Double bell tuba

Double bell tuba
Double bell tuba

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

German Brass Ensemble ...
German Brass
GERMAN BRASS is both: tradition and progress. But above all the ensemble has for years been a synonym for brass music at its highest level. A pioneer among the German brass ensembles, GERMAN BRASS has co-initiated the brass movement from its beginnings in 1974 and has influenced it decisively ever since.

GERMAN BRASS has succeeded in creating "diversity in unity", i.e. to work the miracle of producing a unique, unmistakable collective sound with ten individualists and renowned soloists from outstanding first-class German orchestras. As an ensemble they play transparent chamber music but at the same time with symphonic magnificence and dynamics that only brass instrumentalists can produce.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tuba 'Dragster'

For the tuba player with everything!
It comes with a modified 5-valve Mirafone engine...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Big Bore Brass Tuba Choir in concert

The Big Bore Brass Tuba Choir will be in concert on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 6:00 pm at the Forestville High School Auditorium (4 Academy - Forestville, NY 14062).

The Big Bore Brass Tuba Choir will be under the direction of special guest conductor: Andre Lousada.

Andre Lousada is the Graduate Assistant of Orchestras @ SUNY Fredonia. He was born and raised in Porto, Portugal. Andre finished his BM in conducting at the Superior Conservatory of Gaia (Portugal) where he studied with Mario Mateus, Manuel Ivo Cruz, Alvaro Salazar; and studied piano with Jairo Grossi and Angel Gonzalez.

Immediately following The Big Bore Brass Tuba Choir performance ... The New Horizons Band of Western New York will begin their concert at 6:30 pm. The New Horizons band is under the direction of Dr. Kate Levy, assistant professor of music at SUNY Fredonia.

Free admission - No tickets required.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Harry Smith (CBS News) ... a tuba player?

Harvey Phillips Liberated the Tuba
"Just a Minute": Harry Smith's Daily Commentaries on News and Issues of the Day
by Harry Smith (CBS)

Whenever people ask me if I play a musical instrument, and I say the tuba, they giggle or frown. To be a tuba player is to be the object of scorn and derision. Oom pah, oom pah…they howl! For many people the tuba is a joke, a musical punch line. We tuba players were rarely taken seriously as musicians or music makers…until Harvey Phillips came along. Harvey knew how to make a tuba sing. He was a wizard as a player and a brilliant composer. A pal and I played a devilishly difficult tuba duet at the state high school music contest written by Phillips. We won a perfect score and brought down the house. Harvey was the tuba's liberator. He played recitals at Carnegie Hall and was the force behind the now ubiquitous tuba Christmas. He was a brilliant mentor whose disciples continue to spread his philosophy that tubas can indeed make beautiful music. Harvey Phillips died last week at the age of 80.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Harvey Phillips (1929 - 2010)

Professor emeritus, musical innovator passes
By Alex Benson | IDS

A photo of Harvey Phillips, distinguished professor emeritus and life-long tuba player, hangs on the wall of his protege, professor of tuba Dan Perantoni.

It hangs with other well-known, but now deceased musicians.

Phillips, 80, died in his home Wednesday of Parkinson’s

Perantoni said the musician did for tuba what Bob Knight did for Indiana basketball — positively speaking.

“Phillips was the busiest tuba player — ever,” Perantoni said.

Phillips began his career as a teenager in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Band. He also did freelance work composing jingles from 1950 to 1971 while playing around the world in various bands and orchestras.

In 1954, he helped found the New York Brass Quintet, and he joined the IU faculty in 1971.

Over time, the tuba player garnered dozens of honors.

He was the first wind instrument player to be inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame, and in 2008, he received the IU President’s Medal for Excellence — one of the highest honors a president can bestow.

Even the former governor of his home state, Missouri, declared a weekend to be “Harvey Phillips Weekend” in 1985.

Phillips changed the way musicians and critics thought of the tuba.

He made people listen, and in return, “ ... all brass players and all music benefited,”
Perantoni said.

Phillips’ tuba solos captured composers’ attention, which caused them to compose specifically for the instrument.

“The tuba is a musical instrument just like anything else,” Perantoni said. “I can put many words to it. That’s the good thing about brass instruments.”

Phillips was founder and president of the Harvey Phillips Foundation, Inc., which sponsors several worldwide music events to bring tuba players together.

One of his favorite events, Perantoni said, was TubaChristmas.

“Nobody loved Christmas more than Harvey,” he said.

Octubafest, for which IU music students are currently preparing, is another annual event initiated by Phillips.

The performance will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Ford-Crawford Hall.
“Life goes on ... as Harvey would do,” Perantoni said.

It was Phillips, Perantoni said, who lassoed him into playing tuba — Perantoni now occupies one of the offices Phillips used before he retired.

Phillips is survived by his wife, Carol, and sons Jesse, Harvey Jr. and Thomas.
Parkinson’s disease began to take its toll on Phillips during the last decade of his life, his wife Carol said.

In 1998, after retiring from IU, Carol said he was trying to play a tune with no vibrato but couldn't do it.

Carol and Harvey would have been together for 57 years this February.

“And I’d do it all over again,” Carol said.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Harvey Phillips (1929 - 2010)

IU's Harvey Phillips, TubaSantas creator, dead at 80

By Mike Leonard
October 20, 2010, last update: 10/20 @ 11:07 pm

Harvey G. Phillips, the greatest ambassador the tuba has ever known, died Wednesday at his home outside of Bloomington.

“He was one of the greatest living players of the instrument and one of the greatest teachers of the instrument as well,” said Charles Webb, dean emeritus of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. “His students went on to occupy major positions in symphony orchestras and bands across the world. Wherever the tuba was played, you’d find students of Harvey’s.”

Webb said Phillips literally revolutionized the instrument, picking up the legacy of his famous teacher, William Bell, and spreading its popularity beyond orchestras and beer gardens.

“Harvey wanted to make the general public aware that the tuba was not just an oom-pah instrument,” Webb said. “He commissioned more solo works for the tuba and other chamber music than any other single person in the history of music.”

Phillips was born Dec. 2, 1929, in Aurora, Mo., the son of farmers Jesse and Lottie Phillips and the youngest of 10 children. He was taught to play sousaphone in high school by his band teacher, a former circus band leader. He attended the University of Missouri, but left school before graduating to join the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, where he played in the circus band for more than two years.

During his circus travels he met Bell, then a member of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Recognizing the young tubist’s talent and enthusiasm, Bell helped Phillips gain a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music. Phillips would graduate from Juilliard and also the Manhattan School of Music.

While in New York during the 1950s, Phillips played with the New York City Opera, the New York City Ballet and the New York Brass Quintet.

At the recommendation of Bell, who had become an IU faculty member, Phillips came to Bloomington and joined the IU faculty in 1971. Two years later, he organized the first TubaChristmas concert at Rockefeller Center in New York City and established the TubaSantas tradition in many cities across the country and the world. He launched Octubafest around the same time at his Tuba Ranch outside of Bloomington, also spreading that tradition to other cities.

Phillips’ performance talent and his desire to promote the virtues of the tuba were unparalleled. The press labeled him the “Paganini of the Tuba” and Bell, his mentor, dubbed him “Mr. Tuba.”

For Phillips, the tuba was a magnificent and under-appreciated instrument. But he made it his life’s work to promote the tuba, he also didn’t separate it from the nobility of its peers. “The one thing I always point out is that every instrument is 95 percent human. Even the great Stradivarius violin can’t make a sound until a human gives it a voice,” he said in a 1997 interview.

The IU distinguished professor emeritus won numerous awards and citations during his illustrious career. Among them, in 2007, he was inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame, becoming the only brass instrument player to receive that honor.

In 2008, IU President Michael A. McRobbie awarded him the President’s Medal for Excellence, one of the highest honors an IU president can bestow.

Obituary and funeral information is pending from Allen Funeral Home in Bloomington.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tuba music in space ...

Visitors to TTU’s Bryan Fine Arts Building lobby can see a display featuring the framed CD and photograph of the disc floating in the cockpit of Atlantis beside TTU alum Barry Wilmore.
slideshow TTU -- The Tennessee Tech Tuba ensemble reached the rarest of high notes in its gloried history when one of its recordings took a ride in space.

The recording, entitled Legacy, traveled into space on the 31st flight of the space shuttle Atlantis, piloted by Tennessee Tech alumnus Captain Barry E. Wilmore. The CD was recorded by R. Winston Morris and the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble 40th Anniversary All-Star Alumni Ensemble in 2007 and produced by Mark Records.

The CD launched with the Atlantis Space Shuttle from Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 16, 2009, and traveled to an altitude of 221 miles, making 171 Earth orbits and covering a total distance of 4,490,138 miles at a maximum speed of 17,500 mph over the following 10 days.

"It is hard to imagine that music produced and recorded by many other universities in the world has ever reached such a truly stellar height," said Arthur LaBar, TTU music and art department chairperson.

Morris quipped that he had more than once accused some of his students of being space cadets and now he has proof.

Legacy was a project produced and directed by Morris and included 23 Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble alumni and music faculty members Joshua Hauser, euphonium, and Eric Willie, percussion.

One of the compositions on the Legacy album that traveled in space was "Pinnacle" by Tennessee Tech music faculty member and composer Greg Danner. The album also included a work by TTU alumnus Aldo Rafael Forte called "Dynamo!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Barry Manilow helps out young musicians ...

October 12th, 2010 Brian Truitt

Barry Manilow may be the guy who writes the songs, but he’s also the guy who’s bringing music to a lot of Las Vegas school kids. Tuba players, trombonists and other young musicians in the Clark County School District received five semi-trucks worth of donated instruments last week via the Manilow Music Project, a program launched in 2008 as part of the legendary singer’s Manilow Health and Hope Fund. The donation was the largest in the area’s history and will benefit 15 middle schools and high schools. “The Las Vegas community has been so kind to me. It is a pleasure to be bringing instruments to these kids. With public school music programs so severely depleted, it’s more important than ever to do what we can to keep the music alive,” Manilow said in a statement. And all those fans who still haven’t seen him in Sin City, go here for more info about his residence at Paris Las Vegas, where the dude who gave us Mandy and many other songs is performing more than 78 shows a year.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Trombone recital @ SUNY Fredonia ...

Faculty Recital: Jeff Dee, bass trombone and the Buffalo Philharmonic Trombones Friday, October 15 @ 8pm, Rosch Recital Hall, Free.
Faculty member Jeff Dee is joined by his Buffalo Philharmonic colleagues, Jonathan Lombardo and Timothy Smith, in a program that features solo works for alto trombone, tenor trombone, bass trombone, euphonium and tuba.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


If you want to hear a menagerie of brilliant trombone/tuba arrangements ... click on the YouTube link ...

I understand this French group is under the direction of Michel Becquet and is made up of music students from the Lyon and Paris areas.

If you're offended by any of the French subtitles...TOUGH LUCK!!!! I don't speak French.
[I have trouble enough with English!]

What do you say we put together a performance of this music?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Football Hall of Famer plays Sousaphone ...

Alan Page (with Sousaphone)

The 2.5-mile oompah
For hydration, there are water stops. For spirit, there's Justice Alan Page's annual sousaphone jam on a Minneapolis corner.
By RACHEL BLOUNT, Star Tribune
Last update: October 3, 2010 - 11:01 PM
David Joles, Star Tribune

The corner of Knox and Douglas avenues has a reputation as one of the liveliest spots along the Twin Cities Marathon route. Neighbors in that slice of Minneapolis, near Kenwood Park, have held race-day parties to cheer the runners since the marathon began 28 years ago.
When Alan Page and his wife, Diane, were invited to one of those gatherings, they were asked to bring noisemakers. Page has never been an ordinary man, and the state Supreme Court justice and Pro Football Hall of Famer hit on something extraordinary that day. He brought a tuba. Sunday, Page stood on the corner for the 10th or 12th or 13th year -- nobody really knows for sure -- and oompahed for a river of runners in his yearly performance at the 2.5-mile mark.
The tuba doesn't exactly lend itself to virtuoso expression. And Page, now 65, never played much after his two years in junior-high band. Like most of the citizen runners grinding their way through the marathon, he makes up for his lack of proficiency with an abundance of enthusiasm, which continues to surprise and delight the thousands of people who hear him for a few seconds every year.
"It became a tradition after the first time we did it,'' said Page, who greeted a steady stream of fans during his hour on the horn. "When I ran around the lakes, people training for the marathon would ask whether I'd be there again.
"About 20 years ago, I started thinking about taking [music] up again. I didn't take it up the way I thought I would, but it's fun to be out here.''
Page's instrument is actually a sousaphone, the wraparound, marching-band version of the tuba. He put it away after junior high as he became a defensive tackle for the Vikings and Bears, an attorney, a judge, a father and a grandfather.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Almost Tuba / Almost Trombone ...

Ed's rapt, even if Giuseppe wasn't Verdi impressed
Local News1 Oct 10 @ 11:07am by Kat Adamski
Playing from Batavia, NY to Australia
ED DIEFES is not offended that his favourite instrument, the tuba, was not popular with Verdi.

It is because of Giuseppe Verdi, one of the most influential composers of the 19th century, that Diefes is playing the cimbasso, a cross between a tuba and a trombone.

“Verdi did not like the sound of the tuba so he started writing the cimbasso into the score,” Diefes, of Chatswood, said.

“It has more of a trombone sound and plays very differently to the tuba, so it’s a big learning curve.”

As the newly-appointed principal tubist of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Diefes will play the cimbasso in Opera Australia’s Der Rosenkavalier from today until October 30.

He moved from upstate New York with his family to take up the role and is excited about the challenges ahead.

“My father repaired instruments so I got to see everything, growing up,” Diefes, 41, said. “I thought the tuba was the best, biggest and shiniest, but I wasn’t big enough to hold it so I started with the baritone, which is a mini tuba.”

A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Diefes also attended New York’s Juilliard School and was principal tubist with Syracuse Symphony Orchestra before moving to Australia.

The cimbasso is played like a trombone but has valves and fingering like a tuba.

“It’s expanding my horizons and now I have to get a trombone sound in my head,” Diefes said. “It’s fun to learn the ins and outs of a new instrument, and you could peel paint with this thing if you wanted to.

“It is also a great opportunity to live in another country and for my kids to get a taste of the North Shore.”

With conductor Andrew Litton, performances of Der Rosenkavalier will be held on October 1, 5, 8, 13, 19, 22, 26 and 30 at 7pm. Tickets $65-$297. Bookings: 9318 8200 or at

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Budbrass blog ...

I will attempt to post articles, videos and information about tubas, trombones, and euphoniums, which I find interesting.