Tomorrow I will put a copy of the book in the hands of my Dean at Wheaton College, Michael Wilder, with thanks for his ongoing support of my many artistic exploits, and another in the hand of the acquisitions librarian at Buswell Library on the Wheaton College campus. It is my hope and prayer that this book will prove helpful to many trombone, tuba, and euphonium players, and others who enjoy hearing them and want to learn more about them.
In 1968, Columbia Records released The Virtuoso Brass of Three Great Orchestras Performing the Antiphonal Music of Gabrieli (Columbia Masterworks MS7209). The disc contained 13 tracks of arrangements by Robert King of music of Giovanni Gabrieli. Members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, and Chicago Symphony took part in the recording, and there was my hero, Henry Charles Smith, playing on seven of the tracks. When I obtained that recording in 1971, my eyes (and ears) were opened. Little did I know that in a few years, I would be a student at Wheaton College (I graduated from Wheaton in 1976), hearing the Chicago Symphony every week, and studying trombone with its bass trombonist, Edward Kleinhammer.
In a sense, this new book is the culmination of a lifetime of interest in and exploration of low brass instruments. The publisher, Rowman & Littlefield, contacted me in 2016 and asked if I would be interested in writing a book on low brass instruments for their series of Dictionaries for the Modern Musician. At that time, there were dictionaries for conductors, clarinet, trumpet, and strings, and since then, the series has grown to include dictionaries for singers, piano, percussion, and flute. One for trombone, tuba, and euphonium was needed, and I was pleased to set about working to add a new volume to the series.
For instance, when I asked Lennie to make an illustration of the stays (or braces) on a Renaissance-era trombone, he could have made a great illustration of the handiwork of one of the great Nuremberg masters of the sixteenth century. But instead, Lennie made an illustration with his own creative twist that shows how HE would have made stays on a Renaissance-era trombone:
Lennie also based illustrations on photographs I took of instruments in my own and other collections, and his attention to detail allows the reader to follow the intricacies of instrument tubing and other details, such as his illustration of a six-valve trombone with seven independent tubes:
I joined the Baltimore Symphony in May 1981, after five years of freelancing in New York City (I played with big bands, Broadway shows, some studio jingles and recording sessions, and some concerts with the Mostly Mozart Festival and the American Symphony, but I paid the rent for the first three years not with my musical earnings, but with the money I earned from my full time secretarial job) and two concurrent years as a high school band director. I took five auditions in a 12 month period in 1980-1981: Baltimore (won by John Engelkes), Detroit (won by Tom Klaber), Philadelphia (won by Charles Vernon), San Francisco (won by John Engelkes), and Baltimore again where I was the winner. There I was reunited with my Wheaton College trombone classmate, Eric Carlson, who had joined the Baltimore Symphony as second trombonist the year before after several years as a member of the North Carolina Symphony (Eric left Baltimore in 1986 to join the Philadelphia Orchestra; he just retired from that great orchestra earlier this year), and I was thrilled to have a full time job playing in a symphony orchestra. We had many fine conductors on our podium but Baltimore did not attract the top echelon of conductors who were on the circuit. They were busy guest conducting the great orchestras of Europe, and American orchestras like Boston, Cleveland, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. 2b1af7f3a8