Dr. Chris Combest has been appointed to the faculty at The University of Texas at San Antonio, where he serves as the Tuba/Euphonium Professor. Dr. Combest is also the new Principal Tubist of the Victoria Symphony in Victoria, Texas. Dr. Combest previously taught at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois and holds a D.M.A. from the University of Illinois, where he studied with Professor Mark Moore.
Christopher Dickey is the new Instructor of Tuba and Euphonium at Washington State University. His teaching responsibilities include studio tuba and euphonium, conducting the Symphonic Band, teaching ear training, and performing with the faculty brass quintet. He is completing his doctoral degree from Northwestern University and previously completed a Master of Arts degree in performance and pedagogy from the University of Iowa, following a Bachelor of Music degree from Eastern Illinois University. His former teachers include Rex Martin, John Manning, and Allan Horney.
Ben Thomson has won the position of Principal Tuba with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He began playing with the orchestra in late November. Thomson studied tuba at the Royal Northern College of Music with Ewan Easton, Brian Kingsley, Robin Haggart, and James Gourlay. In addition to his new post with the BBCSSO, Thomson is still currently on trial with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and Covent Garden.
Dan Trodden is the new Principal Tubist of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He began playing with the orchestra in late November. Trodden was born and raised in Cardiff, which is the home of the BBCNOW. He studied with Matthew Thistlewood until beginning a degree at the Royal Academy of Music where he studied with Patrick Harrild. Following graduation in 2006, he began freelancing throughout the United Kingdom, playing primarily in orchestras and brass quintets.
In an effort to promote all things tuba and euphonium in the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Ben Kirby has initiated the Northern Rockies Tuba and Euphonium Festival. It will be held on the campus of the University of Montana from February 17-18, 2012. Guest artists include Jason Guilliam (Pacific Lutheran University), Lancy Boyd (University of Montana), Ben Kirby (Missoula Symphony Orchestra and regional orchestras), and Chris Dickey (Washington State University). The festival will provide master classes, solo opportunities, chamber music, and panel discussions. All questions about this festival should be directed to Ben Kirby at email@example.com. Players of all ages and ability levels are encouraged to attend.
On November 9, 2011, Germany’s acclaimed Melton Quartett and the Duisburg Philharmonic, with American conductor Carl St. Clair on the podium, premiered a major new work for tuba quartet and symphony orchestra by American composer John Stevens. This was the premiere performance of what is believed to be the first ever original composition for tuba quartet and symphony orchestra. The Grand Concerto 4 Tubas was composed in 2009-2010 and was commissioned by the Duisburg Philharmonic, the Bamberg Symphony and the Dresden Philharmonic, three of the orchestras in which the tubists in the Melton Quartett are members. It is a four-movement work of about 23 minutes in length, and the movements are titled Intrada, Scherzo, Ballade and Tango-Tarantella. The Spring 2012 ITEA Journal will feature a thorough review of the work, its performances, and the circumstances of its commission.
Fidel Bernabe, a talented Mexican trumpeter-turned-tubist, was featured in the Los Angeles Times in November. Bernabe moved to Los Angeles with the hopes of making a living playing in Mexican brass bands known as bandas but could not find steady employment as a trumpet player in these ensembles. He turned to the tuba, and he suddenly found himself with plenty of playing opportunities. Find the story on the LA Times website: www.latimes.com.