Lloyd Bone, Associate Editor
Global search finds American as new RSNO Principal Tuba
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) has made two significant artistic appointments, American John Whitener (29) joining as Principal Tuba and New Zealand-born Francesca Hunt (26) being appointed to the Viola section. John officially took up the position on Thursday (12 November), succeeding previous RSNO Principal Tuba of 39 years, Philip Hore, who retired in June 2008.
RSNO Brass Section: (L-R) Principal Trumpet John Gracie, Principal Trombone Dávur Juul Magnussen, Principal Tuba John Whitener, Sub-Principal Trumpet Marcus Pope, Trombone Lance Green, Principal Cornet Brian Forshaw, and Principal Bass Trombone Alastair Sinclair. Photo taken by Tom Finnie at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
John Whitener was one of 81 candidates from around the world who applied for the position. He gained his Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and studied with former Principal Tuba of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Paul Krzywicki. His Post-Graduate Diploma was gained from the world-famous Juilliard School of Music in New York where he studied with David Fedderly of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In 2008 John moved to the Netherlands to further his studies under Hendrik-Jan Renes at the Rotterdam Codarts Conservatory. During that time John worked with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Flemish Radio Orchestras, and in the summer performed at the Verbier Festival Orchestra as well as with the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra with Pierre Boulez. Other conductors John has worked for include Sir Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev, and James Levine.
Accepting the position, John said, “I consider myself amongst the luckiest of tuba players to land such an esteemed position in a first-rate orchestra, especially it being my first full-time appointment. I have had the opportunity to play as a guest with some truly exceptional ensembles and joining the RSNO is, without a doubt, the highlight of my career.”
Alessandro Fossi’s New Recording, Bel Canto
Alessandro Fossi’s new recording Bel Canto is soon to be available through his website, alessandrofossi.net. This is a much-anticipated CD from Fossi, and for additional information please visit his site or his Youtube channel, youtube.com/user/ale75fo.
New Euphonium Recording: Beyond the Horizon, Volume 2
Adam Frey’s Beyond the Horizon, Volume 2 continues the series dedicated to highlighting new repertoire for the euphonium. Ranging from William Brusick’s powerful and triumphant Concerto for Euphonium to the sublime lyrical writing of Jiro Censhu’s duet, The Windows Open to the Ocean, to the Mahlerian influences and turmoil in James Stephenson’s Sonata for Euphonium, Beyond the Horizon, Volume 2 highlights the diverse style and abilities of the euphonium. Also included are pieces influenced by the Salvation Army traditions: Call of the Seasons, a classic fantasy by Philip Catelinet, and The Journey Home, a charming work by the young composer Martin Mikles. Featured last is a great friend of the euphonium, Scott Stewart, playing saxophone in Barbara York’s Conversations for Saxophone, Euphonium, and Piano. International pianist and accompanist, Michael Fennelly brings the works alive with his incredible talents. Frey states, “I hope this is another fine addition to the growing repertoire and enlightens audiences around the world to the great new music for the euphonium.”
Stacy Baker & Gail Robertson Release Duo Recording, SYMBIOSISDUO
SymbiosisDuo pictured with the tuba-euphonium studio of Joanna Hersey at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Dr. Stacy Baker, tubist and Professor of Music at Morehead State University has released a duo recording, SYMISDUO, with Gail Robertson, euphoniumist and Instructor of Music at the University of Central Florida through the support of an MSU Creative Productions grant. SYMBIOSISDUO formed in 2007 to increase awareness of the tuba/euphonium duo as a performance medium and to promote and disseminate new works for this unique combination of instruments.
The duo’s name and album title SYMBIOSISDUO were chosen from the concert duet of that name written for them by composer Chris Sharp. In the program notes for the work Sharp writes: “Symbiosis is defined as, ‘A relationship of mutual benefit or dependence’…. The technical and range-requirements for each solo instrument are comparable, suggesting a ‘separate but equal’ relationship.” This is an innovative and challenging approach to duet writing for tuba and euphonium producing “the symbiosis effect” as the tuba is not relegated to an accompanying role but is equal in all aspects of music with the other voice in the duo, the euphonium. This eclectic album of original works and arrangements includes opera/popular vocal favorites, alternative classical with world-beat, and elements of jazz/rhythm and blues by composers Brian Balmages, Phillip Bimstein, Christopher Marshall, Chris Sharp, and T.O. Sterrett in addition to several new arrangements by Gail Robertson.
Both the CD and sheet music for most tracks are published by GARMUSIC and are available directly from the duo’s website: symbiosisduo.comas well as through CDBaby and DigStation (digital download).
Roger Bobo Masterclass DVD
Cherry Classics Music is pleased to announce a major new DVD recording: TUBA PROFONDO—an international masterclass with Roger Bobo and eight young musicians. Produced in Japan and distributed by Cherry Classics Music, it contains some of the finest musical advice and insight for musicians, students of brass and tubists.
Roger Bobo states, “Throughout my student and professional days I have been inspired and motivated by watching many masterclasses (usually on television) presented by many of the great musicians of our time. It was many years ago that I first got the idea to try to create such a masterclass of my own but was always held back by thinking, ‘No, I not ready yet.’ The difficult fact is that I still feel that same ‘not readiness.’ But having now completed seven decades on this planet, it seemed prudent to proceed with the masterclass project, ready or not, and fortunately at this time a DVD seemed the perfect medium.”
24th Annual Leonard Falcone Euphonium Tuba Festival a Success!
Congratulations to the competitors in the 24th annual International Leonard Falcone Euphonium Tuba Festival! The Festival was held August 14–17, 2009 on the campus of the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Whitehall, Michigan. Once again, the growing number of extremely talented young men and women who play the euphonium and tuba is extraordinary. The Festival had 187 preliminary applicants, with a total of 32 euphonium and tuba players selected to attend and compete in the semi-final round. In addition to being one of the world’s most prestigious competitions for our instruments it is also a festival that is continually open to the public.
One of the unique experiences of the festival is the opportunity to spend quality time with the selected guest artist. This year was no exception. Everyone enjoyed the musical offerings of Velvet Brown, international tuba soloist and professor of tuba and euphonium at Pennsylvania State University. In addition to a brilliant evening recital performance and performing the James Barnes Concerto with the Blue Lake Festival Band (conducted by Donald Flickenger), Ms. Brown presented two masterclasses: “Careers in Music (with Kelly Thomas)”, and “Instrument Testing and Design (with Deanna Swoboda and Kelly Thomas)”.
After many months of preparation and practicing, followed by two days of competition and camaraderie, the finalists were announced:
Euphonium Student: Seth Davis, Toby Furr, and Ethan Henshaw
Tuba Student: Patrick Melvin, Tyler Sherwin, and Brice Thomas
Euphonium Artist: Chris Buckley, Nate Gay, and Mai Kokubo
Tuba Artist: Clay Garrett, Clinton McCanless, and Gabriel Sears
Following the announcement of the finalists, the competitors had the afternoon and the next morning to prepare and to rehearse with their accompanist. This year’s outstanding Festival accompanists included Jun Okada, Dr. Mary Jo Cox, Sheryl Iott, and Marie Blair. In addition to the competition and the camaraderie, some of the best things about the Festival are the rural setting and accommodating facilities of the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and having the opportunity to meet and talk to Mrs. Beryl Falcone. She continues to be passionately involved in the meetings, preparations, and organization of the Festival. She exudes a joy and excitement for the euphonium and tuba (and for the players!). Thank you Beryl Falcone for all that you do and for carrying on the tradition of the Festival!
Monday, August 16, 2009 began a day of final round competitions. The student tuba and euphonium divisions competed in the afternoon. Later that evening, the tuba artist finalists performed the Rolf Wilhelm Concertino with the Blue Lake Festival Band under the direction of Donald Flickenger. Euphonium artists performed the Jan Bach Euphonium Concerto, Movement 1 with accompanist Jun Okada.
All of the finalists (artist and student) demonstrated beautiful musicianship, fine technique and control. At the end of the evening, after the competition, the results were announced:
1st Place – Chris Buckley; University of North Texas
2nd Place – Mia Kokubo; University of North Texas
3rd Place – Nate Gay; University of Missouri-Kansas City
1st Place – Clinton McCanless; Michigan State University
2nd Place – Gabriel Sears; Arizona State University
3rd Place – Clay Garrett; Baylor University
1st Place – Ethan Henshaw; University of North Texas
2nd Place – Toby Furr; Lake Highlands High School
3rd Place – Seth Davis; Indiana University
1st Place – Patrick Melvin; University of Southern Mississippi
2nd Place – Tyler Sherwin; Spring-Ford Senior High School
3rd Place – Brice Thomas; Carroll High School
The preliminary judges for this year’s competition were:
Euphonium Artist: Roger Behrend, Neal Corwell, and Ben Pierce
Euphonium Student: Paul Droste, Jamie Lipton, and Martin Cochran
Tuba Artist: Stacy Baker, Karl Hovey, and Willie Clarke
Tuba Student: Kent Eshelman, Ben Miles, and Chuck Guy
Semi-Finals and Finals Judges: Thomas Broka, Monty Birch, David Cleveland, Mark Cox, Earle Louder, Philip Sinder, Deanna Swoboda, and Kelly Thomas
Once again, congratulations to all of the Falcone Festival competitors! Your dedication, hard work, and preparation is recognized and sincerely appreciated. Next year’s repertoire lists are available on the Falcone Festival website, www.falconefestival.org. We hope to see you there August 13–16, 2010!
~Submitted by Deanna Swoboda
The Summer Brass Institute and Festival at Menlo with Øystein Baadsvik
Arriving in the San Francisco Bay Area of California in July, as guest artist for the seventh annual Summer Brass Institute and Festival at Menlo, Øystein Baadsvik mentioned that the weather reminded him of home in Norway. 70 degrees, sunlit, and gently breezy was not what I’d imagined Norway to be, but Øystein set me straight. “The water is warm there too,” he commented—he’s a swimmer who likes the sea, and I warned him that the waters of the Golden Gate tend to be chillier at this or any time of year. Later in the week, Øystein traversed the Golden Gate by bicycle, but first he would teach and play. He’d come to teach, to coach low brass ensembles at the Summer Brass Institute and Festival (http://brass.menloschool.org) and to play his tuba in the various concerts on offer during the Festival. Logging eight hours a day, he spent his time teaching a vast variety of musicians, such as the teenage tubist Kameron Clayton from small-town Vermont, the tuba Fellowship award winner Chanell Crichlow from New York City, the young bass trombone professional from Alabama, Ryan Black, all the rest of the tuba participants, and even a hornist or two.
In between bouts of teaching and rehearsing, Øystein sat at table with various participants and professionals, chatting about life. During mealtimes, he engaged students with wry humor, traded stories with guest artists, and occasionally snuck a peek at his cell phone to text his wife. During our dinner-table talk, I ventured to probe beyond the bio in hopes of insight about his artistic development. Knowing that he’d made the transition in the 1990s from orchestral tubist at the Nörrkoping Symphony Orchestra to solo performer, I asked him what prompted this leap. “I thought there could be room in the concert world for the tuba as a solo instrument. It is more wonderful and flexible than most people know.” In keeping with this vision, Øystein spent his week at the Summer Brass Festival revealing the outer boundaries of possibility on the tuba, while also at home in the warm inner waters of the tuba’s huge sound, tonal colors, power, and radiance. His playing enthralled listeners. He’s at ease and powerfully expressive in the classical realm of music-making; he performed chamber works with musicians from the San Francisco Symphony, Opera and Ballet orchestras at a couple of concerts; repertoire included arrangements of Shostakovich and Strauss, plus a quintet by Gunther Marks and the Nonet of Wallingford Riegger. Yet he also revealed techniques from the realm of possibilities that he himself has created. Øystein could be heard beatboxing at an after-party with San Francisco Opera Principal Trumpet Adam Luftman’s jazz improv to the delight of young participants; earlier, Øystein drew a standing ovation from the capacity crowd at Stanford University’s Memorial Church, performing his arrangement of the epic and popular Gabriel’s Oboe with accompaniment by San Francisco’s Bay Brass. This performance quickly made its appearance on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXzPsRVF-Ew.
In response to my questions, Øystein talked of his exploratory work with the tuba. Inventing new sounds, created by various speeds of air intake and various ways of expelling air into the tuba, led to a repertoire of wonderful effects, inviting comparison to the work of Tartini and Paganini in creating violin techniques such as the nasal rasp of “sul ponticello” over the bridge, the ghostly effect of “sul tasto,” the ethereal harmonics formed by touching a string without depressing it, and the Bartok snap since used by other composers. Such techniques add expressive possibilities to the musical sound world, opening doors for composers who create gestures involving these sonic inventions. Øystein describes his use of such an assortment of techniques in his own work, Fnugg. “I sat around experimenting with these sounds and perfecting them; it took hours for them to sound as I wished. And they keep developing.” About the multi-phonics on show in Fnugg, when Øystein sings into the tuba, he remarked, “this is not new. But actually my wife pushed me to a new level with this. I was practicing, singing into the tuba, seeing what could be done, and she asked why I was not in tune. I said, well this is not easy. She said, well, the Paganini caprices on the violin are not easy either!”
Anna Baadsvik is a violinist; her comment led Øystein to perfect the intonation of his vocalizations, elevating them to “a beauty that makes the whole instrument vibrate in accord.” Øystein works as a team with his wife; she makes arrangements and she composes music for Øystein, such as On A Little Cloud for tuba and piano, and she often takes photos used in his albums. And Øystein’s sonic innovations are being used by composers who have recently begun to write for solo tuba, including Kalevi Aho and Torbörn Lundquist. Composers have begun to create works expressly for him.
Hearing Øystein’s lyric and flexible sound in recordings I discovered online last year, I wanted to invite him to visit our Art of Sound Festival, which I direct. Also, I was intrigued enough to arrange a few pieces with his sound in mind. He followed through brilliantly. Øystein performed his lyric and virtuosic parts in Shostakovich’s Andante and Allegro with heartfelt grace in the former and dashing clarity in the latter. His sixteenth- note passagework in the “Allegro” was dispatched at a headlong speed which stayed steady in its quickness yet also flowered expressively, in and out of the forte dynamic, in splendid interplay with the other brass. The quickness of Øystein’s technique, revealed in his trademark showpieces such as Monti’s Czardas and Anitra’s Dance by Grieg, enabled, in the Shostakovich, a nimbleness akin to that of the pianist (Shostakovich!) who created those blazing fast gestures. Perhaps rotary valve system on Øystein’s Miraphone E-flat tuba aided his speed, or perhaps he merely trained himself to attain a velocity similar to his violinist wife Anna when executing rapid passagework—in either case, the resulting clear, fast, even, dynamically fluid flow of notes impressed everyone. Juxtaposed with the achingly lyric sound of the “Andante” melody, accentuated by Øystein’s characteristic, brief, expressive vibrato, this playing showed the tubist’s musical range.
Øystein’s charming humility leads him to credit various others with innovations that he has used. He’s self-effacing yet also self-possessed, with a consistent honesty and authenticity in playing and in conversation. Characteristically, he named his most popular composition Fnugg. When I asked what that title meant in English, he said “a bit of wispy material, like lint from a pocket, or a snowflake.” He agreed that “speck” might be another appropriate translation, or “fluff.” Yet, despite its title, the solo work evokes emotional depths through the haunting resonance of multi-phonics, and percussive techniques that not only require virtuosic control of air but are expressive as well. Hearing Øystein perform, and conducting ensembles in which he played, I noticed that he is expressive in everything he does. His gestures serve music in a way that leaves audiences and performance partners alert and engaged.
Øystein is equally modest while teaching students in a masterclass, avoiding the common trap of artist arrogance when demonstrating virtuosic licks to developing musicians. Øystein’s way is to demonstrate a virtuosic lick, then break it down slowly and show youngsters a way in. For instance, a young tubist had trouble with airflow in his high register during the masterclass; Øystein took a toothpick out of his pocket, wedged it between mouthpiece and leadpipe, and showed how to use the creation of resistance to increase the habit of airflow so that the high register sound would be more consistently efficient. Also, Øystein took care to delineate the rugged path he’d followed to artistry. While admitting to me, at one point, that he had won a national competition during his teenage years, he spent masterclass time detailing the hours of scale studies and technical work he’d utilized, demonstrating how slowly he was tonguing to start with, and how deliberate was his ascent to the rapid-fire tonguing evident in Monti’s Czardas and other showpieces. Such stories not only inspire younger players but also show them the way to proceed.
As a person, Øystein reveals a breadth that’s intellectually intriguing to conversation partners at the Festival. While eating a late-night hamburger at a local nightspot after a performance, he discusses engineering with a collegiate tuba player. It turns out that Øystein has made some engineering experiments of his own and is fascinated with developments in various fields. Yet, when he won two prizes in 1991 at the Concours Internationale d’Execution Musicale, his life veered into the musical fast lane. Now with seven discs to his credit, he has international stature. In Japan, he won a renowned award for the most-listened-to CD. And his recording of the Kalevi Aho Tuba Concerto (BIS CD 1574) was deemed the Editor’s Choice by Gramophone magazine in addition to being awarded the Roger Bobo Award for recording excellence in June 2008. And in 2009, his recording of tuba concerti by 21st century composers is enhancing his reputation for impeccable musicianship.
After Øystein’s departure, students were unanimous in praising not only his virtuosity, but his character and musical breadth as well. One student, a horn player, said that the expressiveness of his playing changed her life, igniting a renewed zeal to pursue her own expressive potential on her instrument. Some participants had come to study at the Festival because of a previous experience with Øystein; they lauded his positive yet modest approach and his inspiring sound. Enthusiastic participants, and his fellow artists, noted that the quality of Øystein’s playing in person measured up to the excellence of his recorded sound, and listeners were inspired to ovations by his dynamic interpretive sensibility when performing. For more information about Øystein Baadsvik, please visit www.baadsvik.com; for more information about Summer Brass Institute and Festival, please visit http://brass.menloschool.org.
~Submitted by Vicky Greenbaum
Fredericton International TubaFest 2009
The sixth annual TubaFest (tuba-euphonium workshop) was held the last weekend of May 2009. Thirty players from throughout eastern Canada and the United States joined Dennis Miller of the Montreal Symphony, Mark Carlson of Sotto Voce Quartet, and Greg Irvine of the New Brunswick Symphony for two days of learning and playing. Players ranged in age from 14 to 70+ and from beginners with 6 months of experience to 40+ years of playing experience. The weekend started off with the usual gymnastics of warm ups and breathing exercises. This was followed by a two-hour reading session for all players lead by Mark and Greg. This allowed opportunity to read through a lot of scores and select pieces for the concert on Saturday night. StereoSystems Ltd. of Burtts Corner NB then treated everyone to a luncheon. Following lunch Dennis Miller joined Mark and Greg and lead an open rehearsal. During this rehearsal everyone was visited by music students from Quispamsis Middle School. Following a break Dennis had a workshop on articulations and timing. This was followed by masterclasses with Larry Douglas, Jon Hall, and Ken Howell’s playing euphonium for Mark, and George Douglas and Richard Riding on tuba and an ensemble of George and Joan Doubt and Brenda Forsythe playing for Dennis.
Friday night there was a brief concert featuring Susie Jones, Jon Hall. Glenda Metcalf, and Bob Travis from Maine in a quartet; a Maritime group formed over the dinner hour consisting of David Moore, Jason Giles, Claire Amiro, and Maren McLean; and the ensemble, George, Joan, and Brenda, from Ontario who played an original arrangement of classic tunes. The organizer, Richard Riding, was then joined by Katherine Moller to play a tuba/violin duet. Mark and Dennis finished off the show with a couple of party pieces. Following the mini-concert the musicians split into three small ensembles lead by Greg, Mark, and Dennis to read through music for the next day.
Saturday Dennis Miller started everyone off with warm-up exercises and then broke everyone up into the small ensembles. Following the morning break there were more masterclasses with Claire and Maren performing for Mark. Following lunch Dennis again lead everyone in covering effective practice techniques. His message was always start and end making your best beautiful sound! The small ensembles then polished up their pieces for the evening concert. After a break Mark challenged everyone with thoughts on Baroque performance practice. The full ensemble then returned to the main hall to polish pieces.
For the final concert the clinicians were joined by Nathalie LePine on piano. Sunday ten people showed up at 8:00 for an hour of sight-reading hymns. A special thanks to people who have been arranging and composing pieces that can be played by amateur musicians.
The weekend was sponsored by grants from the City of Fredericton and the New Brunswick/Quebec Cooperative Agreement, and donations from StereoSystems Limited, Assante Wealth Management, Cimarron Music Press, Long & McQuade Musical Instruments, The Antique Brass, Tony’s Music Box Ltd, and private donations. Roger Smith was the photographer for the event. Fredericton International TubaFest 2010 will take place on May 7 and 8. For information contact Richard Riding at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (506) 472-9016.
~Submitted by Richard Riding
Howard Hovey Tuba Day
Octubafest was conceived by Dr. Harvey Phillips, Professor Emeritus of Music at Indiana University. It was his idea to bring more recognition to euphonium and tuba players through public performances of tuba solo and ensemble music featuring college musicians in conjunction with professional artists. Howard Hovey was the first to implement this concept on a public school level. In 1975, Howard organized the first Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association Octubafest. On November 6, 2009 at Sayville Middle School, the 29th Annual Howard Hovey Tuba Day was conducted with great success. The event always draws a great number of participants as there are usually more than 200 people who participate! The schedule of events was as follows:
3:30 – 4:50 PM Massed Tuba Ensemble andAll-Star Tuba Ensemble rehearsals
5:00 – 5:30 PM Guest Artist Clinic – Dr. Marc Dickman, professor of low brass and jazz studies at The University of North Florida
5:30 – 5:50 PM Faculty Tuba Ensemble open rehearsal
6:00 – 6:30 PM Massed Tuba Ensemble dress rehearsal
7:00 PM Pre-concert music featuring the Sunnyland Quartet with Bob Barta on banjo, Bob Hovey on trombone, Art Hovey on tuba, and John Klumpp on trumpet
7:30 PM Howard Hovey Day Concert
For more information on future events, contact Bill Troiano at email@example.com.
~Submitted by Bill Troiano
PERFORMANCES & EVENTS OF NOTE
Congratulations to Scott Watson, University of Kansas professor of tuba-euphonium professor, as he celebrated his 30th year at the University of Kansas. The anniversary weekend featured two concerts: an alumni concert on Friday, October 9, which featured performances by some of Watson’s former students and Sunday, October 11, which featured Mr. Watson in a faculty recital.
Yid Vicious Klezmer Ensemble Featured at KlezFiesta 2009
David Spies, tubist with Yid Vicious Klezmer Ensemble, recently embarked on a 20-day
tour of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and Mendoza, Argentina as part of KlezFiesta 2009,
Argentina’s International Festival of Klezmer.
Yid Vicious in front of Buenos Aires Planetarium
Yid Vicious was featured at the second annual KlezFiesta International Klezmer Festival, with performances in Buenos Aires from November 7–15, 2009, and both Córdoba and Mendoza, Argentina from November 16–22, 2009.Audiences ranging from a few hundred to several thousand people were exposed tocurrent world trends in Klezmer performance ranging from Klezmer performancepractice to various forms of Klezmer fusion.
KlezFiesta 2009 included Klezmer ensembles from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Rumania, Slovakia, and the United States. Yid Vicious, the only U. S. ensemble invited to this year’s event, was a recipient of a USArtists International Grant from the MidAtlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Other recipients in the grant cycle included the Kronos Quartet, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Bang on a Can, and the Mark Morris Dance Group.
David Spies prior to Opening Gala Concert at Auditorium de Belgrano
Other Buenos Aires appearances by Yid Vicious included a street performance in conjunction with the Gypsy Yiddish Brass Band from Buenos Aires on the Paseo Astor Piazzola, meters from the famed Obelisk monument on Avenue 9 de Julio, as well as a jam session featuring musicians from most of the local and international ensembles anchored by Yid Vicious, Pressburger Klezmer Band, and Brazilian Klezmer group Azdi for an audience of several thousand people in the recently renovated Ampitheater in Centennial Park.The Buenos Aires portion of the festival concluded with an outdoor Concert for Peace atthe Buenos Aires Planetarium, featuring 10 of the festival bands in concert and inconsort, complete with fireworks and dancing.
Concerts in Córdoba and Mendoza featured Yid Vicious in conjunction and collaboration with Danish Klezmer groups KlezmerDuo and Mames Babegenush as well as an appearance by the Buenos Aires Klezmer group Segundo Mundo. The festival concluded with a final concert in Mendoza’s Teatro Independencia.
Yid Vicious Klezmer Ensemble has been engaging and delighting audiences throughout the Midwest United States since 1995. KlezFiesta marks Yid Vicious’ second international appearance, having toured Chiba Prefecture, Japan as part of the 2006 Wisconsin-Chiba Sister State Goodwill Delegation. Yid Vicious collaborates frequently with internationally-renowned klezmer dance instructor Steve Weintraub, and was a featured performer at the “KlezKamp Roadshow” directed by Yiddish scholar Henry Sapoznik at the University of Wisconsin in April 2009. Yid Vicious has presented concerts, workshops, and clinics at performing arts centers, cultural festivals, universities, and K-12 schools in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan, and has performed to statewide audiences on Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television, as well as radioNihuil in Mendoza, Argentina (commercial radio).
Yid Vicious members include Daithi Wolfe, fiddle; Greg Smith, clarinets; Melissa Reiser, saxophones; Kia Karlen, horn and accordion; Matt Appleby, guitar; David Spies, tuba; and Geoffrey Brady, percussion. Vocalist Anna Purnell, a frequent guest artist with Yid Vicious, joined the group for its KlezFiesta tour.
Yid Vicious Klezmer Ensemble released their fourth CD, Dollars to Doinas, in 2008. It is available by mail from Yid Vicious (www.yidvicious.com) or online at CDBaby.~Submitted by David Spies
Tuba Ensemble and a Cow
The retirement celebration on September 10, 2009 of Professor Harvey Cox as the Harvard Divinity School’s Hollis Professor of Divinity was a little different from the “typical” retirement celebration: this one included a tuba ensemble and a cow! Professor Cox for forty-four years was part of the Hollis Professorship. The professorship was established in 1721 by a local merchant, Thomas Hollis, who was one of Harvard’s greatest supporters in the eighteenth-century. Professor Cox held the oldest endowed chair in America, and the professorship evidently included a perk of grazing rights, so Professor Cox decided to oblige and brought along a cow for the proceedings to graze at Harvard Yard! The celebration had a very large crowd with many people very excited to take photos of the cow grazing.
The tuba ensemble for the occasion was named Udderly Tuba. They performed such selections as “Fair Harvard” and “Old MacDonald.” and the group included such tuba players as Eli Newberger, Mike Roylance (who put the ensemble together), and Steve Skov. The original intent was for the tuba ensemble to all perform on sousaphones, but there were not enough available. Following the celebration Professor Cox, the cow, and the tuba ensemble led a procession where the celebration continued, and the cow was milked! Later, Professor Cox even played his tenor sax with his swing band!
Just in case you are wondering about Professor Cox’s connection to tuba ensemble, he is connected to the tuba via Dr. Eli Newberger who shares the same literary agent with Professor Cox. Professor Cox was thrilled with the tuba ensemble’s performance and said, “If there is anything I can do to promote the development of the tuba ensemble, please let me know!” It is just great to see the tuba ensemble “moo-ving” in such a wonderful direction!
New Work for Quartet by Neal Corwell is Premiered
A new work for tuba-euphonium quartet by Dr. Neal Corwell titled FTR! was premiered on October 27, 2009 as part of The U. S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own”, Brucker Hall Concert Series. The new work, which is subtitled “feel the rage,” calls for some aggressive playing on the part of all members of the ensemble. The first tuba, in particular, is featured prominently. One unusual feature of the instrumentation is that the second euphonium part switches back and forth between euphonium and trombone. According to the composer, “I decided to augment the tonal palette of the group by adding a trombone for much of this piece so that I could exploit the edgy sound the trombone is capable of producing. That additional edge, when coupled with the trio of conical instruments, helped me create the ‘in-your-face’ sound I was seeking.”
The ensemble that premiered FTR! was The U.S. Army Ceremonial Band Tuba-Euphonium Quartet, comprised of Neal Corwell and Dean Miller on euphoniums (Corwell also played the trombone part) and Charles Giannelli and Tim Royster on tubas. Two more performances of the work are scheduled to be performed by this same ensemble: one in December at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, and the other in January of 2010 at The U. S. Army Band Tuba Euphonium Conference, held annually in Arlington, Virginia.
Phillip Black Performs Forgotten Tuba Work
On December 2, 2009 Wichita State University tuba-euphonium professor and Wichita Symphony tubist Phillip C. Blackperformed Morris Knight’s Concerto for Tuba and Two Wind Quintets with members of the WSU Symphonic Winds.Originally composed for performance at Harvey Phillip’s First International Tuba Symposium, this work was premiered by Mr. Black in April, 1974 and spent the next 30 years packed in a box at the composer’s home and forgotten because, in his own words “Oh, I thought you took it.” This work received its second performance in Mr. Black’s November 1, 2009 Faculty Artist Recital at Wichita State along with premiere performances of two works of Barton Cummings: Excursions for Tuba and Harpsichord (2008), and Five Segments for Solo Tuba (2007). So, on November 6th, 2009 on American Music Week concert at Wichita State, Mr. Black premiered Barton Cummings’ Suite #6 Octuba (2009). To “balance” the program he and his wife performed. J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe!
INTERNET SELECTION FOR THE QUARTER
It is easy to forget in our field that there are many tuba and euphonium enthusiasts out there who do not fit the “typical” mold of a soloist, professor, public school educator, studio musician, freelance musician, etc yet they have a large impact on our field with their support or through other means. Our field cannot continue to grow without the love and support these people bestow to our most beloved instruments.
One of those many people would be Dr. Eli Newberger. Dr. Newberger is a pediatrician, author, teacher, and a tubist. His website, www.elinewberger.com, features great information about his books which are very helpful resources to anyone with children, articles on music, recordings, reviews, videos, medicine of the tuba, and many other valuable resources. Currently Dr. Newberger is urging people in the mental health and medical communities to consider the role of music in the prevention and treatment of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). On his website he just posted a set of videos of his Jazz Tuber Trio’s concert in September on jazz themes of trauma and resilience. The songs are played and sung by Jimmy Mazzy, banjo, and Ted Casher, clarinet and tenor sax. Songs include “Frankie and Johnnie,” “Put ‘em Down Blues,” “‘Lectric Chair Blues, Lina Blues,” “Put It Right Here (or Keep It Out There),” “Let’s Have Another Cup of Coffee,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Ain’t Nobody’s Business,” and “Hava Nagila.”
You can watch the whole narrated movie, or check out the individual songs on the website or (songs only) on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/elinewberger. Dr. Newberger has many wonderful connections in the euphonium and tuba world. He and his website well document the great diversity that is out there in our field that is often overlooked.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR & ERRATA
Letter to the Editor:
I very much enjoyed Alessandro Fossi’s interview of Brian R. Earl in the Fall 2009 ITEA Journal and the accompanying and very informative vignette, “Historical Account on the Cimbasso,” by Renato Meucci (37:1; 42–45). I would like to believe that with this entry and all of the cimbasso scholarship of the past 30+ years, the low brass world can now finally accept the difference between what is referred to as the “early cimbasso”—a wood and brass instrument of the upright serpent, bass horn family—and the more commonly known “valved cimbasso,” a member of the valved trombone family. While I certainly agree with Meucci that a single definition of the cimbasso is “clearly untenable for times predating the emergence of low valve trombones in Italy,” I wish to underscore that Clifford Bevan has indeed made this distinction, a point somewhat obscured by Meucci’s wording and seemingly critical analysis. In addition to Meucci’s historic 1988 essay on the cimbasso, Bevan, beginning with his 1978 synoptic text on the tuba family, has clearly differentiated between the early cimbasso and the valved cimbasso, a point even noted in this journal on many occasions.
Perhaps now we can place this distinction aside as common knowledge and move the conversation to more important matters of acoustical context, ascertaining the sound not of just the cimbasso but also its accompanying instruments in the repertoire of the 19th century orchestra.
For those who wish to explore further the complications surrounding the instrument, listed below is an abridged bibliography:Clifford Bevan,”The Great Cimbasso Mystery,” in The Tuba Family, 1st edition. (London: Faber and Faber, 1978), 212–5.
Bevan, Clifford. “On the Cimbasso Trail.” Sounding Brass & The Conductor 8:2 (1979), 57–8.
Clifford Bevan,”Any More for the Cimbasso?,” TUBA Journal 23:2 (Winter 1996), 50–3.
Clifford Bevan, “Cimbasso Research and Performance Practice: An Update,” in Perspectives in Brass Scholarship, edited by Stewart Carter (Stuyvesant , N.Y.: Pendragon Press, 1997), 289–99.
Clifford Bevan, “The Low Brass,” in The Cambridge Companion to Brass Instruments, edited by Trevor Herbert & John Wallace, Eds (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 143–56.
Bevan, Clifford. “Final Thoughts on the Cimbasso, parts 1 and 2,” TUBA Journal 26:3 (1999), 56-57; TUBA Journal 28:1 (2000), 107–9.
Clifford Bevan, The Tuba Family, 2nd edition. (Winchester, U.K.: Piccolo Press, 2000), 406–25.
Ralph Leavis, “More Light on the Cimbasso,” The Galpin Society Journal 34 (March 1981), 151–2.
Renato Meucci, “The Cimbasso and Related Instruments in 19th-Century Italy,” translated by William Waterhouse, The Galpin Society Journal 49 (March 1996), 143–79; originally published in 1988–9.
Renato Meucci, “Historical Account on the Cimbasso,” ITEA Journal 37:1 (Fall 2009), 44–5.
Douglas Yeo, “Some Clarity about the Cimbasso,” The Brass Herald 11, December 2005–January 2006), 56–7.
~Submitted via email by Craig Kridel on December 18, 2009 Dear Jason:
I believe the caption of the photo on page 35 of the Fall 2009 tribute to Abe Torchinsky is in error. It is quite obviously the Cities Service Band of America conducted by Paul LaValle. The banner says as much, and although, due to the reproduction, it is difficult to identify the players, LaValle is clear on the left. They had a weekly radio program in the 1940s and ‘50s. I played a concert in Chicago in about 1965 with LaValle, and the program may still have been on the air then, as he was still using his Cities Service Band of America title.
Best, John M. Taylor
(Submitted via email November, 16, 2009)