The American Church in Paris & The Franco-American Community Center

 

 

UTC Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble to Tour Paris, France

It's not every day that an ensemble from Chattanooga tours in Europe—but in the second week of March, there will be an exception, thanks to The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble.

The Ensemble is the first instrumental group from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to perform in Europe since the University of Chattanooga became a state university more than three decades ago. The ensemble will perform three times in France, twice in downtown Paris and once at the Place de la Republique in northeastern Paris, and members will also attend a brass class at the world-renowned Paris Conservatory taught by Phillippe Fritsch.

Music professor and ensemble director Dr. William R. Lee started the ensemble in 1984 at the suggestion of UTC music students. "This type of ensemble began in the 1960s and now exists in every cultural capital in the world, and in most universities and music conservatories, from Japan to Germany. Tennessee virtually invented it. The state is so prominent in the tuba world that it is not unusual to find an American, sometimes a Tennesseean, playing tuba in professional orchestras in Europe," Lee said.

"We are trying to help students become better performers, teachers, church musicians, and professors," Lee said. He explained how the ensemble helps develop students into better musicians by providing additional practice in developing rehearsal, arranging and composing skills. "Several of our students have become excellent composers and arrangers, and going to Europe to see where it all started doesn't hurt!" he said.

Lee is no stranger to composing music, as he has a degree in composition in addition to a doctorate in music education, and has published several musical works. He is best known, he says, for teacher education and scholarship, as he has more than fifty publications in the history of music education and in educational policy. "My heart always pulls me back to ensemble conducting and to teaching students, however," Lee said.

Featured works on the concert will be solos by Ken Doyal, a UTC post-bac euphonium player and arranger, and euphoniumist Daryl Finley, a UTC graduate student in performance who will play Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee," arranged for Finley and the ensemble by Doyal. The program will include works by Lee, John Stevens, Gabrieli, Mozart, Vaughn-Williams, Alford, Fauré, and Mouret.

Lee stated that the ensemble has had great support from the department head, Dr. Jocelyn Sanders and from the community. A recent large gift to the university, the Lupton Fund, made it possible for the Music Department to purchase two new euphoniums, the first new instruments of this kind in two decades. The new instruments made a dramatic difference, Lee said.

For more information about the UTC Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, please call the UTC Music Department at 423-425-4601.