“The Fourth Valve” tm

The Fourth Valve tm is an up-close, shoot-from-the-hip interview series dedicated to musicans who play the tuba or euphonium. We at davidbrubeck.com are delighted to share the musical, professional and personal insights of some of the world’s great musicians and masters of low brass. Enjoy!

Craig Knox, Tuba www.davidbrubeck.com

Craig Knox, Tuba

Craig Knox of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Center City Brass Quintet and The Curtis Institute WOWS “The Fourth Valve” tm.
3. How do you conceive of articulation and explain it to your students? Do you adapt articulation from orchestral to chamber to solo situations?
I think of sound first, and articulation second. That is to say that I think a lot of beginning players rely too much on the tongue to start the note, sometimes resulting in a compressed burr of sound at the front of the note, followed by an unsupported tone.  I also point out that a listener hearing a brass instrument has no expectation of hearing a “T” sound at the beginning of a note, any more than they would expect to hear that from a violin or timpani. What the listener wants to hear is a clarity and immediacy of tone at the beginning of the note.
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th-3Oystein Baadsvik, the great international tuba soloist, drops by “The Fourth Valve” tm and blows our minds!
8. Although nurtured by and (an integral part of) the brass/wind community, your opportunities have taken you into broader circles of musicians, and even beyond the circle of musicians to artists and cultural figures. What have you discovered as a man of artistic temperament in your travels and encounters?
Rimsky Korsakov describes the different orchestral instruments in his book about orchestration.
He describes the brass as being great for signals and dramatic highlights. When he wants richness of colors and beautiful melodies he turns to the strings, sometimes the woodwinds.

These definitions are very common amongst 90% of the composers that are played by modern orchestras.
Modern brass teaching is mostly about making the student ready for an orchestra gig and less about creating soloists. Therefore, it would be strange if the teacher did not focus on this demand for “signals and dramatic highlights” in the orchestra, and less on exploring colors and melodic playing. Read more…

Bright, energetic, poised, creative and virtuosic, Sergeant Lauren Curran is the Social Media Manager for the US Army Field Band. The Field Band’s tweet defending the honor of marching band members worldwide went viral just as as national sports entertainment shock-jock Jim Rome had conceded an apology over his inappropriate remarks. Noted now for both her courage and her poise as well as her virtuosity on the euphonium, Sgt. Curran visits “The Fourth Valve” tm and we salute her!


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If you are holding a euphonium and a woman grabs you in a passionate embrace, it just might be the tango. If your name is Koichiro Suzuzki, then it most definitely is! Nurtured by the River City Brass Band, Suzuki has created a niche for euphonium that bears repeating. The “Fourth Valve” tm is delighted to host euphonium tango master Suzuki, & we bet we know what you young euphonium players will be doing this summer!

unnamed-11. When did you fall in love with the Tango?

I’ve been in love with Argentine tango since 2004. The first time I experienced tango was in a class provided by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee-(where I went for my under­grad­uate study in music). From that day, I knew that it was something I’d love to do for the rest of my life.
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UnknownDon Harry Enlivens “The Fourth Valve”tm
An illustrious teacher in his own right, Harry seems to embody the Bill Bell-Harvey Phillips line of tuba excellence in his current duties as Eastman faculty, member of the Eastman Faculty Brass, tubist with the Buffalo Philharmonic and as a soloist.  The Fourth Valve tm is overjoyed to enjoy the enlivened discussion with such a distinguished guest.

1. How do you conceive of, describe or imagine the ideal tuba sound?
There is no one tuba sound except in the practice zone; the literature determines the color. Sometimes Read more…

john_stevensjpegJohn Stevens Tackles The Fourth Valve tm
A bracelet inscribed with the motto “Been there, done that!” is said to be among the possessions most prized by the then recently retired opera star Beverly Sills. When asked if she might not miss some of the excitement of her former career, she was reminded of her accomplishment by the response inscribed on the bracelet.

While comparing a soprano to a tubist may seem a sonic stretch to some, few things could be more apt than the motto of Sills’  bracelet in describing the recent retirement of tubist, composer and educator John Stevens.

From a solo feature in Broadway’s Barnum to performances with the top Brass Quintets and more-tubist John Stevens has been there.  As a celebrated professor at distinguished universities, and a composer of a rich body of work which includes a concerto for tuba commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra-John Stevens has “done that”! “The Fourth Valve” tm is privileged to present the amazing John Stevens as the first respondent of our second set of four interviews on davidbrubeck.com Read more…

220px-The_Legend_of_Zorro_posterJim Self Solos on “The Fourth Valve” tm No. 4, Tuba Euphonium Interview Series,
You would be hard pressed to find many musicians on ANY instrument as versatile and talented as tubist Jim Self. From top Hollywood studio dates, to playing principal tuba in The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, playing the John Williams Tuba Concerto under the composer’s baton to being nominated by DOWNBEAT, Jim Self is remarkable and unique. His endeavors stretch to more than a dozen solo recordings and numerous compositions as well. What would you expect from the protege of Harvey Phillips and Tommy Johnson? Read more…

Matthew Murchison is a mutineer against bland and expected programming, and proud of it! An Alchemist of timbres, Murchison has successfully stayed “out-of-the-box” for much of his career, and can show you the way out! “The Fourth Valve” tm is intrigued to host Matt Murchison, but please, don’t try this at home!


4. “Music without borders, entertainment without pandering,”
Do you find that audience appetite for live & interesting music is on the rise or decline?

I think the appetite for interesting music is on the rise for sure. It’s so easy to fall down the YouTube or Spotify rabbit hole of weird, interesting music. When it comes to hearing that stuff live though, I’m not really sure. It seems that some people would certainly rather have the music for free at their house than in exchange for money in public. Of course I think that a live performance can be so much better, but if you’re making YouTube videos that rely heavily on edits and smoke, will it be as effective live? I don’t know.

I know personally that there are only a handful of groups that I would WANT to pay money to see live. There are other events that I WOULD and do pay money for because it is important to support live music. Also, I want the good karma for when I’m playing somewhere with a cover or ticket charge.
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Los Angeles Tuba Freelancer, Educator, and Kanstul Artist Beth Mitchell Beth Mitchell is an active Los Angeles freelancer, having worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Orange County Philharmonic Societies, the Los Angeles Zipper Orchestra, and many other arts groups giving concerts, masterclasses and numerous solo and chamber recitals around southern California.”The Fourth Valve” tm No. 3
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Hollywood Recording Legend, Tubist John Van Houten
“The Fourth Valve” tm No. 2

Ranked among the first call tubists in the top recording city of Los Angeles, John Van Houten is no stranger to playing on a variety of instruments and in a number of different styles. Best known as a tubist, contractor & orchestra manager, and teacher, Van Houten has performed on several major television shows and popular movie soundtracks including “Family Guy”, “The Simpsons”, Hulk, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Trek, the award winning UP, and Ratatouille. He has taught at prestigious institutions throughout Southern California, and has performed with some of the finest musicians in the world. davidbrubeck.com is delighted to catch up with John Van Houten for the second installment of “The Fourth Valve”, tm.
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ASU Professor of Tuba and
imagesFormer Solo Tuba of The Dallas Brass,
“The Fourth Valve” tm No. 1, Deanna Swobodafirst came to national prominence as tubist with the Dallas Brass. Her rock solid time and sensitive phrasing seemed effortless as she anchored the world-famous brass. Swoboda subsequently served on the music faculty of Western Michigan University and has recently accepted a faculty position at Arizona State University.

And what od WDW Future Corps member Mike Roylance, who has become the tubist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra?  Enjoy….

Read more…Mike Roylance

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