The purpose of this project is to introduce challenging works that are technically and musically accessible to the undergraduate music major with regards to range, technical playing, and extended techniques.
In the standard course of study, the student spends a great deal of time learning solo works for their instrument. This process of preparing a solo, whether for a recital, a performance jury, or simply to learn the work, is an important component in development.
When I was appointed the professor of tuba/euphonium at the University of Arizona, I realized a need existed for quality recordings of tuba/euphonium works typical in the undergraduate repertoire. One of the teaching tools I frequently utilize involves having my students purchase recordings of the pieces they are studying. These recordings serve as a lasting reference for interpretation as well as exposure to a characteristic sound of the instrument. It also provides an excellent opportunity to discover how the accompaniment coordinates with the soloist.
Much of the standard literature is available on recordings; however, introductory works are not as readily available. To this end, I informally surveyed professors to identify works in need of recordings. This CD displays the results and showcases works in a variety of genres as well as varying degrees of difficulty. This CD includes pieces originally written for solo tuba/euphonium, with piano, and with band accompaniment. The latter is performed with a piano reduction. Although unaccompanied works are less common, they were chosen because they offer the soloist more freedom in artistic interpretation. This means the soloist is required to create a musically complete performance. One of the greatest challenges to performing unaccompanied works involves the amount of endurance required due to the lack of accompaniment interludes.
I have outlined basic information about each work, pedagogical information useful to the private teacher and student, a recommendation of a work that would be appropriate to study subsequently, and when available, biographies of the composer.
Dr. Thomas was appointed tuba/euphonium instructor and director of pep bands at the University of Arizona in 2001. A native of Flagstaff, Arizona, he began his studies with R. Winston Morris at Tennessee Technological University. There he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in music education. He also holds a Master of Music degree in music education from Arizona State University where he studied with Sam Pilafian. Kelly completed a Doctor of Musical arts degree at Arizona State University in 2006.
Professor Thomas participated in the famed Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble (TTTE), under the direction of R. Winston Morris, while at TTU. Kelly has appeared as a soloist as well as an ensemble member on the following recording’s affiliated with the TTTE: Euphoniums Unlimited (Mark Records 2004), The Kings of Brass (Mark Records 2001), Tubalogy 601 (Mark Records 2000), and Unleash the Beast (Mark Records 1995). In 1995 and 2007 Kelly performed at Carnegie Hall as a soloist and ensemble member with the TTTE. Dr. Thomas has collaborated with Gunther Schuller, Adam Gorb, Greg Danner, and David Maslanka in recent years.
Professor Thomas has also performed at the International Tuba Euphonium Association (ITEA) Conferences in Las Vegas, NV; Conway, Arkansas; Tucson, AZ and Regina, Canada. He has also performed at the United States Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference in Washington D.C. In 2003 and 2007 he hosted the ITEA Regional Conference in Tucson, AZ on the campus of the University of Arizona. In 2005, Kelly conducted the University of Arizona Brass Choir and performed at the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Bangkok, Thailand.
Kelly is a founding member and tubist for the Original Wildcat Jass Band, a traditional New Orleans and Chicago jazz band. This touring ensemble has been featured throughout Tucson as well as New Mexico, California, and Colorado. They released their debut recording entitled Introducing…The Original Wildcat Jass Band in 2004. Their second recording, I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, was released in 2007. Dr. Thomas is a Clinician/Artist for Besson Instruments.