“Firm Land” For Tubas and Euphoniums (6 or 8 parts)

Firm Land is about loss, apology, forgiveness and those sorts of things.  It is lyrically melodic with some groovy chords and a very soft ending.

Difficulty: Advanced High School –  College; mutes needed.

Duration: 7′

Instrumentation: 6 or 8 parts; (3 or 4 Euphoniums, 3 or 4 Tubas)

 

*Perusal Score  Firm Land2014-no print

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“Epidemic Anthemic” For Tubas and Euphoniums (8 parts)

21st Century Tuba Music! Epidemic Anthemic  communicates and explores complex emotional states from mania to lucid peace; very dynamic.  This piece uses a few mutes and doesn’t really have any ‘easy’ parts.

Difficulty: Advanced College

Duration: 12′

Instrumentation: 8 parts; 4 Euphoniums,  4 Tubas

 

EpidemicAnthemic-no print

 

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I woke up this afternoon (yes this afternoon), cooked some breakfast (yes, for lunch) to notice it was the birthday of my long time teacher, mentor and one of  THEEE best human beings I know, Jay Hunsberger.   I posted the obligatory birthday salute on Facebook,  hit post and started to inhale my meal.  10 seconds later I found my self deleting the post, realizing that Jay certainly deserved better.

I have known Jay for over 20 years now.  Of all the teachers of music I’ve had the pleasure to learn from in my 38 years (I have had many),  Jay has been the singularly the best all around.  He has the ability to push his students to the very edges of their ability and beyond.  His pedagogical approach (which constantly is evolving) is intelligent and attacks from multiple points of view beside just the Tuba.  Jay is one of those rare teachers that does not just show you how to play your instrument but rather teaches MUSIC and even more importantly How to be a great musician by serving as a shining example of what a great musician, teacher and person is.  Jay can both ‘do’ and ‘teach’.   He is always beyond positive, the best cheerleader one would have.  He is relentlessly giving of his time and energy.  He is a gem and I am not the first to refer to him as Florida’s best kept secret (although I doubt the secret will stay so much longer).

I met Jay as a high school student at Winter Park High School in the late 80’s (sorry, now they know how old me we are).  He was one of the low brass clinicians for summer band camp.   I had never really heard a great tuba soloist before.   Lucky for me Jay would be the first; (Encounters 2,  if I recall and a few excerpts).  I was floored.  I had heard recordings and good ones.  But to actually, in the flesh, see it was possible to make this giant hunk of metal speak the way Jay could, truly inspired me.  I was bit.   From then on,  I would  practice everyday after school for hours and hours.  Luckily my band director, Dr. Ken Williams another huge, formative influence on me was also a tuba player and also very generous with solos and recordings which were instrumental (no pun intended) in my musical studies.  I remember him telling Jay during a break once,  “[tim] is gonna be one of the good guys”  It made my spirit soar.  Remarkably enough, several years later, I would be one of his first students at the University of  South Florida.   I remember the excitement all the Tuba players had when we heard news Jay would be joining the faculty.  Everyone was buzzing (sorry, another pun) and it never really went away.  Even today, Jay is viewed by  his faculty colleagues as a leader and go to person in the school of music.

I never got a degree in Tuba.  I ended up changing majors to composition and as such,  would see less and less of Jay as the tuba studio (now one of the best hands down) got bigger and better.  I have strayed from music (for years at a stretch) a few times in my life.  They have always ended up being my lowest points.   Whenever I finally came to my senses though, It was always Jay who, as if I was never away, was willing to let me back into the fold with open arms,  a smile and a school horn.  For this and all the wonderful opportunities Jay has given me.  I am eternally thankful.  Happy Birthday Jay.

A Video of how Tubas are made

This makes me want to try it.  Now if only I had a forge.

About Me:

I was born in Key West, Florida in 1973. Man that was a trip. I lived there till I was 15. There isn’t much to say about this because in Key West, there is nothing for children to do but bad things. It’s a great place to party for a couple of days, but no place for a family. I feel so sorry for my poor mother whom I certainly put through hell. But don’t worry. I turned out fine. I am a classically trained musician/composer and I have been studying music pretty much since I was 9 years old. I am a product of the Florida public school systems and yes I can read and everything (I know you’re shocked).

My first musical experiences were in the average grade school recorder band when I was in 3rd grade. This is where I first learned to read music. I went on to be a band nerd in middle school where I played bassoon (for like 2 weeks) and ultimately trumpet and tuba. I continued this into high school. There, I was a band geek in a abnormally large and advanced music department. I then went on Tuba scholarship to the University of South Florida where I studied formally with some great music teachers as well as many other wonderful composers and musicians from all around the world. I primarily focus on acoustic chamber music and serious music for the tuba (a wonderfully expressive yet highly neglected instrument). I have however written several works for orchestra and wind ensemble as well as electronic works. Recently, I have been focusing on music for the Tuba and hope to eventually put out my first CD of my works, probably this year. So be on the lookout Tuba fans!

MY INFLUENCES

This is normally when most would list their favorite composers. I will list a few (cause I have hundreds) then I will discuss my influences which i consider to be a different thing all together. DEAD ONES: STRAVINSKY; If you are or were a composer in the 20th/21st century, you cannot escape Stravinsky. Stravinsky was truly revolutionary! One of the first Scores I ever bought was “The Rite of Spring”. AARON COPELAND; If you are an american composer you cannot escape Copeland. Aptly considered THE DEAN of American music, he not only wrote incredible music but opened doors to what American music’s affect on America would be. VARESE; truly truly original music, a true artist. PERSICHETTI; This composer has a special place in my heart because I played a lot of his music in my formative years as a youngster. Persichetti was immensely prolific as well. His catalog was like well thousands of titles for every single configuration of ensemble and solo instrument possible. He also wrote a wonderful book on harmony. I read it all the time over and over again. GEORGE CRUMB; Another truly original composer. His music explored timbre’s that send chills up your spine. Black Angels was one of the first recordings I bought. JON CAGE; This man redefined the idea of what music could be. He opened up the ears of the world. NOW LIVING ONES! – SAMUEL ADLER; I recently had the opportunity to meet and have sort of a lesson as well as master class with Dr. Adler. If you took a survey of every college music professor teaching today, probably half of them (not just composition teachers either)at least took courses with him including all three of my major comp professors . His approach is clear and simple both in his teaching and his compositions. He is over 80 years old and still has color in his hair and purpose in his stride. Milton Babbitt and He have dinner every Monday night and have done so for several years. Imagine being the fly on that wall. HILTON KEAN JONES; Prof. Jones was my first teacher of composition as well as theory. By the time we met, he had already been teaching composition for a long time.. His sage advice and knowledge was hugely instrumental (no pun intended) in my becoming a composer. The lessons I learned from him serve me to this day. JOHN CORIGLIANO; I can safely say he is my favorite living composer. I think every note he writes is perfect and I have never heard a work of his that did not completely blow me away. LIBBY LARSEN; She is arguably the most performed living composer today and rightly so. Others include PAUL RELLER, JAMES LEWIS, MICHAEL TIMPSON, LADISLAV KUBIK, DONALD GRANTHAM, AUGUSTA READ THOMAS, WILLIAM BOLCOM, CHRISTOPHER ROUSE, DAN WELCHER, RICHARD WERNICK, MILTON BABBIT, JOSEPH SCHWANTER, ALEX SHAPIRO and I could go on and on. But I cannot say they are my influences because for me, an influence is what causes you to create or what guides you, an inspiration for lack of a better word. I am influenced by ideas. Sounds I hear, things I see, random strange thoughts I have or emotions I feel or see in others. As a matter of fact, I would say that my music is very tied to emotions, and often revolve around some sort of narrative. I believe music should say something and it’s best when is says things words cannot.