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Alain Barker
Director, Marketing and Publicity, IU Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Friday, September 30, 2011

IU Jacobs School of Music to present concert to celebrate the life of tuba titan Harvey Phillips

Sept. 30, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music will host a "Festival of Friends" musical celebration honoring the life and career of Distinguished Professor Emeritus Harvey Phillips in the Musical Arts Center (MAC) at IU Bloomington on Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. The free event, which will take place almost a year after Phillips' passing, will include performances from faculty, distinguished alumni and students from the Jacobs School.

Harvey Phillips

Harvey Phillips

Print-Quality Photo

"What an opportunity for our school and the profession to pay tribute to one who means so much to our musical world and who created and shaped the very landscape we now traverse," said Jacobs School of Music Dean Gwyn Richards.

"We are thrilled to celebrate the incredible life and accomplishments of Harvey Phillips," said Dan Perantoni, professor of tuba. "It's especially meaningful to note that the event takes place in the MAC, where Harvey hosted the first International Tuba/Euphonium Symposium in June of 1973, shortly following the center's opening.

"Students and colleagues from all over the world will be here to honor and remember our wonderful friend, teacher, mentor and, for most of us, our biggest hero," he added.

The upcoming celebration includes performances by ensembles Phillips innovated such as Octubafest, TubaSantas, Tubajazz Consort, Brass Quintet and a Mass Tuba Ensemble that will feature around 75 tubas.

Phillips has been called a "titan of the tuba," who profoundly changed the public perception of the instrument and its musical offerings. His music career began as a teenager with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Band. From 1950 to 1971, he maintained an enviable freelance career in New York City, performing, recording and broadcasting with famous artists, conductors, bands and orchestras. In 1954, he was a founding member of the New York Brass Quintet.

Following years as personnel manager for Symphony of the Air, Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky and Gunther Schuller, as well as years at the New England Conservatory as vice president for financial affairs (1967 to 1971), he was appointed to the IU faculty. For 10 years (1986 to 1996) he served as executive editor of The Instrumentalist magazine.

His honors included Principal Tuba, Circus Hall of Fame Band (selected by Merle Evans); Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service to Music Medal (1979); Association of Concert Bands "first" Mentor Ideal Award (1994); Sousa Foundation Sudler Medal of the Order of Merit award (1995); National Band Association Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts Award (1995); United Musical Instruments Lifetime Achievement Award (1996); American Bandmasters Association Edwin Franco Goldman Award (1996); Rafael Mendez Brass Institute Lifetime Achievement Award (1997); Colonial Euphonium-Tuba Institute Development of Musical Artistry & Opportunities Award (1997); Phi Mu Alpha Orpheus Award (1997); among others.

Harvey Phillips Day has been celebrated by the New England Conservatory (1971) and his hometown of Marionville, Mo. (1976). In 1985, the governor of Missouri declared a Harvey Phillips Weekend. Phillips received an honorary doctor of music degree (1971) from the New England Conservatory and an honorary doctor of humanities (1987) from the University of Missouri. In 2008, he was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.

Phillips was the founder and president of the Harvey Phillips Foundation, which administers Octubafest, TubaChristmas, TubaCompany and TubaJazz. In May 1994 he retired from IU with the title distinguished professor emeritus.

Phillips died on Oct. 20, 2010. In his memory, the Jacobs School launched a blog that includes photographs, media stories and remembrances, which is available online at