POKORNY, PERANTONI & MEIXNER! The “Fourth Valve” in 2016 Smashes Through Year Number Three!!

Nothing is less impressive than quantity! If you are looking for quality, here are three of the best! Perhaps the graduation speeches were just a bit too generic for you favorite tuba/euph. player. These interviews just may be the answer; inspiring, challenging, and full of hard-won-wisdom. Celebrate 2016 with three of the best. Tubist Eugene Pokorny has enjoyed success at every station in his storied career. He has flourished in some of the most demanding brass playing communities and is a Titan of the tuba world and a first class musician. As a soloist, with brass ensembles large and small, and with some of the finest orchestras in the world, Pokorny has plied his craft with humor, warmth and greatness. Dan Perantoni has a habit of being involved with first-rate musical organizations, and one suspects that he just might have something to do with their successes. It may have begun when Perantoni started studying tuba with the legendary Paganini of the Tuba-Harvey Phillips; with this inspiration, Perantoni has emerged as one of the most important tuba teachers of our time. After finishing a doctorate at the University of North Texas as a teaching assistant for Brian Bowman, Meixner landed as euphonium player, soloist and assistant conductor of the River City Brass Band, recorded a solo CD, a duo CD, launched and recorded with The River Bottom Quartet.



1. Charles Vernon, has stated that it might surprise people to know that Jacobs, Kleinhammer, Crisafulli and Friedman were, “four different styles of playing, all going for a similar result.” Now with yourself, Vernon, Mulcahy and Friedman, the resultant blend seems to have all the characteristics of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with different players. How did you achieve the blend which is so present (and yet can be so supportive of other timbres), with almost a whole new team? How do your sound and Mr. Vernon’s sound in particular achieve such a beautiful blend that is reminiscent of Jacobs/Kleinhammer?
There is a willingness of the sections’ players (some more than others) to subjugate their own personal playing style to one which is more in keeping with the majority opinion. However, there is occasionally some discussion as to where the final sound result will be.


We are all different players with different abilities to adjust to others as well.

I found in my own listening that Jacobs was very lucky to have a musician as competent as Kleinhammer as a sidekick because Kleinhammer would complement his own sound to Jacobs’ playing style, rhythmic proclivities and interpretive rigidity. But that is another subject. For me, the teamwork aspect of playing in a section is the highest goal.

When I play with Charlie [Vernon], I try to find a sound that complements his array of colors. He is more enamored of the lower harmonics in the sonic spectrum of his sound. So, I will try to emphasize the higher side of the harmonic spectrum when I play with him.

Charlie is quite sensitive to the quality of sound when he listens to me trying out different instruments. I find his input very helpful. When we are working on balancing the section, I need to tell him when I (and perhaps others) simply cannot keep up with the output wattage of a bass trombone. The range of all our volumes has to vary from being barely audible all the way to “hell bent for leather” as my hero Jeff Reynolds used to say. We have to have the capability and, more importantly, the willingness to do it all. I have no answers as to the “how” the of the blend that occurs between Charlie and myself.

2. When you take a breath, on most occasions, do you release it immediately in rhythm, or hold it-no matter how slightly? Why or why not?

On most occasions the breath always moves in rhythm both in and out with no delay. If the first note I am to play is in the mid to high register (as in the solo in “Petrouchka”), I may delay to make sure that I am “up to pressure” before releasing the air.

To read the rest of the interview with the Eugene Pokorny, the leading orchestral tubist of our time, click here Eugene Pokorny


1. Who are your inspirations?

Harvey Phillips, Arnold Jacobs,
Bill Evans, Frank Sinatra.

& non-musical?
Fred Marrach, Gerhard Meinl, Perter Hirsbruner Sr.

2. What does it take to have a really happening studio beyond being a great teacher and performer?
Effective recruiting, Communication

3. How do you approach solo tuba differently with regard to classical music and jazz. How do you attract or find audiences most effectively?
Same approach for all- listening and singing.
Building an audience –Years of marketing – name recognition- good products- commissioning good new works- word of mouth.

4. Who are the most interesting young orchestral tubists out there today?
Jeff Anderson, San Francisco; Steve Campbell,
Minnesota—my all time favorite orchestra Pro—Gene Pokorney, Chicago Symphony

To soak up the rest of the Perantoni interview and its no-holds-barred wisdom, click hereDan Perantoni

Praxis Duo www.davidbrubeck.com

Praxis Duo

What attracted you to percussion in chamber music, and what have you found?

I was initially exposed to this by the Brian Bowman/Gordon Stout recording of Samuel Adler’s “Four Dialogues”PRAXIS+cover for euphonium and marimba. I suppose I was attracted to the sound of the two instruments playing together and liked the idea of doing something different than solo pieces with piano. Several years later I joined a consortium to commission David Cutler for a euphonium piece with cahon and maracas. During that same time I was working with a couple of other composers on pieces for euphonium with percussion ensemble. Partly due their great writing, but likely equally due to the interesting combination of instruments/sounds, I was turned on to euphonium/percussion music from that point forward.

Simply put, the more variety of percussion instruments that are used, the more sounds that are capable, the more interesting for the listener and performer alike. With percussion, the number of timbres, sounds, etc. possible is literally limitless. This allows me to be more creative with the sounds/colors I can produce on my instrument and the musical interest for all involved. In the case of our Euphonium + Percussion duo and our album ‘Praxis’, it doesn’t hurt to have the opportunity to work with the mega-talent virtuoso percussionist and composer Nathan Daughtrey!

8. What are your favorite chamber music works that include euphonium? Are there any other directions you would like to see explored?My opinions here are heavily influenced by my personal experience with certain pieces, having performed them with good friends and colleagues. The works with percussion I recorded with Nathan Daughtrey are among my favorites, as well as Gillingham’s “Diversive Elements”, which I have performed a number of times with different friends and colleagues. The compositions and arrangements for euphonium quartet (and three euphoniums + 1 tuba) on our River Bottom Quartet album “In Too Deep” were a lot of fun. I also very much enjoy the music of Fernando Deddos, including the title track of the ‘Praxis’ album and his “Invasions and Myths” for euphonium, trumpet and piano that I recorded with Jennifer Dearden and Kevin Dill in 2015.

As far as directions for further exploration, I am thrilled to see the creative new works emerging for euphonium in a chamber setting. Lots of great stuff! It would be interesting to see more pieces for euphonium with strings, which seems to be somewhat of an untapped genre. The “Concerto No. 3 – Diran” by Alan Hovhaness is quite nice.

To read the complete interview from Euphonium soloist and entrepreneur Meixner, click hereBrian Meixner

Interested in more year end summaries of TUBA/EUPH. Interviews? Look No Further! Three Hot Links Below…

The Beastly Tubas of 2015! “The Fourth Valve” tm Recounts the Year’s Best Interviews, Read on…

2015, The Year of The Euphonium! Continue to article…

How Sweet The Sounds! The Tubas of 2014 on “The Fourth Valve” Read on…

Interested in more “Fourth Valve” euphonium interviews? Check out these:

Demondrae Thurman 2015Jamie Lipton 2015Lance LaDuke 2015Matthew Murchison 2015Koichiro Suzuki 2015.Marc Dickman 2015Lauren Curran 2015Mitsusu Saito 2015Adam Frey 2015Martin Cochran 2015

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