Through the generosity of Jim and Jamie Self, the International Tuba Euphonium Association is able to offer a new award to be presented every two years at ITEC for a substantial creative effort or project relating to tuba or euphonium. Please see the official award details following this interview.
Jamie and Jim Self
As ITEA members know, Jim Self has been perhaps the most successful tubist of modern times. Having performed in thousands of movie soundtracks and other recordings, Jim has made his artistry heard by nearly every American a great many citizens worldwide–whether they realize it or not. In addition to his performing credits, Jim is an active teacher and composer. Many of his compositions have become mainstays of the tuba/euphonium repertoire, and his students have distinguished themselves for decades. Jim’s career has and continues to open doors for tuba and euphonium players the world over. That Jim and Jamie have decided to share their success with others in the tuba euphonium community through the new Creative Award will undoubtedly inspire future generations of tuba and euphonium performers, teachers, and indeed creators.
Jim was kind enough to offer some insights on this new award and his role as an ITEA member for nearly 40 years.
What inspired you to make such a generous gift to ITEA?
“For several years, maybe fifteen or so, I’ve been giving a creative award–basically 500 bucks a year, to one or sometimes two people. And it was quite random. I would go to my friends who were college teachers and say ‘do you have a really talented kid who’s got a project going that I could maybe contribute to.’ And so I gave several of those awards –maybe a dozen or so the past fifteen years, maybe more. It wasn’t very structured so I thought it wise to make it more of an organized thing through ITEA and try to encourage creative projects among our members.”
What do you hope this award will help to accomplish?
“Defining creativity is such a wide open field. There are so many creative possibilities I could think of. Not just writing and playing music but maybe inventing a new instrument, creating a tuba opera or a developing a technical device for the euphonium.”
Jim and Jamie hope to attend the ITEC 2012 in Linz, Austria, where the first Creative Award will be presented. Their gift to ITEA is in the form of an endowment and will allow for an award of $1,000 (or more) every two years. “And I would hope that others would contribute to it to make it a bigger deal. Maybe over a period of time maybe it could be something [that ITEA could build on].”
What does ITEA mean to you?
“I’ve been involved pretty much from the beginning. I wasn’t one of the real organizers of [TUBA] but I was involved a lot in the early part of it and I was involved quite importantly with the first International Conference in 1973–which was really cool and a very important thing for our group. I’ve just been involved all my adult life. But I think the people who have made the most, and done the best in our business owe a debt to ITEA (whether they know it or not). This is where so much of the real hard work and creative stuff has happened in the tuba world in the last 40 years. Euphonium and tuba players who have had good careers as teachers, symphony players, military players or anything else tuba/euphonium related, need to give back. Whether it’s time or money, even just a membership, they just need to give back. That’s my feeling. “
“This didn’t happen in a vacuum. A lot of the people who are very successful were student soloists at tuba conferences. This wasn’t true when I was young, because there wasn’t any of that stuff. But just think of the literature that’s out there now! It was generated by ITEA people more than anyone else. The level has gone up enormously. I’d hate to be out there competing with the young people these days. But that’s the way things go. Things get better if you have the kind of direction we’ve had with ITEA as a great motivator.”
Anyone who plays the tuba or euphonium is likely to say that Jim has been a ‘great motivator’ – thanks, Jim!