Friday, February 17, 2012

Essential Recordings: Orchestral Excerpts for Tuba - Gene Pokorny

I want to start this series of articles with one of my favorite recordings; Orchestral Excerpts for Tuba by Gene Pokorny of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 

This recording is fantastic. Not only does Gene Pokorny play orchestral excerpts that are commonly played in auditions he also explains important details that will help the player better understand the excerpt like why the excerpt may have been chosen and what particular skill the excerpt is designed to highlight. 

Gene Pokorny does a phenomenal job performing the excerpts. It is important as wind players to have a good concept of sound and having recordings like this one help players in that sense. The quality of this recording is excellent. The recording captures the finer dynamic changes and subtle nuances in Gene Pokorny's performances. 

My favorite piece of advice Gene Pokorny gives regards Bydlo from Pictures at an Exhibition. 

"Bydlo: In spite of the fact that playing Bydlo justifies a whopping 2% at most, of the total job description of an orchestral Tubist, be ready for an ill informed conductor or audition committee to put too much weight on this excerpt in the overall evaluation of the player. Be ready to have it played very slow, or very fast as is demonstrated on this recording and try to find an instrument that has some good in tune slots for the highest notes in the excerpt. Incorporate alot of contrasts with the dynamics. After you win the job, get your ego out of the way and decide who can make more music out of the piece; one of your tacit Trombone colleagues or yourself." 

This recording is an essential educational tool and a great example of a phenomenal Tuba sound. It is a must for all players. 


Monday, February 13, 2012

Help your fellow Tuba players: University of Texas Pan American Tuba Ensemble

 above: The University of Texas Pan-American Tuba Studio circa 2009 or 2010

Dr. Scott Roeder and the University of Texas Pan-American Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble are heading to Linz, Austria for to play in this years ITEA conference. Unfortunately, this isn't cheap and college students aren't exactly hemorrhaging excess cash, so please help support them in any way you can. If you have a few extra bucks skip coffee for a few days and help some young Tuba students fly around the world and get an experience that will benefit them greatly. 

To make a donation, please contact Dr. Scott Roeder at:
or call him at 956-665-7134

Below is the flier announcing their performance, with a list of all the players...
UTPA Tuba Euphonium Ensemble Performance
International Tuba Euphonium Conference 2012 in Linz, Austria

The University of Texas-Pan American Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Scott Roeder, has been invited to present performances at the 2012 International Tuba Euphonium Conference in Linz, Austria. The ensemble is only one of seven collegiate tuba-euphonium ensembles across the United States to be invited to perform. This invitation shows that the hard work, dedication, and performance excellence of the tuba and euphonium students at UTPA is being recognized and valued among tuba and euphonium musicians around the world. In a larger sense it is an affirmation of the talent of young musicians in the Rio Grande Valley and the quality of music education in south Texas.

The International Tuba Euphonium Conference (ITEC) is an event held every two years and is a show case for the world’s best tuba/euphonium musicians. Teachers, students, and performers from around the world attend ITEC to hear concerts, lectures, and masterclasses from leading soloists and pedagogues. These conferences are also venues to hear up and coming musicians through international competitions and collegiate performances like the UTPA Tuba Euphonium Ensemble has been invited to present.

Attending an ITEC, especially one held in Europe, is an experience like no other for a music student studying tuba or euphonium. This conference will provide the young musicians of UTPA access to performers and teachers that can only be obtained at an ITEC. They will hear performances that will inspire them to new heights and learn new performance ideas and techniques that will give them the knowledge to get there. The connections that can be made at a conference such as this, have the potential to open doors that would never be possible otherwise. Furthermore, students will be able to hear many great European soloists that rarely make it over to the United States to perform. The guest artists for this conference are nothing short of spectacular. In addition to the great benefits of just attending, students at UTPA will have the unique experience of performing at the conference. Very few collegiate musicians ever get the opportunity to perform at an ITEC.
The students of the UTPA Tuba Euphonium Ensemble are a diverse group of individuals from many different areas of the Rio Grande Valley. Most students in the group are studying music at UTPA. However university students with outside majors also perform with the group. The current members of the ensemble include:

Alexis Alba (Donna HS)
Jossafat Corona (Juarez Lincoln HS)
Loida Guerrero (Roma HS)
Amy Guzman (Palmview HS)
Osvaldo Lopez (La Joya HS)
Abel Ocanas (Economedes HS)
Victor Rodriguez (Economedes HS)
Jesus Ruiz (Nikki Rowe HS)
George Sanchez (Nikki Rowe HS)

This group represents cities and school districts from the entire Rio Grande Valley region and the students came from some of the best high school band programs in south Texas.

While this performance opportunity and trip is a once in a lifetime experience for the students involved, it is also an extremely expensive endeavor that most of the students would find hard to provide all the resources necessary to attend. Therefore the ITEA Chapter at UTPA, it actively seeking out sponsors to help raise the needed funds to allow all ensemble members to participate in this experience. If anyone is interested in helping sponsor the trip, please contact Dr. Scott Roeder (, 956-665-7134) or Abel Ocanas (, 956-624-0601)

Tone Deaf Comics: A Tuba Player's Brain

above: A Tuba Player's Brain from Tone Deaf Comics
(click the image to enlarge)
Tone Deaf Comics creates comics for anyone that was ever in band. Lots of jokes for all the instruments in the band and orchestra. They put them out pretty regularly. I will post Tuba related ones here (and others that I find exceptionally funny). 

You can find them at: