Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The 99-Tuba Salute

Last October I noted the passing of tuba player Tommy Johnson. As I wrote then, you may not have heard his name, but you've heard him -- if nowhere else, playing the "shark music" in JAWS.

My husband was privileged to attend the memorial concert in honor of Johnson last Sunday at USC's Bovard Auditorium. Among those participating in the concert was film composer Bruce Broughton. A college friend of my husband's played the euphonium.

As described by the Washington Post (subject link), the tribute included a performance by 99 tubas. My husband told me that among the 99 were the first chair tuba players from several symphonies, including Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Orange County.

Although it currently appears to be down, Johnson's family and friends have started a website, www.tommyjohnson.org, to preserve the history of Johnson's life and career.

Enjoy the Washington Post's account of the concert honoring the man composer-conductor John Williams called "one of the great instrumentalists of his generation."

(Hat tip: L.A. Observed.)

Update: National Public Radio now has a report on the concert posted on the NPR website, with a link to their radio story. The radio piece includes a brief recording from the concert and some of the music from JAWS. Well worth the minute and a half of your time.

Wednesday Update: Many thanks to Kevin Roderick at L.A. Observed for the link.

It's rather curious that the Los Angeles Times has ignored a wonderful "arts" story in its own backyard.


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