December 31, 2005 - UPDATE
Updated the home page to announce that on February 12, yeodoug.com will celebrate 10 years on the Internet. On February 1, I will
announce a special "thank you offer" for visiters to my website in thanks for their support over these many years.
December 29, 2005 - COMMENTARY
Today I concluded a most satisfying run of concerts. As a member of the American Serpent Trio (which in addition to myself includes Craig Kridel and
Steve Silverstein), I played in three concerts hosted by Professor Peter Schickele. "P.D.Q. Bach: a 40-Year Retrogressive" was held in Symphony Space in New York City
to three sold out houses on December 27-29. I was first introduced to the music of P.D.Q. Bach over 30 years ago and for several years in the mid-70s, my wife and I attended
the annual P.D.Q. Bach concerts between Christmas and the New Year at Carnegie Hall. Never in my wildest imagination did I ever dream I would take part in some of Peter
Schickele's musical mayhem. As part of the concert, the American Serpent Players (ASP) played P.D.Q. Bach's round, "O, Serpent" for serpent trio and singers. We also performed
an encore at the end of the concert, Seiber's "Foxtrot" which I recorded with Craig Kridel and Phil Humphries on my CD, "Le Monde du Serpent." It was not lost on us that
the middle of the three concerts took place on the birthday of Christopher Monk, the leader of the modern revival of the serpent who passed away in 1991. The audience's
reception was wildly enthusiastic toward the serpent and its players and the photo at left shows, from left to right, Craig Kridel, Peter Schickele, myself and Steve Silverstein.
If you have not heard the music of P.D.Q. Bach, you owe it to yourself to get to know more about him. Visit
Peter Schickele's Website for an introduction to this most remarkable musician. What a wonderful way to conclude the year and
move into 2006. On January 12, I added a new page on my website, P.D.Q. Bach and the American Serpent Players
which contains many photos and some commentary about these concerts.
December 18, 2005 - UPDATE
Updated schedule page.
December 1, 2005 - NEW
In June of this year, I participated in the Yamaha Trombone Day at the Yamaha Artist Services Inc. (YASI) in New York City (see the entry on this page for June 19, 2005.
Yamaha has now released a FREE recording of the recital given at the event by the Yamaha Xeno Trombone Quartet (Peter Sullivan, Al Kay, Tom Brantley and me).
The concert included solos by each of the Quartet members as well as several trombone quartets with a mixture of classical and jazz selections. Part 1 of the concert is available
now; part 2 will be available on December 13. For more information about Yamaha podcasts and details on how to download the Yamaha Xeno Trombone Quartet podcast to your
computer and iPod, visit the
Yamaha Podcast Page.
November 14, 2005 - NEW
Added new free pdf downloads of movements of my Bach Cello Suites performing edition for trombone including Suite 1:
Prelude and Gigue and Suite 2: Courante, Sarabande and Menuet I & II.
November 12, 2005 - NEW
I have added a new page to my website devoted to The Visual Art of Don Stewart . Don is an artist with a keen eye for creating something new out of
something old. His "composite" images fascinate me, and my page about Don and his work includes several samples of his work including his "Trombones" "Medusa" (a
drawing based on historical brass instruments including serpent, buccin, bass horn, cornetto and much more) and "Show Horns." These are extrardinily creative and
interesting images ("Shoe Horns" is one of those things that just knocks you over as soon as you lay eyes on it) and I have become a big fan and supporter of
Don's work. Don's drawings make for great gifts and are
sure to make you smile.
October 30, 2005 - NEW
Peter Ryan produces a weekly podcast devoted to brass bands. On October 30, he uploaded a new podcast which features tracks
of me playing bass trombone solos with brass band including excerpts from my solo CDs "Proclamation" and "Two of a Mind" as well as a solo
track from the New England Brass Band's CD "The Light of the World." The podcast also includes a brief interview with me.
This podcast is FREE and available at
October 23, 2005 - UPDATE
Updated Daniel Chester French: Sculpture in Situ page with links to other sites that feature French's work
as well as sites that discuss the tragic and influential life of Audrey Munson who served as a model for many of French's sculptures.
October 19, 2005 - COMMENTARY
This evening I participated in a live Internet "chat" hosted by the excellent website
MyAuditions.com . This was my first such event and I found both the technology and the process to be fascinating.
I was also impressed with the excellent questions people asked me and how I could use this real-time Internet format to communicate with people from around the world.
MyAuditions.com come has also posted the
transcript of my "chat" which some readers might find interesting or helpful.
October 8, 2005 - UPDATE
Updated my Trombones and related instruments gallery page with photos of many more instruments
in my collection including my c. 1830 buccin by Sautermeister, two trombones previously owned by Joannes Rochut, a 1938 Boosey and Hawkes G bass trombone,
a bass sackbut in F made by Frank Tomes and the Yamaha YSL-350C compact trombone.
October 8, 2005 - UPDATE
Updated schedule page and did a major update and reorganization of my
September 20, 2005 - NEW
I live a very interesting musical life and one of the joys of recent years has been my involvement with historical brasses, in particular the serpent.
Earlier this year I went to Lily Bay Studios in Wayland, Massachusetts (run by my Boston Symphony Orchestra horn colleague, Richard Sebring) to
embark on an interesting project with the serpent: a performance of Clifford Bevan's arrangement of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" arranged for
serpent ensemble with all of the serpent parts played by me, myself and I. I wanted to record this arrangement, which was given its premiere at the 1990 serpent
celebration at St. John's Smith Square in London (an event which celebrated the 400th anniversary of the invention of the serpent) as a thank you gift
to Cliff Bevan in thanks for all he has done for the serpent and how his music and scholarship has enriched my life. While I was delighted that Cliff
was happy with my performance, I was even more pleased when he suggested we make it available to people to hear for free as a download on my website.
If you're interested in the sound of 26 serpents playing together in ensemble (complete with church bells and cannon) and would like to know more about
the history of this arrangement (I have posted photos of rehearsals of the premiere of the arrangement that included 56 serpent players), visit my
1812 Overture free mp3 download page.
August 23, 2005 - UPDATE
I have updated my schedule page with many concerts and other activities for the
2005-06 season including concerts with the New England Brass Band, the Handel & Haydn Society, tour concerts with the Boston Symphony,
and an online "Celebrity Internet Chat" hosted by myauditions.com.
August 11, 2005 - UPDATE
I have uploaded a new photo of a beautifully restored English military serpent
by Francis Pretty (now owned by Nick Parkes) with commentary to my Serpent Photo Gallery.
June 19, 2005 - COMMENTARY
This weekend I had the great pleasure of participating in a Yamaha sponsored "Trombone Day" in New York City. Yesterday's day long event was held at the new
Yamaha Artist Services facility on Fifth Avenue. The day was a happy reunion for the members of the Yamaha Xeno Trombone Quartet that was formed in 2004
for a performance at the 2004 International Trombone Festival in Ithaca, New York. Tenor trombonists Pete Sullivan (principal trombonist, Pittsburgh Symphony),
Al Kay (Canadian jazz artist), Tom Brantley (professor of trombone at University of South Florida and member of "Rhythm and Brass") and I make up the Xeno
quartet; each of us play the latest model Yamaha Xeno trombones. The Trombone Day consisted of clinics given by Pete, Al and me and then an evening recital of solos
and trombone quartets. Throughout the day the full line of Yamaha trombones were available for people to try out. I thoroughly enjoyed my time interacting with
many people through the day; it was a wonderful surprise to see some former students there who I had not seen in several years as well as New York players who
I had not had contact with since my days as a free lance player in New York many years ago (1976-1981). Yamaha is working to put some of our recital online
on the Yamaha website and when that happens, I'll post an update here so people who are interested can hear some of that playing. To hear Al Kay play "Csardas" is
truly something to behold! For more information about Yamaha trombones, visit the
Yamaha Band Instrument Website.
May 25, 2005 - UPDATE
I have made some significant updates to my articles Pursuing a Career in Orchestral Music,
Symphony Auditions: Preparation and Execution, and
my page of music links.
April 24, 2005 - NEW
I have added photos of "Spirit of the Waters," by Daniel Chester French, located
at the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
April 23, 2005 - NEW
I have added photos of "Chesterwood," the summer home and studio of Daniel Chester French, located
in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
April 23, 2005 - UPDATE
Updated schedule page.
April 19, 2005 - NEW
I have added photos of the statue of "The Republic" by Daniel Chester French which is found
in Jackson Park in Chicago, Illionis.
April 5, 2005 - COMMENTARY
Yesterday I had the great pleasure of giving a lunchtime talk about the trombone at the
Boston Museum of Fine Arts . I have been giving talks at the Museum over the past several
years, and I have also enjoyed giving talks and demonstrations at other museums around the country including the National Music Museum in South Dakota and
the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. After having given several talks about the serpent and ophicleide, it was nice to return to the MFA to
explore my primary instrument, the trombone. The MFA's collection of trombones is rather small but they have some important instruments that I was able to
discuss and demonstrate including a 1781 soprano trombone by Schmied, a fine Belgian back facing tenor trombone and a buccin by Tabard with a painted zoomorphic
head and flapping metal tongue.
In addition to the Museums's trombones, I brought along a few of my own instruments to show the evolution of the trombone through
the ages including a bass sackbut by Frank Tomes, my BB flat Conn contrabass trombone made in 1903, my Conn "Preacher Model" tenor trombone in Bflat/C made in 1923
and my newly acquired Sautermeister buccin which I'm shown talking about in the photo at left.
Later this week I will continue my ongoing exploration of historical brasses when I play serpent in a performance of the Divertimento in B flat (St Antoni Chorale) which is
attributed to Haydn. This will be in performance with Boston's Handel & Haydn Society at Symphony Hall, Boston, in a small chamber music group of players with historical
instruments. While I recorded this piece on my CD "Le Monde du Serpent" this will be the first time I will have played it on original instruments including natural horns. Our
performance will open the Handel & Haydn concerts this weekend which will follow with two works by Brahms: his "Variations on a Theme of Haydn" (which is based on the
"St Antoni Chorale" of the Divertimento and his "Ein Deutsches Requiem." To move from early trombones to serpent in chamber music with a week of Boston Symphony Youth
Concerts inbetween (all of which include the main title theme from "Star Wars") is to be a part of a very rich musical life!
April 2, 2005 - COMMENTARY
Pope John Paul II died today. While I do not share the Roman Catholic faith, I am a Christian and one who has had great admiration for this remarkable man of God who has now
moved from this life to the next.
From 1979-1981, I was director of bands at
St. Thomas Aquinas (now Bishop George Ahr) High School
in Edison, New Jersey. My job at STA was my first full time music position. After
graduation from Wheaton College (Illinois) my wife and I moved to New York City where I was a freelance bass trombonist and also worked various office jobs while pursuing my
master's degree at New York University. I applied for the STA position in the summer of 1979 and I began the job that fall.
St. Thomas Aquinas High School was staffed by Felician Sisters, an order that had its origin in Poland. You can imagine my thoughts when I was told, during my first week on the job,
that our High School band had been selected to play for Pope John Paul II when he was to visit New York City in October, 1979. We were chosen as one of two bands from New Jersey
to play for the Pope and being a school with Polish connections, the school was nearly turned upside down with the news. On a personal level this was exciting, but it was made even
more so because my wife was, at that time, pregnant and imminently ready to give birth to our first child. In the weeks preceding the Pope's visit, I arranged music for our
performance (which would be in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City; we played a number of Polish folk songs and hymns in addition to some other music)
but also found myself in the midst of a "human interest" news story about the timing of the visit and how it related to my wife's pregnancy.
October 3, 1979 dawned cloudy and rain fell during our trip into New York. As we all waited for the Pope to arrive, we played and played - in the rain - wearing ponchos and getting
absolutely soaked. Yet when the Pope arrived, the rain stopped as if we were witnessing something that could only come out of a Hollywood epic film, the sun came out, and he smiled
and waved at the students in our band who were standing in awe only 50 feet from him.
It was a great moment as we were part of history: Pope John Paul II, along with President Ronald Reagan, is credited with being a significant force in the defeat of communism in
the USSR and eastern Europe. He was an author, teacher and leader whose legacy will be felt for years to come. More than anything he was a servant of Christ and he did not shy away
from preaching the Gospel with clarity and authority. His connection with our family will always be a strong one for many reasons, not the least of which is because
the day after our band played for him, my wife gave birth to our first daughter who became a bit of a celebrity as a result of the timing of her coming into the world. At St. Thomas
Aquinas High School, she was always known as "The Pope's Baby" and her baby book is full of clippings and articles that celebrated the birth of a daughter to the band director and
his wife who nervously got through the events of October 3 as Divine Providence delayed a birth until the work was done. (Newspaper
headlines about the story read, "Pope, Paternity Arrive for Aquinas Band Director" and "Delayed Birth Linked to Divine Providence" and the biggest understatement of
all, "What a Week for the Yeos". ) My time at St. Thomas Aquinas was very influential on my musical and spiritual life and I will
always look back ton that time with fondness. Father Michael Alliegro, Sister Mary Seraphica, John Kronemeyer and, of course, the students, all have been a part of my life
over the last 25+ years. The patch shown here was something I had made for all of the
students who played at Battery Park that day in 1979 - 55 were made and I took mine out of a drawer today and I share it with you in tribute to a great and Godly man who has left a changed
world behind him. Requiem aeterna dona eis.
March 16, 2005 - COMMENTARY
Those who know me well know of my interest in old instruments, particularly the French bass brasses of the early and mid 19th century including serpent and ophicleide. I
have played these instruments for over 10 years (among my serpents is one by Baudouin, Paris c. 1812 and an ophicleide by Roehn, Paris c. 1855) and they have given
me no end of pleasure.
Since I was a young boy I have always wanted a buccin, the early 19th century French form of trombone with a zoomorphic head. I remember in the mid 1960's going to the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and standing (and staring) in front of a display case with three buccins that just held me transfixed. When I recorded my
CD Le Monde du Serpent, Berlioz Historical Brass commissioned a new piece from Clifford Bevan, "Le Mots de Berlioz" for choir with buccin, ophicleide, serpent and
bassoon. It was the first time I had ever actually HEARD a buccin (played beautifully by Ben Peck who used a modern reproduction made by John Webb). I knew right then I
simply had to get one to play myself.
Last summer I acquired a buccin bell from a dealer in Paris with the goal of having it restored and be played. The bell is by Sautermeister, a maker in Lyon (France) who
was active from 1809-1830. Original buccin slides are usually in dreadful condition so I decided to have a new slide made after an historical model. The bell restoration was
carried out by Jim Becker of Osmun Music (www.osmun.com) in Arlington, Massachusetts. The photo at right shows Jim Becker and me
in the Osmun Music shop with the restored buccin. The bell needed considerable work to be put into good condition and Jim used
a combination of his vast experience and some creative solutions to return the bell to playing order. He then made an entirely new hand slide after the buccin slide on an instrument
(by Tabard) in Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Jim put a tuning slide at the end of the slide so the instrument can be played at low pitch and Naoki Tada of the Yamaha
Custom Shop (Hamamatsu, Japan) made a spectacular slide crook with two intertwined serpents. Today everything came together and the instrument was completed - I picked it
up and have already had a great deal of pleasure playing it. It has a funky overtone series because of the oddly shaped bell (which is made of very thin brass), but the sound is mellow and
sweet when played at soft dynamics and strong and firm (without being edgy) when played loudly.
The photo above (left) shows me playing my buccin while standing in front of a display case at Symphony Hall in Boston that includes several instruments from the Casadeasus Collection, a
collection of early instruments owned by the Boston Symphony. Shown on the left is a form of upright serpent called a "basson Russe" that also has a zoomorphic head.
Once again, I offer encouragement to those who are interested in playing older instruments. Doing so gives an interesting perspective on our modern instruments and
transports us back to an earlier time when the evolution of musical instruments was still very much active. Breathing new life into an instrument that has been silent for
perhaps over 150 years is a rare feeling.
March 15, 2005 - UPDATE
Updated all site headers with a new photo. This was long overdue; the previous photo, by Steven Emery, had been taken in 1994. The new photo, by Betsy Bassett, was taken
in 2004 and reflects the more current reality.
February 28, 2005 - COMMENTARY
This past weekend I had the great pleasure of playing ophicleide in a performance of Berlioz's "Romeo et Juliette," his great symphony based on Shakespeare's play.
The performance, with Boston's Chorus Pro Musica (Jeffrey Rink, conductor) and an orchestra of players from Boston and around the country, was the first known
performance of "Romeo" in North America on period instruments, that is utilizing instruments that would have been used in Berlioz's time. I had performed "Romeo" with the Boston Symphony
Orchestra under the direction of music director James Levine last fall. At that time, I played third trombone (using a tenor trombone as I always do when playing Berlioz, as
he wrote almost exclusively for a trombone section of three tenor trombones). This performance took me to a completely different sound world. The trombone section (Robert
Couture, Hans Bohn and Mark Cantrell) all used very small bore tenor trombones. The horn players were using natural horns (no valves); the photo at left is of Lowell Greer,
one of the world's leading natural horn experts, with me. Two cornets played alongside two natural trumpets. Four small bore bassoons, early wooden flutes and clarinets,
classical string instrument bows. The resulting experience was a thrill for me. The beautiful, rough and smooth (all at the same time) sound of these instruments gave me
a new perspective on Berlioz, one of my most beloved composers. With early instruments, you wrestle and contend more intimately with your horn - it is not a perfect,
modern construction. Yet, the added concentration and work (sometimes with unexpected results) yields even greater rewards.
For instance, trombonists are well acquainted with the opening introduction of "Romeo," an extended recitative for the low brass. What most trombonists don't know (or don't consider) is that
Berlioz includes the horns in that passage, but, because the horns are natural and not fully chromatic, the composer assigns one note of the passage to each horn in its
corresponding key. The effect for the horns is a bit of musical "ping-pong" not unlike a handbell choir where each player is responsible for only a few notes of the melody.
With this in mind, the balance was adjusted so the trombones and ophicleide did not dominate, rather the horns became an integral part of the texture. It is things like this that
make music with these early instruments so interesting. While there certainly is dogmatism in the early music movement (a classic example of the oppressed becoming the
oppressors), I have found working with early music players to be very stimulating - players bring in and talk about different instruments, makers, the ubiquitous issue of
the tuning pitch, horn construction, performance practice and, above all, the music. It is refreshing and enjoyable to a high degree. My life in early music continues to grow and
expand, from serpent to ophileide to buccin (the type of trombone developed in France in the late 18th century with a zoomorphic head). This weekend's performance of "Romeo"
was yet another step along the way as I put myself back in time to consider the role of instruments, musicians and music upon a time long past. There are more adventures
on the way, including a presentation at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts in April where I will discuss and demonstrate various types of trombones, and, also in April, a performance
on serpent with Boston's Handel & Haydn Orchestra. June will bring me to the Great American Brass Band Festival where I will give a paper on serpent an dophicleide soloists
and then perform a solo on ophicleide accompanied by a brass band. For those interested in these and other performances I have upcoming, visit my schedule page.
February 6, 2005 - COMMENTARY
What a day for sports fans in New England. The New England Patriots are the National Football League's Super Bowl XXXIX champions after defeating the Philadelphia
Eagles, 24-21. With this victory, the Patriots have won three of the last four Super Bowls, a stunning accomplishment. It was another exciting day in our
house, decorated with Patriots and Super Bowl items and cheering our team on to victory. This season, my wife and I went to four Patriots games at Gillette Stadium
(games against the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and the playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts - all victories). As I've mentioned several times on my website,
I attended Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans and with each year it grows as one of the most fantastic experiences of my life. As a member of the Boston Pops Orchestra,
I played in the pre-game show to that game and then enjoyed the game courtesy of a ticket given to
me (and other members of the orchestra) by Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a man who surely is one of the greatest owners of a sports team in the world. At the time
of Super Bowl XXXVI I kept a daily diary of the preparations of the Boston Pops Orchestra as well as my own feelings at that thrilling time. For those interested,
that diary (with many color photos) is still available for viewing on my website; see
The New England Patriots and the Boston Pops: A Super Bowl XXXVI Diary.
January 5, 2005 - UPDATE
Made many technical changes to the site in order to improve content and navigation.