition preparation and performing alone could benefit the whole of our membership while attracting new members particularly amongst students interested in that career path.


Lastly, I would simply love to be involved as the organization becomes more progressive. I feel as though I have ideas for increasing membership and thoughts on how we can have a truly international presence. I have a great relationship on all levels with the current leadership and plan to work closely with them if elected. I am deeply humbled by the ITEA leadership potentially trusting me with the future of the organization. If elected, I will commit fully to making ITEA the model for organizations like ours.



James Gourlay


James Gourlay was born in Scotland where, at the age of ten, he was “volunteered” to play in his school brass band. Being tallest in class, he was serendipitously given the tuba, an instrument he loves and continues to promote all over the world.

After much success as a solo champion, James entered the Royal College of Music but left after a short time to become, at eighteen, the Principal Tuba of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Four years later, he took up the same position with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with which he performed for ten years. He then performed for a further ten years with the Orchestra of the Zürich Opera.

James’s career as a chamber musician has been extensive. He has been a member of the Philip Jones and English Brass Ensembles with which he has toured the world. As a soloist, he performs extensively. He has recorded five solo CDs, the latest, British Tuba Concertos , recorded for the Naxos label, with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, has received international critical acclaim.

James Gourlay’s work within the brass band movement forms a vital component of his creative output. After early success with the Brass Band Berneroberland, he became music director of the Williams Fairey Band with which he won the English Masters and British Open Contests. James has also been professional conductor of the Grimethorpe Colliery and the Brighouse and Rastrick bands and has recently won the Swiss Open Championship conducting the fantastic Brass Band Treize Etoiles (www.angelfire.com/ab/bb13).

James Gourlay’s commitment to music education is a continuing passion. He has been Head of Wind and Percussion at the Royal Northern College of Music and Deputy Principal and Music Director at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Scotland’s International Conservatoire. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from Salford University, a Masters Degree from Leeds University, a Fellowship of the Royal Northern College of Music, a Fellowship of the London College of Music, and is a recipient of the Iles Medal, presented by the Worshipful Company of Musicians for services to the Brass Band Movement. Currently, James is Director of Music of the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band (www.grimethorpeband.com).

Candidate Statement

For many years now, I have performed as an orchestral musician and tuba soloist, and I’m still amazed when I encounter fellow musicians who don’t know what the tuba and euphonium can do. We have come a long way. Our repertoire has grown, our pedagogy has improved beyond recognition, and we have some fine soloists who, in my opinion, can be compared with violinists, pianists and the other “normal” solo instruments. But, we still face some challenges. We need to encourage more kids to take up our instruments, badger the best composers to write for us, and persuade professional orchestras and bands that engaging a tuba or euphonium soloist is not something weird! I would like to take up this challenge working through ITEA for its members wherever they may be. Good luck and keep blowing!


Markus Theinert

Markus Theinert (Conductor and Tuba Soloist, President-CEO of Miraphone) was born in 1964 in Weingarten (South Germany). He grew up in a musical family and at the age of 7 studied piano and voice with Mrs. Preissler. Encouraged by his siblings, four of whom are professional musicians, he intensified his musical activities to include double bass, tuba, trombone, euphonium, and church organ.

He then studied tuba, piano, conducting, and composition while living in Berlin. As a free-lance tuba player, he played in the Berlin Philharmonic, Berlin Radio Symphony, and German Opera Orchestra.

In 1987, Markus Theinert was elected as principle tuba of the Schleswig Holstein Festival Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Bernstein and Sergiu Celibidaché. It was there that Maestro Celibidaché discovered the Berlin student and invited him to attend his conducting master classes in Paris, Mainz, and Munich. In December 1987, Mr. Theinert had his conducting debut in Hamburg with the very successful world premiere of the musical Der Bunker by Oliver Probst after which he began his nine years of intensive conducting studies with Maestro Celibidaché.

In 1992, he became chief conductor of the Brandenburg Chamber Orchestra of Berlin. His musical endeavors have taken him to Japan, Mexico, Great Britain, Italy, and the U.S. A spotlight in his career was a concert with the Beaux Arts Trio and the RIAS-Symphony Orchestra in the Berlin Philharmonic Hall. He worked as assistant to Hans Werner Henze, Victor Liberman, and Osmö Vanska.

In 1998, the Brass Band of Oberschwaben-Allgäu elected him to be their musical director. He also leads the Bavarian Music Association (MON) as Music Director and Professor of Conducting. Mr. Theinert has been the chief conductor of the Orchestra of the Bavarian State Police in Munich, a post that he has held from 1997 through 2006.

In 2002 he became the President of Miraphone Brass Instruments based in Waldkraiburg, Germany. In May 2006 the Mannheim Philharmonic Wind Band and Wind Academy appointed Mr. Theinert their musical director. He also teaches conducting majors at the State University for Music and Drama in Mannheim, Germany.

In addition to his performances as a distinguished tuba soloist and conductor of symphony orchestras, wind bands, and choirs all over the world, Markus Theinert is regularly invited to adjudicate international competitions and teach international master classes and clinics.

Candidate Statement

The International Tuba-Euphonium Association has always sought to involve artists, groups and organizations from all over the world in the pursuit of improving musical education, expanding solo and chamber music repertoire for low brass instruments and creating an effective forum for the exchange of ideas and concepts.

In addition to the important role of serving its members, ITEA also has an obligation to represent the entire variety of national styles, cultural identities, playing levels, and innovative artistic approaches within the tuba-euphonium realm. It is my intention to assist in the continuing efforts of our association to target all available global networks and international relationships in order to provide a truly global roof top organization where every individual tuba and euphonium player feels at home and welcomed.



Joseph Skillen

Joseph Skillen has been principal tubist in several American orchestras and has performed with touring ensembles across the United States, Europe, China, and Russia. Additionally, he has presented solo performances on four continents and throughout the United States. Countries where Skillen has performed and/or taught include Brazil, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, China, Sweden, Finland, and Russia.


As a Fulbright Scholar, Skillen lived in Stockholm, Sweden while studying at the Swedish Royal Conservatory of Music. Skillen has recorded on the Vestige, Bernel, Mark Masters, and Mark Custom Labels. In addition, he has performed with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Detroit Chamber Winds, Symphonia, Kentuckiana Brass and Percussion Ensemble, The Galliard Brass Ensemble, Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra, and the Western Brass Quintet.

Skillen’s solo playing may be heard on the Mark Masters, Bernel, Centaur, and Vestige labels. His debut solo CD with pianist Jan Grimes, Blue Plate Special , was released in January 2002 on Mark Masters Recordings.

His writings appear in books with Indiana University Press, and journals such as the International Tuba-Euphonium Association Journal and International Trombone Association Journal . Skillen’s transcriptions and arrangements are published by Tuba-Euphonium Press and Bernel Music Ltd.

He has also been recognized for his teaching and research skills winning numerous university and state awards. He is also currently serving as the Secretary on the Executive Board of the International Tuba-Euphonium Association.

For more information about Joseph Skillen and the LSU Tuba and Euphonium studio, please go to www.joeskillen.com.

Candidate Statement

It is an honor to be considered for the secretary position on the ITEA Executive Board. I understand that the job of the secretary is to keep correspondence with all of the members of the Executive Board and to maintain the written records of each meeting. If chosen, I will fulfill these duties to the best of my ability. I will also use my voice on the executive board to reinforce the direction of inclusion for all ITEA members in the activities of our organization. This organization belongs to all of us, and we must continue to reach those musicians who either don’t feel a place in our organization or haven’t seen how our collective efforts can aid them in their musical pursuits. I believe that there is much more we can be doing to reach more potential members, especially our international colleagues. We must show the value of membership in our organization to all euphonium and tuba players.


Kevin Wass


Kevin Wass, Associate Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at Texas Tech University, holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan, the Master of Music degree and Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University, and the Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Dana College in Blair, Nebraska. In addition to his duties at Texas Tech, he serves as Principal Tubist of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra and Chair of the Harvey G. Phillips Awards for Excellence in Composition for the International Tuba-Euphonium Association. His principal teachers include Craig Fuller, Harvey Phillips, Daniel Perantoni, and Fritz Kaenzig.

Candidate Statement

I have been a member of ITEA/TUBA since my undergraduate days, when I first learned about the organization from my teacher, Craig Fuller. In those pre-internet days, the TUBA Journal was a link to the larger world of tuba and euphonium players for those of us outside of a major metropolitan area. We learned about new recordings, new instruments, new music, and were constantly reminded that we were not alone—many people just like us shared an enthusiasm and love for the tuba and euphonium.

In the last 20 years or so, I have grown with ITEA, and I have grown more involved in the organization. I have been an competitor at an international conference, a host of a regional conference, a presenter and performer at regional and international conferences, and have helped start a new series of awards to recognize our finest composers. What I still love about the organization is the way it brings our most accomplished performers, our most dedicated teachers, and our most enthusiastic students together. In accepting a nomination to run for Secretary, I hope to serve as one of many means of communication between those who serve ITEA in a formal capacity and those who serve ITEA in their daily lives as performers, teachers, and advocates of the tuba and euphonium.

ITEA members can vote by either mailing in the ballot included with mailing of this journal issue or by using an online voting tool. A hard copy of this year’s ballot can also be downloaded (.pdf) online. Members may only vote once.