As part of the mission of the IWBC, we provide education and resources which help respect and honor our role models in the diverse history of brass performance. At each conference we present awards and hold panel discussions where we share information about our past history.
At each conference, beginning with the first in 1993, the IWBC has recognized women who have been pioneers in the top levels of brass performance, breaking down barriers and living their lives effecting change for those who have followed. Each awardee’s career and spirit exemplify the goals and traditions of the IWBC.
Joan Thelma Watson (1953-2015) was one of Canada’s foremost horn soloists, principal horn, lecturer, and educator. She has been highly regarded as a consummate musician and skilled virtuoso. Her contributions across the country include serving as principal horn of the Canadian Opera Orchestra, founding member of the True North Brass quintet, associate principal horn of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for 14 seasons (having won the job while 8 months pregnant), and principal horn of the Esprit Orchestra, the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, the Pacific Opera, and Vancouver Opera orchestras. Joan lived in Owen Sound, Ontario and passed away in March of 2015 at the age of 61.
Gail Williams is an internationally recognized hornist and brass pedagogue. She has presented concerts, masterclasses, recitals, and lectures throughout North America, as well as in Europe and Asia. After 20 years with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Williams is in demand as a soloist, chamber musician, and recording artist. She is currently Principal Horn of the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra and has recently performed on a number of prestigious chamber music series. Gail is one of the founding members of CCME as well as the Summit Brass. In addition to her eight recordings with Summit Brass, Ms. Williams can be heard on her seven cd recordings, also available on Summit Records. Ms. Williams has commissioned many works for horn by composers Dana Wilson, Anthony Plog, Douglas Hill, James Stephenson, and Augusta Reed Thomas. Ms. Williams is the horn professor at Northwestern University, where she has been on the faculty since 1989. Her awards included Ithaca College’s Young Distinguished Alumni Award and an honorary Doctorate of Music, also from Ithaca College. In May of 2005, Ms. Williams was awarded the Charles Deering McCormick Teaching of Excellence Professor from Northwestern University.
Pioneer Award Winner, Performance artist and Juilliard trained trombonist Abbie Conant is somewhat of a legend in the orchestral brass world. The story of her epic fight against egregious gender discrimination in the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra where she won the position at a screened audition in 1993, inspired author Malcolm Gladwell to write the NY Times Bestseller, Blink where Abbie’s story is detailed in the last chapter. The 11 year long court battle was documented by composer/musicologist/activist, William Osborne in an article entitled, “You Sound Like a Ladies Orchestra.” After winning her lengthy court case, Abbie won a full-tenured Professorship at the University of Music in Trossingen, Germany and left the orchestra in 1993. As part of the severance agreement, the Munich Philhamonic had to allow her to attend the first International Women’s Brass Conference in St. Louis where she was a guest artist. Abbie has performed instrumental music theater works with surround sound electronics in over 150 different cities around the world. She has given masterclasses in as many esteemed music institution such as The Juilliard School, The Eastman School, New England Conservatory, Yale School of Music, Indiana University, Royal Northern College of Music, Gotheberg, Sweden, DePaul, CalArts, McGill, Oberlin and many others. While attending National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan in 1970, she won a scholarship to the Interlochen Arts Academy. She received her B.M. cum laude at Temple University with Dee Stewart of the Philadelphia Orchestra then her M.M. at Juilliard with Metropolitan Orchestra Principal, Per Brevig. In addition, she holds an Artist Diploma from the Cologne University of Music with Branimir Slokar. At the suggestion of her teacher Dr. Karl Hinterbichler, she attend Tanglewood through the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (where she studied with bass trombonist of the BSO, Gordon Hallberg). She won the audition for the Colorado Philhamonic (an intensive training orchestra), Yale Summer Chamber Music Institute at Norfolk where she studied with John Swallow, and New College Music Festival as Brass Trio in Residence). The Spoleto Festival dei due Mondi took her to Italy where she studied contemporary music with Vinko Globokar at the L’Accademia Chigiana in Siena. From there, she won her first position as principal trombone of the Royal Opera of Turin, Italy. Her next position was for principal trombone of the Munich Philharmonic for 13 years where she was awarded the official honorable title of Kammersolistin der Stadt Muenchen after 10 years of exemplary musical service to the city of Munich, Germany. She has had film roles in the feature film, The Devil’s Triangle, directed by Vadim Glowna and in the epic 13 film story of a German composer’s life and times, Die Zweite Heimat, (The Second Homeland) by dir. Edgar Reitz. Abbie has students in many different orchestras and teaching positions including, two former students in the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, the Stuttgart State Opera, the Southwest German Radio Orchestra, The Hamburg Symphony, the Regensburg Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, to name a few. Her critically acclaimed CD Trombone and Organ is on the Audite label and the DVD Music for the End of Time, an hour long tone poem for trombone, video and electronics inspired by six visions of the Revelation of St. John the Divine, and composed by William Osborne, is available through Polymnia Press. The co-composed solo works, Pond, and As it Were of a Trumpet Talking are available per download from http://www.osborne-conanr.org
Pioneer Award Winner Sharon Moe is a renowned French horn virtuoso. Sharon started playing piano at age 5 and French horn at age 10. She became entranced at the “amazing, beautiful sound of the instrument, “ and went on to St. Olaf College and Manhattan School of Music. She has played Principal Horn with New York Chamber Soloists, Long Island Philharmonic, New Philharmonic of New Jersey, Colonial Symphony, The Bronx Arts Ensemble, New York City Opera, American Symphony, St. Cecelia’s Orchestra (Carnegie Hall), Teatro Grattacielo (Lincoln Center) and Mozart Orchestra of New York. She has performed in festivals and in major halls throughout the United States, in France, Spain, Puerto Rico, and South America. At the age of 17, she won the prestigious WAMSO Competition and made her solo debut with the Minnesota Orchestra. She was given the Distinguished Alumni Award from St. Olaf College and the Most Valuable Performer Award from NARAS (National Academy for Recording Arts and Sciences). She was chosen by Leonard Bernstein to be Solo Horn for the World Premier and recording of his composition “Mass” at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She was critically acclaimed for her solo performance in the World Premier of Oliver Messiaen’s From the Canyons to the Stars in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Sharon Moe has been featured in many TV Specials for PBS, CBS, ABC, and Cable TV. She records for CDs, films, and television ranging from classical to jazz. She has recorded and worked with numerous stars, maestros, and artists to name a few: Leonard Bernstein, Julius Rudel James Levine, Jose Serebrier, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Tony Bennett, Philip Glass, Billy Joel, Elton John, Bernadette Peters, Frank Sinatra, Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra , Wynton Marsalis, Patti Labelle, Menahem Pressler, Murray Perahia, Beverly Sills, Danny Kaye, Kathy Lee Gifford, Michael Tilson Thomas, Placido Domingo, Marin Alsop, Marvin Hamlich, Clark Terry, Stephen Schwartz, Ray Charles, Stephen Sondheim,,Gerard Schwartz, Barbara Cook, John Corligiano and Philipe Entremont. She recorded for the Broadway Tony TV Awards and for Wonder Pets – the number one children’s TV show that won several Emmys for its outstanding music and musicians. She has also recorded for New World Records, Koch, Nonesuch, CBS Records, Newport Classics, Musical Heritage and Deutsche Grammaphon. She is an acclaimed composer and composes under the name of Sharon Moe Miranda. She has the distinction of being nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for her composition Windows for orchestra World Premiered by the Long Island Philharmonic (Chris Keene, conductor). She is currently working on a CD for French horn and piano, a commissioned chamber work for the NY Chamber Soloists, and a composition for the St. Olaf College Band. She is on the faculty at Long Island University, Post, New Jersey City University and Manhattan School of Music PreCollege where she teaches French horn and chamber music. The New Yorker wrote, “Sharon Moe played the prominent solos with unfaltering lip and lung. She was really something.” She was married to the late, great French Hornist Anthony Miranda. They have a beautiful daughter, Antonia. Sharon writes, “Many people want to know the difference between a good musician and a great one, I think it is devoting every day to practicing, studying and listening to music. It is a part of you. It is as important as breathing. I believe that music chooses us. It wraps around us and never lets us go… Being connected to the arts makes us different human beings. If we were all tuned in to our God given creativity, we would be able to accomplish incredible things in this world.”
Pioneer Award Winner Julia Studebaker began cornet lessons in public school at age 9, playing her mother’s cornet, and switched to the horn when she was 11. Growing up in Illinois, she started private lessons at age 13 with Nancy Fako, a former student of Philip Farkas, and later studied with Frank Brouk, Dale Clevenger and Ed Kleinhammer, all members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She was a member of the Youth Orchestra of Greater Chicago and the Chicago Civic Orchestra. She attended Northwestern University from 1969 to 1972, and in 1973, left to seek work in Germany. In March of 1973 she was appointed Solo Horn to the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, becoming the first woman Principal Horn in a major German orchestra, during a time when there were still all-male orchestras in Europe. Her appointment caused major reverberations throughout the symphonic music community, especially in Germany. In September 1974, Julia became Solo Horn of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. This position was again groundbreaking, as she became the first woman Principal Horn in a major European orchestra, as well as the youngest player, and the only woman playing in a principal chair in the entire orchestra. European orchestras have not been the same since, and her legend lives on today. Her impact on others was best summed up by another woman brass player who said in a magazine interview, “Julia Studebaker paved the way for the rest of us.” The San Francisco Chronicleobserved of her work, “Far and away, the star was the Principal Horn, a leading voice in the work (Mahler’s Seventh), Julia Studebaker.” Her courage and perseverance in pursuit of her career were significant – a group of horn players in other orchestras even attempted to get the Dutch government to deny her a work permit. Her career, performing with the Chicago Lyric Opera, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (as an extra with these groups), the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin (as Principal Horn), and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (as Principal Horn), spanned 30 years from 1972 to 2002. She has also performed with various orchestras and ensembles including the World Orchestra for Peace. Fellow brass soloist and IWBC Pioneer Carole Dawn Reinhardt recalls “Julia Studebaker was still in Berlin when I moved there, but left for Amsterdam in the next season. It was a sensation for Europe at that time.”
Acknowledged as the first woman trumpeter in a major symphony orchestra, Marie Speziale retired from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in November of 1996 after having served as its Associate Principal Trumpet for thirty-two years (1964-1996). A graduate of the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ms. Speziale studied with Robert Price, Robert Braunagel, Eugene Blee and Arnold Jacobs. Her tenure with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra included playing Associate Principal Trumpet with the Cincinnati Opera Orchestra, Cincinnati May Festival Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Ms. Speziale performed under the batons of Igor Stravinsky, George Szell, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Eugene Ormandy, Eric Leinsdorf and Max Rudolf. Her very extensive performance experience also includes solo appearances with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Duke Ellington, and with Dave Brubeck on the Johnny Carson NBC Tonight Show. In addition she also performed solos on the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra European tour, and at the Interlochen Arts Academy.
Since retiring from the orchestra, she has remained active as a performer, teacher and clinician. She has served as Visiting Principal, Associate Principal and Second Trumpet of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, including their European tour, Carnegie Hall concerts and their recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. She has toured with DIVA (the women’s jazz band) and the Florida Symphony Orchestra. She performs with the Monarch Brass Quintet and Monarch Brass Ensemble, which she also conducted at the 1997 International Women’s Brass Conference. She has flown to California to do studio recordings for the television series Star Trek: Voyager, at Paramount and 20th Century Fox studios. Ms. Speziale has been active as a clinician in numerous conferences in Europe, Japan and throughout the United States. She was a featured guest artist at the 1993, 1997, 2000 and 2003 International Women’s Brass Conferences as well as the 1998, 1999, 2001, and 2014 International Trumpet Guild Conferences. She has served as artist faculty at the 1998, 1999 and 2000 Summit Brass Mendez Institute, performing with Summit Brass, coaching ensembles, presenting master classes and conducting brass orchestral repertoire reading sessions. In 1999, she was one of six Americans (and the only woman) to be invited by the Tokyo International Music Festival to perform in its first Super World Orchestra. Ms. Speziale also served as adjudicator for the National Trumpet Competitions held at George Mason University in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004. From 1979 to 2002 she was Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and was Professor of Music at Indiana University from 1999 to 2002.
In 2002 Ms. Speziale stepped down as President of the International Women’s Brass Conference and now serves on its Board of Directors. She has served on Board of Directors of the Northern Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and on the editorial committee of the American Music Teacher, the official journal of the Music Teachers National Association. A member of the American Federation of Musicians, Ms. Speziale has served as secretary and on the board of the directors of Local #1 in Cincinnati, OH. She is a member of the International Trumpet Guild, Sigma Alpha Iota, Pi Kappa Lambda and Cincinnati MacDowell Society. She has won many awards and honors, including Leading Women in the Arts Award from the Greater Cincinnati Coalition of Women’s Organizations, the Outstanding Woman of the Year in Music Award from the Tampa Tribune and the Sigma Alpha Iota National Leadership award. Ms. Speziale has been a brass coach and has served on the audition adversity training panel with the New World Symphony. In 2005 she was invited to conduct their brass ensemble in their first concert of the season. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 she served on the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s Opera Theatre and Music Festival in Lucca, Italy. She conducted the brass choir, taught brass orchestral repertoire classes and served as brass chamber music coach. Ms. Speziale performs regularly with the Houston Grand Opera and frequently with the Houston Symphony Orchestra and Houston Ballet Orchestra.
Formerly principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for 25 years, Julie Landsman is a distinguished performing artist and educator who has served as faculty at The Juilliard School since 1989. She received a bachelor’s degree from Juilliard in 1975 under the tutelage of James Chambers and Ranier De Intinnis.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Landsman achieved her dream of becoming principal of the MET in 1985 and held that position until 2010. She has also spread her talent to many other ensembles within the city as a current member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and having performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic. Additionally she has performed with numerous groups, including her co-principal position with the Houston Symphony, substitute principal position with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
She has recorded for RCA, Deutsche Gramophone, CRI, Nonesuch and Vanguard labels, and is most famous for her performance of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle as solo horn with the MET Opera under the direction of James Levine. Landsman has performed as a chamber musician at many festivals and concert series, including the Marlboro Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, La Jolla Summerfest, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she appeared as a guest artist with the Guarneri Quartet. This coming summer she will perform and teach at the Music Academy of the West, and the Aspen Music Festival.
World renowned as a master teacher, Julie Landsman holds teaching positions at the Juilliard School, Bard Conservatory, and teaches frequently as a guest at the Curtis Institute. She has given master classes at such distinguished institutions as Colburn School, Curtis Institute, Eastman School of Music, Mannes College of Music, Manhattan School of Music, University of Oklahoma, and University of Southern Mississippi. She is a visiting master teacher at the New World Symphony in Miami.
Her international presence includes master classes in Norway, Sweden, and Israel.
Her students hold positions in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Opera and Ballet Orchestras, Washington National Opera Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Colorado Symphony, and the American Brass Quintet. She recently received the “Pioneer Award” from the International Women’s Brass Conference and was a featured artist at the International Horn Society Conference in 2012 and 2015.
Her recent series of Carmine Caruso lessons on Youtube have lent to further fame and renown among the current generation of horn players. Landsman currently resides in Nyack, New York.
Laurie Frink has been a freelance trumpet player in New York City since the 1970’s.
She has played with Benny Goodman, Gerry Mulligan, Mel Lewis, Bob Mintzer, John Hollenbeck, Dave Liebman, Andrew Hill, Kenny Wheeler, and Maria Schneider.
In addition to her active private studio, she is a member of the faculties of New York University, New School University, Manhattan School of Music, and New England Conservatory.
She and John McNeil co-authored “FLEXUS” –Trumpet Calisthenics for the Modern Improvisor.
Since the publishing of her biography here, Laurie Frink passed away in 2013.
Bette Eilers was principal trumpet in the Chicago Civic Orchestra at the age of 17. In 1954, while in the Civic Orchestra, she performed with the Chicago Symphony under the direction of Fritz Reiner.
She also performed with the CSO in 1964 under the direction of Antal Dorati. CSO recordings she plays on include the premier of Khatchaturian’s Third Symphony under the direction of Leopold Stokowski and Stravinsky’s Firebird (complete ballet suite), Pierre Boulez, conductor.
She appeared at the Ravinia Festival performing in Berlioz’s Les Troyens and Verdi’s Requiem under the direction of James Levine. Bette has played extra trumpet for Lyric Opera of Chicago on several occasions including productions of Othello, Hamlet, Lohengrin, and two productions of Aida.
In addition to the CSO recordings, Bette recorded with Brass Works of Chicago, and played on soundtracks for the movies The Wedding, and Lucas.
She played the trumpet solo for the U.S. premier and radio broadcast of The Dark Tower by Benjamin Britten. Bette has appeared as a soloist with the following ensembles: Fish Creek Peninsula Festival Orchestra, Oak Park Symphony, Park Forest Orchestra, Community Renewal Chorus, Triton College Band, University of Illinois at Chicago Band, Northwest Chicago Symphony Orchestra, River Forest Concert Band, and the German Day Band.
She participated in a series of brass concerts in the Chicago Public Schools under a federal grant program. She was a member of the ballet orchestra for performances with Nureyev, International Dance Festival, Loop Fest, and the Nutcracker Ballet Orchestra at Arie Crown Theater. Bette has performed with a myriad of ensembles including: Music Center of the North Shore Orchestra, Fish Creek Peninsula Festival Orchestra, Park Ridge Fine Arts Orchestra, Loyola Chamber Orchestra, Kankakee Orchestra (First Trumpet), the Arlington Race Course Fanfare Group, and played trumpet fanfares at Cubs Wrigley Field games.
In 1962 she received an A.B. from the University of Chicago, with a major in Sociology. She was a group worker in a neighborhood house with teenage gangs. She has served as a faculty member of Harper College, Sherwood Music School, Vandercook College of Music, Music Center of the North Shore, Illinois Summer Youth Music at the University of Illinois, and music specialist at Morton High School and Lyons Township High School.
She taught intermediate and advanced trumpet classes for the Merit Program, Inc. At Michigan State University School of Music, she lectured on ‘How to get work as a profession musician’ (co-sponsored by MSU and Yamaha International). In 1988 she substituted for Ron Modell at Northern Illinois University while he was on sabbatical leave. She is still very active as a player and teacher. Currently she is a member of the Fort Dearborn Brass, Prairie Brass Band (Solo Cornet), trumpeter-in-residence at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Wilmette, and the Chicago Reading Orchestra. She is forming a North-Western Illinois area orchestra named the Professional Orchestra Project.
She is on faculty at the University of Illinois, Chicago, Triton College, and Wright Jr. College, and she continues to teach private music lessons. Bette is a widow with two grown children, Diana Morris who lives in Springfield, Illinois and Lou Dasaro who just graduated with a Political Science degree from the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.
Bette lives in River Forest Illinois with her Shiba Inu dog, Ming, who sings along when she plays the trumpet! Her hobbies include fishing, photography, and reading about investing.
Froydis Ree Wekre was born in Oslo, Norway. Her mother was a pianist and her father an amateur violin player. She started very early to learn piano and violin, and then turned to horn at the age of 17.
Outside of Oslo, her studies have taken place in Sweden, Russia and USA. After being a prize winner in a national competition for wind players she was offered the position of co-principal horn of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra in 1965, a position she left in 1990.
Currently, Ms. Wekre is appointed Professor of Horn and Chamber Music at the Norwegian State Academy of Music. In addition, she is active worldwide as a soloist, chamber musician and baroque horn player, as well as being sought for to give master classes and to be a member of international juries.
Her book, ‘Thoughts on Playing the Horn well’ has been translated into several languages. Numerous composers have written works for her, some of which have been recorded on the labels of SIMAX and CRYSTAL.
For two years, Froydis Ree Wekre was the president of the International Horn Society, where she is also an honorary member since 1994. Her most recent concerts have taken place in Germany, Finland and USA.
Carole Dawn Reinhart was born in Roselle, New Jersey on Dec. 20th, 1941. Her mother played trombone and started her daughter on the slide cornet at age two and a half. By the time Reinhart was 7, she was playing duets in concert with her older brother, who was an accomplished trumpeter. At age 10, she received a scholarship to study with Edward Treutel at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. She was first chair in New Jersey’s All-State Bands and Orchestras. At age 16, she was commissioned as the youngest and only woman bandmaster in the Salvation Army, and made her first international appearance as guest soloist and conductor at a youth congress in Toronto, Canada.
After graduating from high school, Reinhart received a symphony orchestra scholarship to the University of Miami, where she worked under Fabian Sevitzky and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts. A Fulbright scholarship then took her to study with Helmut Wobisch in Vienna, where she was the first woman brass player to achieve the coveted “Reifezeugnis” with honors. Reinhart then returned to New York to complete her education at the Juilliard School of Music, where she was first trumpet in the Juilliard Orchestra and received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Science degrees. Following graduation, Reinhart played regularly in the orchestra at Radio City Music Hall and in Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra. She continued as a Getzen clinician soloing with high school and college bands and various orchestras, and appeared on numerous TV shows, including the “Tonight Show”, the “Mike Douglas Show” and several Al Hirt “Fanfare” shows. In 1968, she performed for American servicemen on a USO tour of Asia during the Vietnam war.
In 1971, Reinhart moved to Berlin, Germany where she played studio sessions, filled in as principal trumpet at the “Deutsche Oper”, and built up her solo career with symphony and chamber orchestras, averaging 125 concerts a year, as well as television performances and radio recordings. In addition she made solo albums for Deutsche Grammophon and BASF with the Munich Philharmonic, German Bach Soloists, Amsterdam Chamber Orchestra and Wuerttemberg Chamber Orchestra. Her concert tours have taken her throughout Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa, the United States, Canada, and Australia, where she performed in Melbourne with the Australian Symphony for over 100,000 people with “live” national television coverage.
In 1983, Reinhart was offered a professorship at the prestigious University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. In 1994, the Vienna University Press published the book, “Carole Dawn Reinhart – Aspects of a Career”, which is now available from IWBC in an updated 3rd edition with CD. (<email@example.com> Proceeds go to IWBC) After a 40 year performance career, Reinhart ceased concertizing in 1996 but continues to be active teaching at the university in Vienna, giving master classes around the world, and serving as a juror for competitions. In 2009, with the dissertation theme, “Women Brass Musicians”, (also available at <firstname.lastname@example.org>), she earned her PhD.
Reinhart, a founding member of ITG who served on the ITG Board of Directors and performed at the 1st International Brass Conference held in Montreux, Switzerland in 1976, is the longest affiliated Getzen artist, since “Doc” Severinson gave her a Getzen trumpet on the “Tonight Show” in 1964. She has attended and participated in every IWBC conference since 1993, when she performed several solos and her Carole Reinhart Trio played a concert. She was a member of Monarch Brass on its inaugural tour in 1996 and received the Pioneer Award in 2003.
Dr. Betty Scott is a full professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia where she gives brass instruction, teaches Music Appreciation and World Music and conducts the MU Brass Choir and MU Trumpet Ensemble.
For the Honors College, she teaches a class entitled The Creative Process, among the most popular on campus, as well as other classes.
She is the winner of several academic honors, including the University of Missouri Alumni Teaching Award, Alumnae Anniversary Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching, Honors Professor of the Year, and Faculty Honors Tap for Mortar Board.
She plays ‘extra’ with The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and is a member of the MU Faculty Brass Quintet and the Clarion Brass Quintet in St. Louis.
She also performs regularly and gives workshops for the International Trumpet Guild and has performed frequently with The Classical Music Seminar in Eisenstadt, Austria.
Nadine Jansen is a multi-talented musician and performer who is as proficient on the fluegelhorn as she is on piano and vocals. She was an all-star on the trumpet and fluegelhorn in the Women’s Jazz Festival in 1983 in Kansas City and has received rave reviews in The New York Times, The Daily News, The San Francisco Chronicle, Variety, and Downbeat.
Ms. Jansen considers herself a Vaudevillian entertainer, having broken into the business with Horace Heidt’s amateur show and appearing in theaters between movies. She shared the spotlight with acts like The Clooney Sisters (Rosemary and Betty), Dick Contino, Skitch Henderson and Tony Pastor.
A native of Sacramento, California, she now calls Scottsdale, Arizona her home where she has worked with a trio for many years, and has organized and performed in many jazz concerts. Her career includes playing the Capitol Theatre in New York and the Blue Note Club in Chicago opposite Charlie Parker.
In 1987 Jansen appeared with jazz pianists Marion McPartland and Judy Roberts performing a concert at Phoenix Symphony Hall entitled ‘Women in Jazz’. She was also featured with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra guest conducted by Tania Leon. Critics, loyal fans and first-timers can attest that Jansen’s Gershwin medley has consistently inspired and delighted audiences.
Nadine Jansen is now semi-retired but performs solo acts and enjoys a weekly jam session in Scottsdale at the popular J. Chew & Company. Wynton and Ellis Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, Pete Jolly, Billy Taylor and the Modern Jazz Quartet have been known to stop in and join in the impromptu jam sessions
Ms. Jansen has two recordings available: A-Little-Taste and Ala Mood.
Since the publishing of her biography here, Nadine Jansen passed away in 2008.
“My specialty, I think,” horn legend Ethel Merker reflects, “is trying to expose young players to all kinds of music, so they will be flexible in their playing, instead of stodgy and rigid.”
In her own career, which spans five decades, Ms. Merker has followed that credo to the letter. A precocious music student who, as a sixth grader played in the high school orchestra, she took her first full-time job at age 18 with the NBC Radio Orchestra. She concurrently carried a full course load at Northwestern University, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Ms. Merker went on to play assistant first horn with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, impeccably blending and dovetailing with the phrasing of her friend, the late Phil Farkas. Numerous other symphonic, opera and ballet orchestras have benefitted from Merker’s virtuosity.
As a recording artist, she has backed such artists as the Jackson Five, Diana Ross and John Denver, and her horn could be heard on countless commercials for Marlboro, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and many others. She has also performed with Peggy Lee and Pearl Bailey.
As a valued educator, Ms. Merker has taught at many prestigious schools, including Indiana University, DePaul University and VanderCook College of Music.
Recently, she has turned her talents to horn design. Phil Farkas often brought her along to Elkhorn as an impartial judge of the famous models he helped create. In 1995, she collaborated with the Frank Holton Company on her own innovative Holton ‘Merker-Matic’ French horn line, which enjoys growing popularity and acclaim.
The wide diversity of her playing and teaching experience, along with her quick wit and irrepressible personality, provide Ethel Merker with a unique ability to communicate and inspire young people as a clinician for G. LeBlanc Corporation.
Since the publishing of her biography here, Ethel Merker passed away in 2012.
Betty O’Hara, termed herself as a ‘mostly self-taught trumpet player.’ After high school she went on the road with a girl band led by Freddie Shafer, playing the USO circuit, hotels, clubs, theaters and ballrooms around the Midwest. In 1947 Ms. O’Hara joined Al Gentile’s big band in Connecticut, playing trumpet, valve trombone, and writing arrangements and singing. Then, in 1955, she accepted the trumpet chair with the Hartford Symphony, where she stayed for five years.
She moved to California in 1960, married bass trombonist Barrett O’Hara and raised a family. Betty O’Hara co-led the female jazz quintet, The Jazzbirds, playing trombone, cornet and double-belled euphonium as well as writing original material, arranging and singing. As a founding member of the big band, Maiden Voyage, she appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Ms. O’Hara was a guest artist at many of the Los Angeles Classic Jazz Festivals where she also took part in judging young jazz musicians for scholarships offered by the festival.
Betty O’Hara passed away on April 18, 2000. She will be missed by many but her legacy as a great musician will live on.
“Clora Bryant gave an excellent account (in the book Central Avenue Sounds by by Clora Bryant, William Green, Buddy Collette) as one female working in the male dominated music arena.
She praised her father for encouraging her musical career, who sacrificed by relocating his family to Los Angeles for that purpose. Especially memorable was her frequenting the jam sessions at the Downbeat.
Cherokee was the musicians’ favorite, and when Bryant performed it, colleagues were impressed, one of them being Dizzy Gillespie. Gillespie, too, was a mentor to Bryant, even allowing her to use his horn.
Despite the fierce competition, she wanted equal treatment from her colleagues, without losing her femininity. On stage she made it clear her sexuality, as she said, ‘People thought you were playing trumpet because you had male tendencies, which I didn’t have.’ She would let the audience know as she puts it, ‘never forget I was a female . . . I always dressed as a female.’
Because she had big legs she’d wear mesh stockings with a seam up the back to look sexy. Sometimes the problems were with jealous wives and girlfriends of the male musicians and she had to prove she was there to play music.”
Since the publishing of her biography here, Clora Bryant passed away on August 23, 2019.
Jane Sager: Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Ms. Sager started playing violin at the age of six. By the time she was ten, she was appearing on a radio show playing Mendelssohn, and as a reward, her father bought her a bicycle.
She was hit by a car and the back wheel ran over her left hand and ended her violin career. In high school, Ms. Sager went down to the Moose (Lodge) Hall and picked up a Tonk horn, took it home and practiced until she literally ‘fell over.’
One of the most outspoken and active women in jazz, Ms. Sager played major trumpet roles in the all-women bands of Rita Rio and Ada Leonard.
She has also held Bobby Hackett’s chair in Katherine Dunham’s band, and played with the bands of Charlie Barnet and Johnny Richards.
Since the publishing of her biography here, Jane Sager passed away in 2012.
Born and raised in Winter Haven, Florida, Constance Weldon started playing drums in the fourth grade. She then picked up the trumpet, later playing horn, valve trombone, baritone horn all on the way to her final destination, the tuba! From that day on, Connie’s life was never the same as it constantly revolved around playing the tuba. As valedictorian of Miami Jackson High School, she was offered scholarships to all of Florida’s universities. She decided to accept an academic scholarship to the University of Miami.
While studying with Bower Murphy, the trumpet playing teacher of all brass at the University of Miami, Connie auditioned for and was accepted to the Tanglewood Music Festival in the summer of 1951. There she played under the baton of a young Leonard Bernstein as well as other promising and established professional conductors. At summer’s end, she turned down a position in the Rio de Janeiro Symphony to finish her education.
Connie completed a Bachelor of Music degree in 1952 and a Master of Education in 1953 from the University of Miami. Returning to Tanglewood in 1954, she auditioned for Arthur Fiedler and joined the Boston Pops Touring Orchestra. Connie next joined the North Carolina Symphony. In 1957 she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship Award to study in Amsterdam with the Concertgebouw tubist, Adrian Boorsma. During that time she joined the Netherlands Ballet Orkest and was acting principal tuba of the great Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Upon returning to the U.S., Connie joined the Kansas City Philharmonic for two seasons, after which she returned to Florida to join the Miami Philharmonic and teach at the University of Miami. Connie quickly established a reputation as an expert teacher, known for her prescriptive and thorough approach. In Connie’s studio, musicianship and technical teaching received equal time. As a result of her successful studio building, Connie formed the University of Miami Tuba Ensemble in 1960, the first credited group of its type at any university. In this ensemble, Connie taught a higher awareness of intonation, balance, rhythm, accompaniment skills, and solo playing with musical opinion. Her success with the University of Miami Tuba Ensemble led to interest from other universities and a proliferation of this type of ensemble throughout the tuba world. Connie’s success as a teacher also led to her becoming the conductor of the University of Miami Brass Choir, one of that school’s flagship ensembles.
From 1972 until her retirement in 1991, Connie was the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at the University of Miami. In this position she provided guidance to thousands of future musicians and teachers. Since then, she has been honored with the University of Miami Distinguished Alumna Award, the University of Miami Distinguished Woman of the Year, the World Who’s Who of Women in Education, and the Pioneer Award of the International Women’s Brass Conference.
Betty S. Glover, retired in 1992 after 40 years as a faculty member of the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. She had been Conductor of the Brass Choir from 1969-1992.
Ms. Glover was Bass Trombone and Tenor Tuba player with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Opera (1952-1985). She was Conductor of the Brighton Brass Band, a group of professional musicians sponsored by Local #11, A.F. of M (1987-1992), and Instructor of Brass and Conductor of the Band and the Brass Choir at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio (1950-1952).
Previously, Ms. Glover served for five years as Principal Trombone with both the Kansas City Philharmonic and the Columbus (Ohio) Philharmonic orchestras.
Melba Liston, 73, a pioneering jazz trombonist, composer and arranger, died April 23, 1999. She was universally known as the first female brass player to make an impact in jazz, playing in the bands of Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones. A stroke in 1985 partially paralyzed her, ending her performing career. But she continued to arrange and compose for musician Randy Weston, with the help of a computer.
Born in Kansas City, Mo., Liston met the trombone at age seven. By age eight, she was playing on a local radio station.
In 1937, Liston’s family moved to Los Angeles. At 16, she joined the musicians’ local and was writing and playing in the pit orchestra of the Lincoln Theater and later joining the band of trumpeter Gerald Wilson.
In 1949, she went on tour with Billie Holiday in the Southern United States. But it disillusioned Liston. She quit music, working for the Los Angeles Board of Education for three years, and was a movie extra plucking a harp in ‘The Prodigal’ and ‘The Ten Commandments.’
In 1955, Gillespie asked her to join his big band touring the Middle East and Asia for the State Department. A few years later, Quincy Jones formed a band to tour Europe with ‘Free and Easy’ and asked Liston to be his musical director and trombonist.
In the ’60s Liston freelanced as a player, but gigs were few. She began arranging music for MoTown performers, the Buffalo Symphony and was encouraged by Weston to compose.
In the ’70s she taught at the University of West Indies and the Jamaica Institute of Music, and in 1987, two years after her first stroke, she was awarded a Jazz Masters Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1993, she shared billing and the cover photo with Weston on their CD, ‘Volcano Blues.’
Since the publishing of her biography here, Melba Liston passed away in 1999.
Leona May Smith made her first public trumpet performance at the age of nine on WNAC radio in Boston. At 11 she appeared as a soloist with Goldman’s Band, and at 14 played First Trumpet with the Boston Women’s Symphony. Ms. Smith went on to perform with numerous bands, including Fred Waring’s, and was the first woman trumpet soloist ever to play at Radio City Music Hall.
Her frequent performances as a soloist throughout the northeastern US and Canada included appearances with the National Orchestral society and the Chautauqua Festival Symphony.
In the late 1940’s, Ms. Smith and her husband, composer and conductor George w. Seuffert, founded a summer ‘Music for Youth’ program in Newport, Vermont. Known for its teaching excellence, the music center drew talented young performers from all parts of the US and abroad.
Reflecting her lifelong interest in providing musical opportunities for children, Ms. Smith has taught trumpet privately and in the Schenectady, New York, public schools. With her husband, she founded, funded, managed and promoted the Seuffert Band in New York City, which offered free concerts to the public, and she performed as its soloist and assistant conductor.
Ms. Smith has played First Trumpet with the Brooklyn Symphony under Sir Thomas Beecham, and for 17 years was Extra Trumpet for the Metropolitan Opera. She was also featured in an NBC music education series narrated by Olin Downes.
Since the publishing of her biography here, Leona May Smith passed away in 1999.
The Beacon Award was first introduced at the 2014 conference, and given to women who have been beacons of light for those around them, both in the fields of performance and education. These women influence so many generations of musicians through their careers sharing the art of performance, and standing for the values of equity, perseverance, and excellence.
Maureen Horgan retired from Georgia College in Milledgeville GA as Professor Emeritus, capping a 45- year career as a teacher and performer. She holds degrees in Music Education and Trombone/ Euphonium Performance from the New England Conservatory (BM), Yale University (MM), and SUNY Stony Brook (DMA). In her long career, she performed with ensembles including Monarch Brass, Opera Company of Boston, Honolulu Symphony, Boston Philharmonic, Pro Arte Orchestra, Jazzabelles, and with and for such musicians as Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, YoYo Ma, Henry Mancini, Brian Wilson, and others. Maureen performed with the New Hampshire Music Festival for 33 consecutive summer seasons and has recorded on several labels. An active proponent of new music, she commissioned four work. Her solo CD of new works for trombone, “Moe’s Bit o’Blues” is distributed by the Centaur label. Maureen started teaching when she was in the 9th grade, tutoring math weekly for a community outreach program in Lowell, MA in the early 1970’s. She taught trombone and chamber music for the New England Conservatory Preparatory School for 20 years. Other teaching credits include Wheelock College in Boston, Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH, public and private schools in Massachusetts and Hawaii, and in Honduras. At Georgia College, Maureen taught brass, jazz, music education, music and civilization, and aural skills for 16 years. Maureen is a former IWBC Board member and President, and is active in outdoor individual sports.
Carla Rutschman, Professor of Music at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, began her relationship with the tuba 62 years ago, when she was recruited to play in an all-girl band that was heavy on flutes and light on brass. While in high school, she was selected to perform on the nationally-televised Ted Mack Amateur Hour. She later earned a B.A. in Music Education (University of Northern Colorado), M.Mus. in Performance (Arizona State University), and a Ph.D. in Musicology (University of Washington). At Western Washington University she founded and conducts the Heavy Metal low brass ensemble and maintains an active studio. Her students have secured positions in nationally known performing ensembles and graduate programs. As a conductor, clinician and adjudicator, Dr. Rutschman is active throughout the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Hawaii. She has been featured as a soloist at the Women’s International Brass Conference. She performed with the Peter Britt Festival Orchestra as solo tuba for 38 summer seasons and was the soloist with Manhattan Transfer in their first live performance of Tubby the Tuba. As a 35-year member of the Washington Brass Ensemble, Dr. Rutschman brought innovative musical programs to schools throughout Washington state and British Columbia. Carla Rutschman has two grown children and two grandchildren. She and her husband reside in Bellingham, with cats and tubas.
Joyce Johnson Hamilton enjoyed an early career as a professional trumpet player symphony orchestras –Oregon-principal trumpet, San Francisco-assistant principal trumpet, Oakland and San Jose Symphonies-principal trumpet and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra-principal trumpet–and as a trumpet soloist. Joyce holds bachelor and masters degrees from the University of Nebraska where she studied with Dennis Schneider. She participated in the Aspen Music festival for six years as a student of Robert Nagel and Bernard Adelstein and as member of the Aspen Festival Orchestra. After leaving the San Francisco Symphony, she received a fellowship at Stanford for doctoral study a in the performance practice of early music and conducting. At this point Joyce began to prepare for two distinctly different career paths—one as a specialist in baroque trumpet and renaissance cornetto and the other in symphonic conducting. Between 1980 and 2011 she held the position of music director with three Bay Area Orchestras–the Napa Valley Symphony, the Diablo Symphony (Walnut Creek, CA,) and the San Jose State University Orchestra. She was a frequent guest conductor/soloist /arranger with the Seoul Philharmonic in South Korea between 1981 and 2009. In 2011 Joyce Johnson Hamilton retired from conducting and is now working almost exclusively in the area of early music as a performer on baroque trumpet, cornetto and recorder) and as President of the San Francisco Early Music Society.
Beacon Award Winner and Bandmaster Peggy Thomas graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 1975 with a Bachelor’s of Music in trumpet performance and from Northwestern University School of Music in 1977 with a Master’s of Music in trumpet performance. In 1976, Peggy became the first woman in the world to gain membership in a Salvation Army staff band. As a member of the Chicago Staff Band, she served as principal cornet for almost 40 years and is presently is the Deputy Bandmaster. She has recorded extensively with the Chicago Staff Band, plus recording two solo albums, Songs in the Heart and Perspectives. In 2015, Peggy won a solo competition at NABBA (North American Brass Band Association) for ‘high brass slow melody.’ Peggy has appeared as soloist, clinician and conductor throughout the United States, Canada, Korea, Netherlands, England, New Zealand and Australia. She has performed with the Colorado Philharmonic Orchestra as well as occasionally subbed with the Chicago Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony. Peggy is a former student of Susan Slaughter, Vincent Cichowicz and William Scarlett. She joined the Territorial Music & Gospel Arts Department of The Salvation Army in 1979. The Salvation Army is a church; therefore the purpose of this department is to create opportunities and resources that enhance worship in the Army by utilizing the arts as a tool to bring people into a relationship with Christ. She has also taught at numerous music camps sponsored by The Salvation Army over the past 45 years. Presently Peggy serves as the bandmaster of the Norridge Citadel Band of The Salvation Army, one of the outstanding brass bands in the Midwest. The band participates in all worship services and has traveled extensively in the United States and Canada. In 1988, the band was invited to march in the 100thanniversary of the Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA. In 1999, the band traveled to England for a ten day tour. Since becoming bandmaster in 1983, she has produced over 50 CDs with this band. Peggy and her husband Scott have two married sons and three beautiful grandchildren.
Beacon Award Winner Mildred Kemp is a trombonist, educator and conductor who received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Louisville School of Music, having studied trombone with Ernest E. Lyon, Ernest Glover and Emory Remington. Mildred began her professional career performing with the Louisville Orchestra from 1957 to 1962, leaving then for New York City where she was a member of the American Symphony Orchestra under conductor Leopold Stokowski. Mildred performed with several other orchestras and was active as a freelance musician, playing in Broadway shows and with the Goldman Band from 1972-1976. Her time in New York was also spent as a role model for young students teaching at the Henry Street Settlement, an arts and service organization founded in 1893 and a leader in community development. In the early 1970s Mildred spent time in Wisconsin where she performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, continued her teaching at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater (then Wisconsin State University) and mentored students in various public school settings after earning her teacher certification. Moving back to the east coast, Mildred taught at Memorial High School in West New York, New Jersey, for twenty-two years where she was Piano and Choral Director. Ms. Kemp returned to Louisville in 1995 and continued teaching as well as playing as auxiliary trombonist for the Louisville Orchestra. She currently is a member of the Louisville Bach Society and Commonwealth Brass Band, maintains a private teaching studio, and is Adjunct Instructor of Trombone, Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, IN. Mildred’s career as a mentor, teacher and brass performer spans forty-three years and she is one of the earliest female low brass performers active in the East Coast performance scene.
Lois U. Wiggins, Band Director at Edythe J. Hayes Middle School in Lexington KY, has taught instrumental music for 29 years in Kentucky, Tennessee & Indiana. Ms. Wiggins received a Bachelor of Science in Music Education degree from Austin Peay State University, Clarksville TN., a Masters in Music Education degree from the University of Georgia, Athens GA. and a Rank I in Secondary Education, from Western Kentucky University. Past positions include Band Director- Daviess County High School, Owensboro KY, Band Director- North Middle School. Ms. Wiggins is currently serving KMEA as State Band Chair as well as Band Content Area Leader for Fayette County Public Schools. Lois is currently a member of the Lexington Brass Band and a former member of the Evansville Symphonic Band. Ms. Wiggins is Co-Conductor of the Central Kentucky Youth Repertory Orchestra. Ms. Wiggins has conducted honor bands in Tennessee and Kentucky and has served as an adjudicator at Concert Band, Marching Band and Solo & Ensemble Festivals throughout Tennessee & Kentucky. Wiggins has also served as a clinician at the KMEA In service Conference and the Tapestry Multicultural Conference. Professional affiliations include: Phi Beta Mu Band Masters Fraternity, National Band Masters Association, Women Band Directors National Association, Sigma Alpha Iota & Phi Delta Kappa. Lois U. Wiggins was recognized as “Outstanding Young Band Director in Kentucky” by Phi Beta Mu in 1992 and “Outstanding Bandmaster in 2010. She was selected “Middle School Teacher of the Year” in the Second District KMEA 1996 & 1999. Ms. Wiggins was named KMEA Middle School Teacher of the year in 2000.
Tanya M. Bromley received her Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Eastern Kentucky University, and her Master of Music Education (minor in Trumpet Performance) from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music. Bromley taught instrumental and vocal music in Kentucky public schools for twenty-seven years. From 1997-2003 she was Assistant Band Director of the Tates Creek High School Bands, Lexington, Kentucky. In addition, she has taught brass methods, instrumental methods, and student teaching supervision at the university level. She currently supervises student teachers at Morehead and teaches brass master classes and lessons in the Lexington area. Bromley has served in several leadership capacities in the Kentucky Music Educators Association, including band chair of District 6, President of CKMEA (District 7-11), and member of the KMEA State Board of Directors. She has severed as President of the Kentucky Chapter of Phi Beta Mu and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kincaid Regional Theater, Falmouth, Kentucky. She frequently serves as a guest clinician and adjudicator for band festivals, honor bands, and camps throughout the state.
Mary Scaggs received a Bachelor of Music Education from University of Kentucky, a Master of Music from University of Cincinnati and a Rank I in Music and Drama from the Kentucky Department of Education’s Continuing Education Option. She has been teaching elementary music in the Northern Kentucky area since 1986 and is currently teaching in Fort Thomas, KY at three elementary schools. She instructs students in grades K – 5 and is the Fort Thomas Children’s Choir Director. Scaggs is completing a three-year position as Kentucky’s chairperson for NAfME’s Music in the Schools Month, is KMEA District 6 President and is a student teacher supervisor for Northern Kentucky University. Scaggs received the Kentucky Music Educators Association “Elementary Music Teacher of the Year” award in 2005, along with numerous other awards throughout her career.
Performer and conductor Jo-Ann Christen received her Bachelors of Arts in Music Education from Montclair State University, and her Masters in Bass Trombone Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Principal trombone teachers include James Hartmann (Baltimore Symphony), Ed Erwin (New York Philharmonic), Ward Moore (New Jersey Symphony), John Clark (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra), and Arnold Fromme (American Brass Quintet). On trombone, Christen has performed with the New Jersey Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera Orchestra, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Northwest Chamber Orchestra. As a conductor she has been a student of Erik Leidzen, Eric Ball, Vernon Post, Melvin Strauss, Emil Kahn and William Clark. Christen was Founding Director and Conductor of the Mid-Summer Musical Retreat, and has conducted the Seattle Civic Band, Rainbow City Band, Rain City Symphony, Boeing Concert Band and Orchestra. In addition to performing and conducting, Christen has remained active in music education, teaching vocal and instrumental music at all levels, and has had students placed at Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Oberlin College Conservatory, and many more. Christen has been active as a Salvation Army Band musician, and is in her thirtieth year conducting the Rain City Women’s Chorus in Seattle, a group she founded in 1984.
Lifetime Service Award
The Lifetime Achievement Award was first introduced at the 2014 IWBC conference, and is given to honor those who have achieved a high level of success in the field of music, through a career dedicated to the highest level of performance, education and outreach. The life work of these women has touched so many generations of audiences, students, and fellow musicians through their careers sharing the art of music. Our Lifetime Achievement Awardees are outstanding examples of dedication, professionalism and integrity.
American born conductor Michelle Rakers was the Senior Assistant Director for “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra from 2004 – 2018. In that capacity, she led the band and orchestra in countless high profile programs at the White House, in Washington, D.C., and across the country. She conducted ensembles for White House State Dinners, advised and conducted ensembles for White House ceremonies, and led the band on many national tours. Ms. Rakers is in high demand as a conductor and clinician across the world. She has regularly conducted the Slesvigske Musikkorps in Denmark since 2014 and has conducted groups such as the Maryland Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony Brass, members of the Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester in Denmark, and the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. She was a resident at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki in 2015 and 2016 and has been a guest conductor at many universities across the United States. Her career with the Marine Band began in 1998 after she won a national audition for a trumpet position. She then auditioned and was appointed to the Assistant Director’s position, becoming the first female conductor and first female commissioned officer in the history of “The President’s Own,” a position that she held since 2004. Ms. Rakers earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, her Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance from Northwestern University, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Music Management from the University of Evansville.
Major Michelle Rakers was presented with the Lifetime Service Award at her retirement ceremony from The United States Marine Band on April 30, 2018 in John Philip Sousa Band Hall at the Marine Barracks Annex in Washington, D.C. IWBC Board members Kelly Watkins, Susan Slaughter, and Ginger Turner were in attendance to present her with this recognition.
Ginger Turner recently retired from 27 year tenure performing with The United States Army Field Band. Her career has included playing principal trumpet, performing featured solos with the concert band, leading a brass quintet and presenting numerous master classes nationwide. She was the designer and coordinator of the widely-used instructional video, A Trumpeter’s Resource. Turner also developed the program “Building a Better Brass Section through the development of the Brass Quintet” which has been presented at major music conferences around the country. This program has created opportunities for students to excel while providing leadership training in one lesson plan, emphasizing individual responsibility in learning. A longstanding and active member of Monarch Brass, Turner has enjoyed playing and touring with the ensemble since 2008.
Passionate about education, Turner has been involved with the International Women’s Brass Conference since 2003. She currently serves as a board member, chair of the Susan Slaughter Solo Competition and the Ginger Turner Ensemble Competition, and annually produces the Holiday Brass Concert in Baltimore, Maryland.
Ms. Turner has studied with greats of the trumpet world such as Marie Speziale, Susan Slaughter and René Hernandez. She holds a Bachelors degree in Music Education and a Masters Degree in Trumpet Performance from Arizona State, studying with David Hickman.
Turner is a Conn-Selmer Educational Artist.
Jan Duga is a freelance tubist and educator in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. She served 30 years in The United States Air Force Band, Washington D.C., until her retirement in 2013 as a Chief Master Sergeant. In addition to her performing duties, Jan was a tour manager for the Concert Band and in charge of several organization-wide duties including personnel, administration, auditions and marketing/outreach.
Jan graduated from The Ohio State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Music Education degree and a Master of Music degree in solo tuba performance from Arizona State University in 1982. Her teachers include, Robert LeBlanc, Raymond Nutaitis, Arnold Jacobs, Michael Bunn and Paul Krzywicki. She also taught in the Chillicothe, Ohio public school system. Jan has been a featured soloist at both the 1992 and 1998 ITEC. A charter member of the Board of Directors of the International Women’s Brass Conference (IWBC), she served as secretary for 3 years, and was honored at the 2012 conference with the first Lifetime Service Award. She is the current Conference Co-Chair for IWBC and Manager of Monarch Brass.
The IWBC President’s Award honors those who have been steadfast supporters of our activities and mission. We salute these award winners for showcasing true professionalism, and living their lives with a dedication to equality and service.
Award Presented by IWBC President Joanna Ross Hersey
Deanna Swoboda, 2019 Conference Host, is Associate Professor of Music at Arizona State University, where she teaches tuba and euphonium, Entrepreneurship and Music courses, coaches chamber music, and designs creative music performances. Prior to joining the ASU music faculty, Swoboda was Associate Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at Western Michigan University where she was a full time member of the Western Brass Quintet. Prior to WMU, Ms. Swoboda was tubist of the Dallas Brass, a 6-piece ensemble that travels the United States and Europe presenting hundreds of concerts each year and working extensively in the public schools and at colleges and universities. Swoboda is also the creator and performer of a motivational recruiting video and music workshop called “Band Blast Off.” Swoboda has taught at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, at the University of Northern Iowa, University of Denver, University of Idaho. As an international performer and clinician she has been a guest at the National Conservatory of Madrid (Spain), Deutschen Tubaforum–Hammelberg (Germany), The Higher School for the Arts in Porto, Portugal, and the St Petersburg Conservatory in St Petersburg, Russia. As a clinician and performer, Swoboda has appeared at the national and northwest regional conventions of Music Educators National Conference (MENC) on numerous occasions, the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, International Women’s Brass Conference, The Army Band Tuba Euphonium Conference, International Tuba-Euphonium Conferences, and for state music educator associations. Deanna Swoboda is a Past President for I.T.E.A., the International Tuba Euphonium Association. Her mentors are Roberts Spevacek, Rex Martin and Sam Pilafian. Her solo CD, “Deanna’s Wonderland,” was released on Summit Records in 1999. Her solo CD is entitled “Shamanic Journey” and features the music of women composers. “Table for Three” is a CD featuring music for low brass trio, recorded with ASU brass colleagues John Ericson and Douglas Yeo. It is available at Summit Records. “Fanfare and Flourish” is a tuba euphonium quartet recording featuring the music of women composers. It is published by Potenza Music and available at CD Baby.
Award Presented by IWBC President Joanna Ross Hersey
Maestro Roger Bobo is an American tuba virtuoso and brass pedagogue. He retired from active tuba performance in 2001 in order to devote his time to conducting and teaching. He gave what is reputed to be the first solo tuba recital in the history of Carnegie Hall. His solo and ensemble discography is extensive. He is the author of “Mastering the Tuba” published by Editions Bim (CH). While living in the USA, he was the resident conductor of the Topanga Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been a guest conductor with numerous orchestras and chamber ensembles in North America, Europe and Asia.This next Summer, Maestro Bobo will be at Italian Brass Week in Firenze., at Bobo Festival of Brass in Pennsylvania, at Pasadena, at Windsor…. then in China. Roger Bobo currently resides in Oaxaca, prior he taught at Musashino Academy of Music in Tokyo. He served as faculty at the Fiesole School of Music near Florence, Italy, at the Lausanne Conservatory in Switzerland, at the Rotterdams Konservatorium in the Netherlands, and at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England. Roger holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music. Major orchestral appointments include:Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Erich Leinsdorf, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam, Bernard Haitink, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta, Carlo Maria Giulini, André Previn.
Award Presented by IWBC President Joanna Ross Hersey
Philip Biggs was born into a brass band family and started to play the cornet at the age of five. The following 30 years saw him play with bands in the South of England before retiring as a player in the late 1980s. From this point Philip pursued a career in promotion and marketing, taking this up full time in 1996. Philip’s first notable foray in this new direction was in 1989 when he teamed up with Richard Franklin to be the founders of the All England Masters Contest in Cambridge. Since then “the Masters” has grown in stature and has become an permanent international fixture in the brass band calendar.
In 1996, Philip was appointed by the London Symphony Orchestra as Event Manager for the 1997 European Brass Band Championships held at The Barbican Centre in the City of London. In the same year he was appointed Administrator for The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and has been instrumental in ensuring the very best tutors are used on their courses to teach and inspire the next generation of brass players. He expanded his role and was appointed administrator of the National Children’s Brass Band – highlighting his commitment to the future brass bands. Philip was appointed Contest Controller of The British Open Brass Band Championship in 1991 by the late Harry Mortimer C.B.E. In August of 1998 Philip was appointed Administrator of The Brass Band Summer School, succeeding Gordon Higginbottom.
Philip has since become the administrator for such prestigious events as the Spring British Open Festival in Manchester, the Brass Arts Festival at Regent Hall, London, the 2002 International Trumpet Guild Conference at the Royal Northern College of Music and the RNCM Festival of Brass. As well as his work within the Brass Band field, Philip takes pride in presenting brass playing in all its forms. His company, Philip Biggs Brass Festivals (PBBF) has engaged world class acts such as Canadian Brass, Boston Brass, The Wallace Collection, Fine Arts Brass Ensemble, Hallé Brass, London Brass and The Don Lusher Big Band in addition to renowned conductors and soloists including Bramwell Tovey, Elgar Howarth, Maurice Murphy, Allen Vizzuti, John Wallace, Vince DiMartino, James Watson, Nicholas Childs, Jens Lindemann, Robert Childs, Roger Webster, Rex Richardson, David Daws, David Childs, Phillip McCann, James Shepherd, Sheona White and Steve Sykes. In recent times Philip has also very much enjoyed working with London Symphony Orchestra Brass.
In August 2003 Philip launched The Brass Herald, a five times a year, 92 page all-colour magazine covering all aspects of brass playing, from Salvation Army Bands to Big Bands, Conservatoire Brass to Brass Bands. The all-encompassing nature of the magazine is helping to create a better understanding across the boundaries of brass playing – to the benefit of all.
Philip was made a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians of the City of London in April 2003, and in June of the same year the Freedom of the City of London was also afforded to him. In 2004 he was appointed a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians of the City of London. Philip launched the Great Northern Brass Arts Festival at The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester in September 1998 and such has been the success of this annual festival, it is now generally recognised as the foremost non-competitive festival in the brass world today. Building on its success, Philip launched the Great Northern Spring Brass Arts Festival at The Bridgewater Hall in May 2010.
Since the publishing of his biography here, Philip Bigg’s passed away on September 11, 2019.
Susan Slaughter Award for Leadership
The Susan Slaughter Award for Leadership is being presented for the first time at our 2017 conference, to a true legend in the field of music. Marin Alsop has been a champion of equality, and her career sets the highest example of professionalism and outreach. This award is given by IWBC Founder Susan Slaughter in grateful appreciation for a career spent making a difference for women in music through a lifetime of service.
Marin Alsop’s outstanding success as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 2007 has been recognized by two extensions in her tenure, now confirmed until 2021. As part of her artistic leadership in Baltimore, Marin Alsop has created bold initiatives that have contributed to the wider community and reached new audiences. In 2008 she launched ‘OrchKids’, which provides music education, instruments, meals and mentor ship of the city’s neediest young people. Engaging the local community, the BSO Academy and Rusty Musicians schemes also allow adult amateur musicians the chance to play alongside members of the orchestra under Alsop’s baton. 2016 saw Alsop and the orchestra celebrated the BSO’s centenary with Joshua Bell, and host the League of American Orchestras annual conference.
Alsop took up the post of Principal Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) in 2012 and became Music Director in July 2013, with her contract now extended to the end of 2019. She continues to steer the orchestra in its artistic and creative programming, recording ventures and its education and outreach activities, as well as their annual Campos do Jordão International Winter Festival. Alsop led the orchestra on European tours in 2012 and 2013, with acclaimed performances at the BBC Proms in London, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and further concerts in Berlin, London, Paris, Salzburg and Vienna. In 2016 the orchestra returned to Europe once again for concerts at the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International and Lucerne festivals.
Marin Alsop now conducts the world’s major orchestras, with recent and forthcoming highlights including the Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, La Scala Philharmonic, Budapest Festival and Danish National symphony orchestras, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. She has a close relationship with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE), appearing with both most seasons. She is also Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre in London. In September 2013, Marin Alsop made history as the first female conductor of the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms in London which she returned to conduct in 2015.
She returned to the Proms in 2015 and 2016 to conduct the OAE in an all-Brahms programme and Verdi Messa da Requiem on period instruments. 2015/16 highlights included a historic return for an American musician to Cuba, conducting Lang Lang and the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba. In March 2016, Alsop celebrated Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary conducting Bernstein West Side Story in the Knockdown Center, a restored factory in Queens, and she will form a significant role in the world’s centenary celebration of Leonard Bernstein. In 2016/17 Alsop returns to London for performances with the BBC Symphony and Royal Philharmonic orchestras and brings the Britten-Pears Orchestra to Southbank Centre before returning to a residency in Aldeburgh’s Snape Maltings.
July 2016 marked Marin Alsop’s 25th and final year as Music Director of California’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, where she has built a devoted audience for new music. Building an orchestra is one of Alsop’s great gifts, and she retains strong links with all of her previous orchestras including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (Principal Conductor 2002-8; now Conductor Emeritus) and Colorado Symphony Orchestra (Music Director 1993-2005; now Music Director Laureate).
Marin Alsop is the recipient of numerous awards and is the only conductor to receive the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, given to US residents in recognition of exceptional creative work. She was only classical musician to be included in the Guardian’s “Top 100 women”, celebrating the centenary of International Women’s Day in 2011. Alsop is an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, London and the Royal Philharmonic Society and was recently appointed Director of Graduate Conducting Program at the Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute.
Alsop’s Prokofiev cycle on Naxos with OSESP continues, following an extensive Naxos discography including a notable set of Brahms symphonies with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem with the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra and a highly-praised Dvořák series with the BSO. Other award-winning recordings include Bernstein’s Mass (Editor’s Choice, Gramophone Awards 2010) and Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto (Grammy Award 2010). Alsop has also recorded for Decca Classics, Harmonia Mundi and Sony Classical.
Born in New York City, Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her Master’s Degree from The Julliard School. Her career was launched when, in 1989, she was a prize-winner at the Leopold Stokowski International Conducting Competition and in the same year was the first woman to be awarded the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize from the Tanglewood Music Center, where she was a pupil of Leonard Bernstein.
IWBC Circle of Excellence
At the 2014 conference a special group of women who made an important impact on the lives of many were honored. These women answered the call of our nation, and beginning in World War II served our country as musicians. When it became clear that the war was going to involve the service of all available men, the United States government enlisted women to take over many jobs on the home front. Playing music was one of those jobs. Bands were formed in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps. Shortly after the war, the Air Force also formed a band of women. While most of these women served only for the duration of the war years, some bands remained active. The women’s band programs concluded in the 1970s. The Circle of Excellence Award is given to all women from all services who served as musicians during and after World War II. The IWBC salutes their service. The biographies of three women who served, and attended the 2014 conference are included here.
Sylvia Greenstein, of Hackekensack, NJ, served in the WAC band from 28 September 1943 to 6 February 1946. She was among those performing at New York ports when soldiers departed and returned and she was there to welcome home the soldiers, who were prisoners in German POW camps. She says she had fun in the band. Not all of it was a hardship, but a lot of it was, such as playing on the pier when the soldiers came off the ship on stretchers and wheels chairs. Fun at the pier was meeting somebody you knew going off to war and coming home. Her most fond memories are from playing on the ship that brought back the POW’s from Germany. The band usually stood on the pier, but this time, they were invited on the ship by the Captain. She recalls one man who never came up on the ship all during the voyage home. Apparently he was badly disfigured from being burned when his plane went down, so they assumed. When he heard that the WAC band was playing on the ship, he came up. Sylvia didn’t sleep for two weeks after that.
Sylvia was born in Bayonne, NJ and brought up in a small town of NJ — Carteret. Carteret was a small industrial town between Perth Amboy and Rahway located in the center of the state of NJ. Sylvia graduated from Carteret High School where she was a member of the high school band. In her senior year, she played in the state solo contest and was given second rating. One of the judges was Arthur Pryor, the composer of “The Whistler and his Dog.” She graduated in the year 1940. Hadn’t touched the baritone again until she was in the WAC band. Sylvia said the WAAC was formed in 1942, but she was too young to join. The age at that time was 21 and she was only was 20. At that time, a neighbor brought over a newspaper article saying the army needed musicians. All they had to do was play. So she said she would join but she was too young. Never having been away from home, she was scared to death to go. She prayed the war would be over before she reached her 21st birthday. In the meantime, Sylvia kept telling everyone she was going to join the Army! The age limit was lowered to 20 the month before her 21st birthday. Her neighbor came over to tell her she could now join. Sylvia said she waited all this while, and will wait until she was 21 — still praying the war would be over (life was so different in her youth than it is today).
The war was not over, and since she told everyone she was going to join, she did. There was a big ceremony when she went in. They saved a great number of them up and they were sworn in at Rockefeller Center. Sylvia was standing in front of the fountain and getting all wet during the swearing in. She knew she was being sworn into the Army but I did not know she had to be baptized at the same time!! From there she was put on a train and sent to the 2nd WAC training center in Daytona Beach, FL. and was assigned to a basic training company, and after she finished basic, she was assigned to Band #1 and she play baritone horn. There were two bands at that training center. The 401 band was formed. The band director of band #l was M/Sgt. Celia I. Merrill, who was authorized to compose a band from the 2 bands, and then they were sent to Ft. Hamilton, Brooklyn, NY as the 401st. And while she was with the band, it was always the 401st. Sylvia said being in the Army during WW2 was awesome. She was extremely proud to walk down the street in the uniform of the US Army, and being a veteran of WW2 is awesome, too. Sylvia’s vanity license plate reads WW2 WAC. She says she is just flaunting her pride. Some of the additional jobs were for recruiting drives, entertaining the wounded soldiers at hospitals, and incidentals such at marching down 6th Ave. when the name of the street was changed to The Avenue of the Americas. One day when they had off, they were recalled back to play a concert in the general’s back yard because his wife was entertaining some ladies. The general was very apologetic and to make up for that, he invited the band to take a cruise on his yacht!!! Unfortunately Sylvia promised to give a pint of blood and she was called to do it the day the band went on the trip.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jeanne Pace, from Tacoma, Washington, planned to enlist in the Air Force, following in the path of her parents and her sister. When she found that the Air Force band sought college-educated musicians. she turned to the Army. Enlisting in the WAC in July 1972, she began her career with the 14th Army Band (WAC), then the only band assignment open to women. She has since served in many Army bands, being stationed in Panama, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps at Fort Myer, Va., and Fort Jackson, S.C. Pace was assigned to her current station, Fort Hood, in 2009 to join the III Corps G-1 as the USF-I, J1 executive officer on their recent deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn from 2010 to 2011. Her awards include two Legion of Merit ribbons, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, six Army Meritorious Service medals, Joint Service Commendation Medal, three Army Commendation Medals, Joint Service Achievement Medal, four Army Achievement Medals, four Army Good Conduct Medals, three National Defense Service Medals, Iraqi Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Medal, and a Superior Unit Award. She has also been awarded the Infantry Order of Saint Maurice, has received the Adjutant General’s Corps Horatio Gates Gold Medal twice, and now the DAR Margaret Cochran Corbin Award. Forty-one years have passed since Pace joined the Army, and she is still serving the nation. In her words, “I believe I still have something to offer and I still enjoy my job.”
Born and raised on a farm outside of Griswold, Iowa, at the age of eighteen trombonist Dixie Jensen enlisted in the Army in 1960, completing basic training at Fort McClellan, in Anniston, Alabama. Since this was during the time the Army did not formally train female musicians (the males received six months of training), her musical training was limited to her school bands where she started on trombone in the fourth grade. Her high school band director recognized her talent and spent many a happy hour playing duets with her and challenging her musically. She remained stationed at Ft McClellan for the next sixteen years of her career, playing with the 14th Army Band (WAC), also known as the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) Band. She retired in 1983 after twenty-three years of service. Her various tours of duty included being the first female First Sergeant/Enlisted Band Leader of a band other than the WAC Band. After retiring Dixie completed a bachelor’s degree and went to work for The Boys and Girls Club, staying for over twelve years. In 2004 Dixie organized a reunion of women who served in the WAC Band, noting “It was amazing when we held the first reunion…such wonderful teamwork, no matter whether we had been in the band during the ’50s, ’60s or ’70s.” Still an active performer in her seventies, Dixie performs in the Calhoun County Community Band and is organizing the next WAC Band reunion for 2014. The reunions conclude with a concert by the WAC Band open to the public and attended by people from all over the United States –and Dixie still leads her trombone section.
The Women’s Army Corps (WAC) bands began in WWII with five all female bands, the 400th through the 404th Army Service Forces (ASF) Bands. The 404th ASF band was classified as “Colored,” and was the only non-white women’s military band formed during the war. While all the women’s bands faced some ridicule and discrimination at times, the African American band faced special challenges. Please visit the Pioneer Display this week at the conference for more information on this and all the bands. After WWII ended, the bands were all deactivated. In 1948 the 400th ASF Band was reactivated and designated the 14th Army Band (WAC), stationed at Ft Lee, VA. When the Army moved the WAC Center and School from Ft Lee to Ft McClellan, AL in 1954 the WAC Band moved to its permanent and final station. The 14thArmy Band was integrated with men in 1976 and the designation WAC dropped from the title. The last person to sign in to the WAC Band was named Robert and he is considered a member of the WAC Band. The WAC Band was the longest lasting of all female military bands, and it’s members are a special sisterhood.
IWBC regularly honors people who have passed on but whose contributions to the brass community live on.
Helen Kotas Hirsch (1916-2000) was Principal Horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1941-1947.
Born in Chicago, she became Principal Horn of the Women’s Symphony of Chicago while still a senior in high school (1932-33).
She attended the University of Chicago, where she majored in psychology and studied horn with Louis Dufresne, Principal Horn of the NBC Radio Symphony in Chicago. When Rodzinski took over as music director in 1947, he re-hired Philip Farkas as Principal Horn, which demoted Hirsch to section playing. She left the CSO at the end of that season.
From 1950-58 she played Principal Horn in the Grant Park Symphony and was the original Principal Horn of the Lyric Opera of Chicago from 1954-59. From 1960-65 she played third horn in the Lyric Opera section.
She was a passionate teacher, serving on the faculty at the American Conservatory of Music, Wheaton College, and the Sherwood Conservatory of Music.
Ernestine “Tiny” Davis (1907-1994) grew up in Memphis, TN. At 13, after hearing the trumpets in the school band, she asked her mother for one. She got her only instruction in school and practiced “two or three hours a day.” Later, Louis Armstrong became her biggest influence; she would listen to his records and play along with them.
She moved to Kansas City, then a hotspot of jazz, played in nightclubs for “two dollars a night” and listened to other musicians around town. During the mid-1930s, she toured with the Harlem Playgirls. In 1941 Jesse Stone recruited her for the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, then the best-known and most touted all-female big band.
Nicknamed “Tiny” because of her large size, she became a feature attraction, singing and playing trumpet with them for almost 10 years. In 1947 she left the band to form her own group, Tiny Davis and her Hell Divers. They played the Apollo and other New York clubs. After touring Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Trinidad, she settled in Chicago and kept on playing. “Never done nothin’ else but blow the trumpet,” she said.
She and her partner Ruby Lucas owned Tiny and Ruby’s Gay Spot in Chicago during the ’50s. Tiny & Ruby: Hell Divin’ Women, a 1988 film about them directed by Greta Schiller and Andrea Weiss won Best Documentary at the San Francisco Film & Video Festival. She died in 1994.
See this website for more information: http://archives.susanfleet.com/documents/international_sweethearts_of_rhythm.html
Dorothy Miriam Ziegler (1922-1972) distinguished herself in her career as a trombonist, pianist, opera coach, and conductor. She was born in Muscatine, Iowa and her father was a musician, bandmaster, and music store owner. Her mother taught music and played piano, clarinet, and oboe and her younger brother, Frederic, played tuba and drums while serving in the United States Navy.
In 1943 she earned a bachelor of music degree with distinction, with a double major in trombone and piano, from the Eastman School of Music. Her performances on trombone in the All-America Youth Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski during 1940 and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra under Serge Koussevitzky from 1941 to 1942 paved the way for her first professional job as trombonist with the National Symphony Orchestra for the 1943-1944 season.
In 1944, she won the Principal Trombone position with the St. Louis Symphony. At the same time, she continued to study with pianist Earl Wild, and in 1946 she received a master of music degree in piano performance from the University of Southern California. In 1947, she earned a performance certificate from the American Conservatory in France.
In 1947, she was hired as the St. Louis Grand Opera Guild’s accompanist. Thereafter her most significant work was as a vocal coach and conductor, primarily of opera. In 1955, she became the guild’s conductor and artistic director, a post she held until 1964.
During her twenty years with the St. Louis Symphony, Ziegler taught at the St. Louis Institute of Music, Washington University, and the University of Southern Illinois, but in 1964 she left St. Louis to teach at Indiana University, where she directed the Indiana University Opera Theater. From 1966 to 1971 she taught at the University of Miami, primarily as director of the University of Miami Opera Theatre, but she also played trombone in the University of Miami faculty brass quintet.
Ziegler died of cancer on March 1, 1972, in South Miami, Florida at the age of forty-nine.
Penny Turner Young Artist Award
The Penny Turner Young Artist Award launched in the spring of 2018. The award is a scholarship competition created by IWBC Board Member Ginger Turner in honor of her late mother, Penny Turner. The competition is open to all female brass players between the ages of 12-18; their music teachers or private instructors may nominate competitors.
In early 2021, applications were accepted for the fourth annual Penny Turner Young Artist Award, a scholarship competition created by IWBC Board Member Ginger Turner in honor of her late mother, Penny Turner. The competition is open to all female brass players between the ages of 12-18; their music teachers or private instructors may nominate competitors. After review of the applicants by a select committee,
Amaya Sydor, a bass trombonist from Manitoba, Canada was selected as the winner.
Amaya’s commitment to music, as well as her successful pursuit of a breadth of musical opportunities is detailed in the nomination letter submitted by her teachers, Wendy Zander McCallum and Meaghan Graham:
Amaya is an exceptional musician that has excelled in her school program, in the Brandon University Symphonic Band, and in competitive opportunities at the provincial and national level. Each year, she has played in local honour ensembles – the Westman Honour Band and our provincial Manitoba Honour Band. In her grade 11 year, she was accepted for the bass trombone chair for the prestigious National Youth Band of Canada (Ages 16-22). In addition to playing the bass trombone, Amaya is also a talented tenor trombone and euphonium player. Amaya studies privately with Dr. Aaron Wilson, and she consistently receives recognition from festival adjudicators and masterclass leaders. Because of Amaya’s focus, she is able to participate with Brandon University’s School of Music students in advanced ensembles and contribute meaningfully in these settings. Accompanying her musicianship skills, Amaya is a strong academic, a volunteer, and a student leader. At Vincent Massey, she leads sectionals and provides individual coaching for peers from multiple divisional programs. Through nomination by all instrumental music educators in the Brandon School Division, Amaya received the Manitoba Band Association’s Marlene Stephen Memorial Leadership Award. Amaya has also received scholarships from Vincent Massey High School, the Brandon Festival of the Arts and the Westman Jams. These scholarships have helped her invest in her development as she has attended events including the International Music Camp (IMC) and the Manitoba Honour Band programs. Earlier this year, Amaya performed in the Brandon Festival of the Arts where she won the sole brass award, the Beta Sigma Phi Trophy. She was also the recipient of the “Ken Epp Award” at the Dauphin (Manitoba) band camp and received the ‘Outstanding Camper Certificate” at IMC (North Dakota). In-person ensembles have been paused in the Brandon School Division and at Brandon University since March 2020, but Amaya has shown great resilience . Despite challenges of the pandemic, Amaya has persevered and thrived in her studies this year. She has connected with musicians across Manitoba, Canada and North America and is working on various projects. We would be pleased to answer additional questions about Amaya Sydor’s continuous pursuit of excellence and her generous and humble contributions to music and music education.
Amaya has received a $400 gift certificate from Dillon Music, a one-year membership to the International Women’s Brass Conference, free conference registration, and will be highlighted as part of our Brass Flexibilities Series.
Congratulations Amaya – we wish you continued success and hope to see you at one of our conferences in the future!
Hattie Asker, a trumpet and flugel player from London, UK was selected as the winner.
Hattie’s commitment to music, as well as her successful pursuit of a breadth of musical opportunities is detailed in the nomination letter submitted by her private instructor, Bruce Nockles:
Hattie, 15, is a trumpeter and flugel player from London, UK. From the age of 8 to 11 she had trumpet lessons in a group at school before auditioning for a place at the Junior department of the Trinity Laban Conservatoire where she studies trumpet.
Five years ago Hattie joined the junior section of Kinetika Bloco, a British carnival band. She now plays with the main Bloco through which she has visited Oslo where she performed for the Norwegian Royal family, been on tour to New Orleans and played at venues including Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and the Royal Albert Hall.
At age 12, Hattie set up and ran a brass band for children in the community, arranging parts according to the notes the children knew. Every December, the band leads a community Christmas sing-along. She assists a local music teacher with the running of a community brass band, taking responsibility for coaching the beginner players, some of whom she also gives lessons to at home.
At Junior Trinity Hattie studies trumpet and performs in the wind orchestra, brass quintet and Big Band. She regularly plays lead trumpet in the quintet and takes solos in Sam Bullard’s Big Band, performing with each ensemble in some of London’s iconic venues including Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College.
Hattie has received a $400 gift certificate from Dillon Music and a one-year membership to the International Women’s Brass Conference.
Congratulations Hattie – we wish you continued success and hope to see you at one of our conferences in the future!
After review of the applicants by a select committee, Rachel Petrovich, a trombone player from Vienna, Virginia was selected as the winner.
Rachel’s dedication to music and her drive to create opportunities are detailed in the nomination letter submitted by her private trombone instructor, John McGinness:
In addition to excelling as a two-year member of the Symphonic Band at Kilmer Middle School, as an eighth grader Rachel helped found the Kilmer Jazz Band Club. She coordinated with her faculty advisor and band director, Sharon Bonneau, to recruit members, select music, and lead rehearsals. At James Madison High School Rachel auditioned into the Wind Symphony as a freshman and has served as its Principal Trombone during her sophomore year. She is also a member of the JMHS Jazz Band and the JMHS Marching Band. Rachel earned a place in the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors’ Association District 12 bands as a freshman and a sophomore, placing high enough in the January 2019 audition to be one of four trombonists from District 12 qualified to audition for Virginia All-State Band.
In her community Rachel is the manager, arranger, composer, and trombonist for “The Vienna Essentials.” This ad hoc performing group was formed in 2016 by Rachel and several friends and performs regularly at nursing homes and community events. Rachel composes and arranges songs for mixed woodwind, brass, and string ensembles for these performances.
Rachel has received a $400 gift certificate from Dillon Music and a one-year membership to the International Women’s Brass Conference.
Congratulations Rachel – we wish you continued success and hope to see you at one of our conferences in the future!
After review of the applicants by a select committee, Brigit Johnson, a euphonium player from Santa Fe, New Mexico was selected as the winner.
Brigit Johnson began her musical career by studying piano at 6 years old, and then starting the euphonium at 11 years old. During her freshman year of high school she joined her school’s marching band, the Santa Fe High School Demon Pride Band, and went on to become drum major beginning in her sophomore year. During her time with the Demon Pride Band she participated in the District 4 Honor Band and Southwest Honor Band, in addition to being chosen for the New Mexico All-State Band three times, and the NAfME All-National Honor Band three times. Brigit has studied under Laura Eberhardt, William Waag, Robert Chrisman, and Kevin Wass. For the 2018 school year she will be a rising senior at Santa Fe High School, and hopes to major in music education in college.
The nomination letter from Brigit’s private instructor, Laura Eberhardt, details her dedication to music:
“Brigit has consistently received superior and excellent ratings at the District Solo and Ensemble Festival, beginning her 6th grade year after playing for 6 months. The last two years she received the “Best in Room” plaque performing college level repertoire.
As well, Brigit has made numerous honor bands, including District 4 Honor Band, New Mexico All-State, Southwest Honor Band, the Fort Lewis College Select Band Clinic, and the NAfME National Honor Band. This year she placed first chair in the New Mexico All-State Symphonic Band.
Brigit is also a committed member of the community music scene. She plays trombone in the Santa Fe Youth Symphony, and euphonium in the Santa Fe Concert Band and High Desert Winds. The Concert Band and High Desert Winds are both primarily comprised of adults, and I am always impressed with Brigit’s poise and maturity when playing with adults. Even at a young age, she understands that music can blossom into a lifelong pursuit.”
Brigit has received a $400 gift certificate from Dillon Music and a one-year membership to the International Women’s Brass Conference.
Congratulations Brigit – we wish you continued success and hope to see you at our 2019 conference in Arizona!