by Michael Forbes
Michael Forbes (born 1973 in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA) studied first with Mark Lusk and Marty Erickson (Bachelors Degree at Penn State University) , then with tubist and composer John Stevens (Masters degree from the University of Wisconsin) , and finally with world renowned tubist,Toby Hanks (Doctoral Degree from the University of Maryland). Along the way,he also studied with Stuart Roebuck,Brian Kingsley,and Andrew Duncan (University of Manchester and the Royal Northern College of Music, United Kingdom). He began his career as tubist,soloist, conductor, and arranger with the U. S. Army Band,”Pershing’s Own” in Washington,D. C.
Best known for his composing and arranging skills, Mike has received numerous commissions from a variety of well-known artists and chamber ensembles. Many of his works have been recorded and are also regularly selected in concert programs or as test pieces for international competitions. As a soloist and as part of the internationally recognized Sotto Voce Quartet, Mike is regularly invited to give performances and clinics at universities and conferences around the globe. He currently teaches at Illinois State University. Mike has the following thoughts regarding the Gem series:
“Some years ago, I had transcribed Georg Philipp Telemann’s famous Six Canonic Duets for tubas and/or euphoniums and really enjoyed seeing how they were put together (these duets are published,incidentally,by Tuba-Euphonium Press). After playing them regularly, I also beganto enjoy Telemann’s compositional achievement as a player and realized that there was no music in this contrapuntal style written specifically for our instruments. The contrapuntal technique used in writing two lines of music that are identical yet staggered seemed overwhelming at first,and my initial sketches in the Baroque style turned out placid at best. However,as I approached this commission by Brian Kiser,I took advantage of the greater harmonic and rhythmic freedom that we have today and began to find my compositional voice. Though these works are written for two bass tubas, they are also playable on (or in combinations with) euphoniums or trombones.”
I hope the ITEA membership and the tuba/euphonium community as a whole enjoys these two Roundabouts by finding them both musically challenging and rewarding. Unlike other works in the Gem series,these are not solo pieces but canonic duets. The second player should begin when the first player reaches the sign and then stop at the fermata. Be sure to enjoy the dissonances in No. 2 and I hope that the rhythmic nuances with both 3/4 and 6/8 meter (thought of in “one”) in No. 3 keep you on your toes! If these two works peak your interest,and you would like to obtain the remaining four Roundabouts, they are indeed available from Editions-BIM. I hope you enjoy these 21st century canons!”
The ITEA Journal would once again like to express sincere appreciation to Jean-Pierre Mathez, Editions-BIM,Mike Forbes, and Brian Kiser for continued support of ITEA as well as helping to instigate new music for the tuba and euphonium.