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by thetubamonster

Last time I wrote, I was sitting in my Washington D.C. hostel after arriving there for the US Army Band Tuba Euphonium Workshop. I had a performance at that conference on Friday, January 27, as a part of the Falcone Festival Winners Recital. I performed on the second half, after euphonium winner Toby Furr of the University of North Texas. Toby and I got to hang out quite a bit at the Falcone Festival this past August, so it was great to get to see him again.

I performed three different sonatas–a coincidence that actually worked out rather well. I didn’t intend to program three pieces with the same name. My intent was, instead, to showcase the tuba, what it is capable of, and how composers write for the instrument. The first piece was Sonata in d minor by Godfrey Finger. It was originally written in the baroque period for recorder and harpsichord. A really nice video of this performance can be found on youtube here. The second piece I performed was Sonata by Andrzej Krzanowski-a Polish composer. It is written in a minimalist style and features two contrasting musical ideas. One is rhythmic and repetitive while the other is more melodic and rhythmically stagnant. The melodic theme either occurs in the extreme low register or the stratosphere, so that makes it rather challenging. The piece clocks in at around 14 minutes, so the sheer physicality and endurance that is required makes it a daunting task. It is so much fun to play and, I think, fun to listen to. The last piece was the super accessible Sonata for Tuba and Piano by John Cheetham, written in 2000. It is a fantastic piece of music that is relatively easy to play and exceptionally easy to listen to. It reminds me of movie music. You can find a video of my performances of the Cheetham Sonata on my YouTube channel here.

After the conference, I returned to Baton Rouge and immediately began preparing for the oral defense of my DMA general exams. After a pretty intense two hour grilling session by my DMA committee (which is made up of Dr. Joe Skillen, Dr. Stephen David Beck, Dr. Brian Shaw, Prof. Seth Orgel, and Dr. Jon Cogburn) they informed me that I passed my defense! This means I am officially ABD and can now fully focus on writing my dissertation. As for the dissertation, I have begun contacting tuba professionals that I am hoping to interview to get some information for my document. If all goes well, I will be travelling to Cookeville, Tennessee next week to spend some time with R. Winston Morris. That will be fun!

This Friday, we have the LSU Concert Spectacular. I am performing in only a few ensembles this year–the LSU Tuba Euphonium Ensemble and the LSU Jazz Band. We are performing All That Jazz… Whoo hoo!! Later this semester, I will be performing IN C by Terry Riley–that will be on March 30 at 7:30PM in the LSU Recital Hall. Also in the works is an interdisciplinary performance including John Cage’s EIGHT. There will be music, dance, drawing, painting, sculpture, and any other art forms I can gather. Then, later in April, I will be performing a tuba recital featuring experimental and electronic music.

Busy busy busy is the name of the game, as it is for everyone I suppose. You guys be safe out there. We’ve had a number of fatalities in the Baton Rouge cycling community in the last month or so. Don’t hit cyclists and be good to your fellow human and keep in mind that no matter how idiotic they might be acting, they are still someone’s mother or daughter or cousin or friend. In other words, they are people just like you are. Be cool. Sorry…had to get that out.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll post more when some stuff happens!

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