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Author Topic: The Best Schools for Orchestral Trombonists  (Read 50094 times)
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shouck
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« on: Feb 09, 2008, 09:23PM »

I don't know whether this sort of thing exists or not, but I started thinking about what the best schools for orchestrally-oriented trombonists would be.  "If I want to get a job, where should I study?"  In an hour or two, I created this - http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p_b-ZtcpsnGpQQRqwRxwtDg - a completely unscientific spreadsheet created by combing the Internet.  I went around to the websites of the well-respected orchestras I could think of off the top of my head, looked at the trombonists' biographies, and compiled as much as I could find about where they went to school and who they studied with.  Obviously, this list is subjective and incomplete, but I thought it was interesting.

It's undergrad and grad combined, since many people didn't specify in their biographies.

Who/what orchestras have I forgotten, and does this look like it might be useful?  Does this kind of thing exist somewhere else?

EDIT: A shorter link - http://tinyurl.com/2h45bk
« Last Edit: Feb 11, 2008, 12:46PM by shouck » Logged
Thomas Matta

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« Reply #1 on: Feb 09, 2008, 10:11PM »

At the very least, it is an interesting spreadsheet project.

What impresses me isn't the Julliards and Eastmans, but the smaller public/state schools, etc. A lot of great players spent time at some of those lesser-known institutions, at least for their undergrad experience...
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daniel brady

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« Reply #2 on: Feb 10, 2008, 12:20PM »

John Kitzman, principal trombone of Dallas Symphony went to Michigan
Lee Rogers principal on Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra went to SMU and so did Darren McHenry, bass trombone in Dallas Symphony
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shouck
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 10, 2008, 12:46PM »

Thanks for the information - it should be updated now.
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bontrone23

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« Reply #4 on: Feb 10, 2008, 01:38PM »

 Eric Carlson second trombonist of Philadelphia  also studied at Wheaton ( I see you have Doug Yeo down ).
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Tamara
shouck
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 10, 2008, 01:45PM »

Thanks, Tamara.

I don't know how easy it is to see, but there's a second page that lists what I could find about who studied with who.  I find it interesting that Arnold Jacobs beats out almost all the trombone players on the list!
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jmoore88
« Reply #6 on: Feb 10, 2008, 04:03PM »

Another thing you might check out is the ITA competition results, specifically the Haney competition since it's mainly excerpts. These students might not have jobs right now, but they're obviously doing well enough to be respected by some big name players and could be getting a job in the future.

For example, the judges this year were:
Mark Fisher—second trombonist, Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra
Ralph Sauer—principal trombonist (retired), Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
Steve Witser—principal trombonist, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
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RGbasstrb
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 10, 2008, 09:01PM »

Jeff Dee, bass trombone in Jacksonville, Phil Graham, 2nd trombone in Dallas, Jamie Box, principal trombone in Montreal, Dan Brady, bass trombone in the "President's Own", Curt Star, trombone at West Point, and Jim Cumiskey, 2nd trombone of Charleston, are a few more SMU alums I can think of.

I know that Larry Zalkind, principal trombone of the Utah Symphony went to Michigan. Ilan Morgenstern, new bass trombonist of San Antonio and runner-up to about everything else in the past year, is finishing up at Michigan.
 
All schools have a long bragging list, which is why it just goes to show that you can improve anywhere you go. You just need to take your work ethic, work hard, have great instruction, work hard, and work hard.

I think that one reason that the "better schools" have so many people that land jobs is since they are considered "better schools," they draw the students that have the most talent AND an incredible work ethic. And since they are all at the school together, it creates a great environment where everyone is pushing each other and holding each others playing accountable. I can imagine it is harder to keep an intense focus if you aren't in an environment where you are constantly being technically and musically challenged.
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 10, 2008, 11:12PM »

The larger music schools have depth in their program. You will find that not only is the trombone professor good, but so are the violin, percussion, etc... professors. This allows for outstanding ensembles to play in. I think as an undergraduate, great ensembles are not as important; most students are still working on getting a good sense of mechanics. As a graduate student, how you interpret begins to become more important. A large portion of this learning goes on in ensemble playing.
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shouck
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 11, 2008, 11:35AM »

Thanks!

RGbasstrb, I looked up Larry Zalkind's biography on his website to see who his teachers were, and it says he attended USC for his undergrad and grad work - did he attend Michigan some other time (it wasn't mentioned in his bio)?

If you search Google for "orchestral trombonists," this is the first result!
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« Reply #10 on: Feb 11, 2008, 12:13PM »

My bad, USC is correct for Zalkind...

Juilliard - Amanda Stewart (San Antonio), Charles Reneau (Oregon), the entire Buffalo Philharmonic trombone section, Ko-ichiro Yamamoto (Seattle), Jeff Gray (Syracuse/Grant Park)

SMU - Ronnie Wilson and Dennis Bubert (Fort Worth)

UNT - Jeremy Wilson (Vienna)

Rutgers - George Curran (Atlanta)

Yale - Don Harwood (NYP)

Central Michigan - Randy Hawes
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« Reply #11 on: Feb 11, 2008, 03:17PM »

Jeremy Wilson went to Tennessee before he came to UNT.
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« Reply #12 on: Feb 11, 2008, 04:00PM »

clarification on Mr. Zalkind--he was a student at U-M during the 1980-81 academic year.  During that year he auditioned for Philadelphia (finalist) and Utah SO (principal since then)

add Roger Oyster (KC Phil) from Michigan...
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Daniel De Kok
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« Reply #13 on: Feb 11, 2008, 05:33PM »

I'm noticing Yale mentioned with regard to several retirement-age top level players.  Did these gentlemen study with Mr. Swallow, or if not who was the trombone professor at Yale prior (I do not know when Mr. Swallow joined the faculty there)?

On that note, one can add Hall Goff of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, another Yale grad, and also Scott Cranston of the New Haven Symphony.  (I'm not sure what sort of a cutoff you've intended as to the "prestige" factor here.)
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« Reply #14 on: Feb 11, 2008, 06:14PM »

That is a wonderful compilation. I think it does indicate the strengths of some school.

But, look down the list of how many schools had "1" orchestral somebody and who those somebodies are. Tells its own story.

I think that some of the credit belongs to the college, but I think most of the credit goes to experience. When I was in college, players were out getting the work, by the time I finished grad schools, those players had years of experience in professional orchestras and were moving up the ladder.

To be sure, especially now, there are fantastic prepatory programs in colleges around the country.

But, I think at the end of the day, it is not where you go to school--it is how good you really are, who you have studied privately with, and how many people are going to go to bat for you (personal and phone call recommendations, bringing you to their work as a sub or extra, conductors who have heard your playing, etc.)

School is valuable, it is not a substitute for experience. Especially in performance related activities of any artistic endeavor.

I know some people who got work because of where they went to school, I know a lot more people who got work because of who they are, what they've done, and who they know.
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« Reply #15 on: Feb 11, 2008, 06:38PM »

Some more Indiana Hoosiers that I can think of off of my head;

Stephen Fissel (bass, Seattle)
Fabio Sampo (Italy)
Peter Ellefson (ex-Seattle, was in Doctoral program when he got the job)
Weston Sprott (2nd, MET, transferred to Curtis)
JoDee Davis (2nd, Santa Fe Opera)
Lloyd Takamoto (Osaka Phil. (Japan))
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shouck
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« Reply #16 on: Feb 11, 2008, 08:24PM »

Thanks for all the responses - I think I added everyone.

The "prestige" cutoff I had in mind was orchestras that paid like a decent full-time job.  40-50 week seasons, that kind of thing. The kind of job that some people would be happy settling down with, an orchestra that could pay someone enough to live on (if those exist).  I'm not sure exactly which orchestras that would be - outside of the big names, I haven't been exposed to the orchestral world long enough to pick up on exactly what's what.
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« Reply #17 on: Feb 12, 2008, 11:45AM »

That is a wonderful compilation. I think it does indicate the strengths of some school.

But, look down the list of how many schools had "1" orchestral somebody and who those somebodies are. Tells its own story.

I think that some of the credit belongs to the college, but I think most of the credit goes to experience. When I was in college, players were out getting the work, by the time I finished grad schools, those players had years of experience in professional orchestras and were moving up the ladder.

To be sure, especially now, there are fantastic prepatory programs in colleges around the country.

But, I think at the end of the day, it is not where you go to school--it is how good you really are, who you have studied privately with, and how many people are going to go to bat for you (personal and phone call recommendations, bringing you to their work as a sub or extra, conductors who have heard your playing, etc.)

School is valuable, it is not a substitute for experience. Especially in performance related activities of any artistic endeavor.

I know some people who got work because of where they went to school, I know a lot more people who got work because of who they are, what they've done, and who they know.
being a big fish in a small pond does have its advantages...plus if you say "yes" to enough gigs, SOMEONE will notice...
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Daniel De Kok
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« Reply #18 on: Feb 14, 2008, 12:12PM »

I think it would be interesting if you could also include the time period during which these 'pros' attended their respective universities/conservatories.

P.S. - You have Pete Ellefson listed twice in Joseph Alessi's "By Teacher" group.
« Last Edit: Feb 18, 2008, 03:13PM by TheFreak90 » Logged

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shouck
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« Reply #19 on: Feb 18, 2008, 05:11PM »

Thanks for the correction!

When I have a little bit of time, I think I'm going to standardize this a bit and look at the biographies for members of ICSOM orchestras - http://www.icsom.org/orchestras.html.  Would that pretty much cover the full-time gigs?
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