Itay Agmon and Alexander Lapins score tuba positions

Itay Agmon, a sophomore pursuing a bachelor’s degree in tuba performance, recently won the solo tuba position with the Minnesota Opera, beginning January 2016.

Alumnus Alexander Lapins, DM, won the permanent tuba/euphonium position as an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

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Jeff Nelsen and Sylvia McNair featured in first TEDxIndianaUniversity event Nov. 13

Nelsen_Jeff-2015The first-ever TEDxIndianaUniversity event will feature two prominent Jacobs School of Music faculty members at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13, in the IU Auditorium.

Jeff Nelsen, professor of horn, will emcee “Eyes on the Stars, Feet on the Ground,” which will also feature Grammy-winning soprano Sylvia McNair, senior lecturer in voice.

Seven other presenters share the bill. Check out the full line-up here, and purchase tickets here.

Nelsen as well as fellow Jacobs faculty member Alain Barker, director of music entrepreneurship and career development, also serves on the board of TEDxIndianaUniversity. The group hopes to hold events annually.

McNair_Sylvia.2013.smallerThe organization will bring together innovative thinkers from across the university and larger community to explore ideas for our collective future. At TEDx events—“x” indicating an independently organized event—a combination of live presenters and TEDTalks videos sparks deep conversation and connections at the local level. The 2015 IU event is fully organized and produced by students.

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Founded in 1984, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with many initiatives.

Enjoy Jeff Nelsen’s 2011 TEDxBloomington presentation on “Fearless Performance.”

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Brass Concerto Competition Winners Announced

This year, two students were named co-winners of the Brass Concerto Competition:

Kyle Gordon, bass trombone student with Professor Stewart, playing Daniel
Schnyder’s subZero

Brennan Johns, euphonium student of Carl Lenthe, playing the Lisjak Concerto.

Brennan will perform with the Symphonic Band on March 31st and Kyle with the Symphony Orchestra on April 15th.

Congratulations to you both!

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Visiting Assistant Professor of Tuba and Euphonium/Jazz

gail robertsonGail Robertson (euphonium MM 1989) recently completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts from Michigan State University as a University Distinguished Fellow. She now teaches at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas. Robertson also just released her second CD with Dr. Stacy Baker (tuba) SymbiosisDuo – “Playground.”

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William Gerlach appointed as Principal Trumpet in National Symphony Orchestra

IU aWilliam Gerlachlum William Gerlach (BM ’12) was appointed as Principal Trumpet in National Symphony Orchestra earlier in September.

This is one of the biggest, if not, the biggest appointment of any trumpet student to come through the IU trumpet program. William studied with John Rommel (2008-2012), and was appointed as the new principal trumpet in September.

William Gerlach began his position as principal trumpet with the National Symphony Orchestra in the 2014-2015 season. Growing up in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, he started playing trumpet when it was time to join the 6th grade band. William (Billy) earned his undergraduate degree at Indiana University under the instruction of John Rommel. During his time at IU he attended the Aspen Music Festival, once as a member of the Third Street Brass Quintet, and once as a New Horizons trumpet fellow. In the fall of 2012 he began his master’s degree at Northwestern University with Barbara Butler and Charles Geyer and followed them to Rice University in the Fall of 2013. Other significant teachers throughout his studies include Mark Niehaus, Christopher Martin, Thomas Hooten, Raymond Mase and Kevin Cobb.

More Information Here:

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Mirari Brass signed by Ariel Artists

The Mirari Brass, a brass quintet that originated at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, has been signed by Ariel Artists, a management agency in Boston. Three of the five members are graduates of the Jacobs School of Music: Alex Noppe, trumpet, Jessie Thoman , horn , and Sarah Paradis, trombone.
Mirari will be recording their second album in May 2015 (hoping to release in fall 2015). The quintet continues to be commissioned for several works of the genre including collaboration with Indiana University Alumnus Clint Needham.  The piece for Brass Quintet and Wind Symphony will be premiered with The Ohio State Wind Symphony in spring 2016. The Mirari Brass Quintet also has several residencies at universities, including the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.


More information here:

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Mike Walker (DM) appointed Visiting Lecturer II at the University of New Mexico

Walker_Mike_squareThe Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Horn Area is excited to announce that
Mike Walker (DM) has been appointed to a Visiting Lecturer II at the University
of New Mexico. Mr. Walker will be teaching the horn Studio, brass pedagogy and
performing with the faculty woodwind and brass quintets. Mr. Walker studied with Jeff Nelsen while pursuing his DM degree in horn. Mr. Walker commented that, “I feel extremely well prepared to step into this environment with
amazing new colleagues and students. Indiana University was a great training
ground for my new position and I cannot wait to share some Hoosier traditions
among my Lobos students”.

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Former Jacobs professor dies at 96

By Carolyn Crowcroft

Professor Emeritus William Adam of the Jacobs School of Music died Nov. 25 at the IU Health Hospice House in Bloomington. He was 96 years old.

Adam, a renowned trumpet pedagogue, taught at Jacobs for 42 years, from 1946 to 1988.

Born in 1917 in Kansas City, Kan., Adam began playing the trumpet at age seven. He took his first lessons from Ben Foltz, a former cornetist with the John Philip Sousa Band.

Adam’s determination to master the instrument carried on throughout his childhood. According to a Jacobs press release, he used to take rides from his Fort Collins, Colo., home to Denver to study under Denver Symphony Orchestra trumpet player John S. Leick. At the age of 16, he left home to play professionally in the Hal Kemp Orchestra in California.

During his time in California, Adam also played for the Lucky Strike Hit Parade and the Los Angeles Civic Orchestra as well as a number of radio shows. He also attended Pasadena Junior College and the University of California-Los Angeles.

During World War II, Adams returned to Colorado to join the army at Ft. Logan in Denver. Though he failed to pass the physical examination due to a previous injury, Adam worked for the Remington Arms Munitions Factory.

Following his service, Adam completed his studies at the University of Colorado at Denver and Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, earning a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance.

Adam taught music in high schools in Colorado and performed in hotels and radio orchestras. In 1948, he earned his master’s degree in music theory and composition from  Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.

In 1946, Adam began his career as a professor at Jacobs, where he worked until the late 1980s.

John Rommel, a trumpet player and professor of music at Jacobs, studied privately under Adam.

Though he was already playing professionally when he started taking lessons with Adam, Rommel said he was feeling discouraged by his trumpet playing, and it was Adam who helped turn his attitude around.

“He always said you can accomplish whatever you want if you just stay positive and focus on a task,” Rommel said. “He changed the way I thought about pretty much everything, but definitely the trumpet. His outlook kept me in music.”

Rommel said over the years, Adam’s earned a devoted group of students who were touched by his influential teaching skills.

“There have been a lot of great teachers at Jacobs, and he’s one of them,” Rommel said.

A celebration of Adam’s life will be at a later date. Members of Adam’s family have requested memorial contributions to be made to the William Adam Trumpet Scholarship through the IU Foundation.

Condolences can be shared online at  as well as on the Jacobs School’s blog.

© Indiana Daily Student 2013


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Remembering Professor Emeritus William Adam

William Alexander Adam, 96
Oct. 21, 1917 – Nov. 25, 2013

You are invited to leave your thoughts and remembrances about this extraordinary trumpet pedagogue. Please scroll to the bottom of this page to submit your comments.

Bill AdamThe Indiana University Jacobs School of Music mourns the loss of Professor Emeritus William (Bill) Adam, 96, who died on Nov. 25 at the Indiana University Health Hospice House in Bloomington.

Adam taught trumpet at the Jacobs School of Music for 42 years, from 1946 to 1988. After his retirement, he continued to teach privately at his home through Oct. 14, 2013. He is widely considered to have been one of the greatest trumpet pedagogues of the 20th century.

“If it was not for William Adam and his philosophy of teaching, I might very well have quit playing the trumpet in my mid-twenties,” said John Rommel, Jacobs professor of trumpet, who knew Adam for the past 30 years and studied with him privately. “His inspirational approach to teaching and dedication to his students made him one of the most influential trumpet teachers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. All those who studied with him take great pride in sharing his natural approach to playing the trumpet with their students. This ensures that his philosophy of teaching, caring and personal attention to his students will be continued for generations to come.”

Adam was born on Oct. 21, l917, in Kansas City, Kan., to Andrew Walker Adam and Wilda Blose Adam. He grew up in Fort Collins, Colo., graduating from Fort Collins High School at the age of 16. He began taking trumpet lessons at the age of seven from Ben Foltz, third cornetist with the John Philip Sousa Band.

When Adam was 11 years old, he hitchhiked from Fort Collins to Denver twice a week to study trumpet with John S. Leick, who was the first trumpet player in the Denver Symphony Orchestra. Adam left home at the age of 16 to play professional trumpet in California in the Hal Kemp orchestra with Skinnay Ennis; he also played for the Lucky Strike Hit Parade, the Los Angeles Civic Orchestra and numerous radio shows.

During the years he was in California, Adam attended Pasadena Jr. College and the University of California in Los Angeles. In the summers, he played at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco with Ennis, and with the Joseph Serpico band at the Yellowstone Grand Canyon Hotel.

He returned to Ft. Collins to join the army at Ft. Logan during World War II. Due to a previous injury he was unable to pass the physical for active duty but worked at the Remington Arms Munitions Factory for six months. Adam then attended both the University of Colorado at Denver and Colorado State College in Ft. Collins, earning his bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance.

Adams’ first teaching job was as band director at Rifle High School in Rifle, Col., in l940. He was there for one year before taking a job as band director at Englewood High School just outside Denver so he could play professionally. On the weekends, he played at the Brown Palace Hotel. He was first trumpet for the KOA Radio orchestra and played with the Denver Symphony Orchestra. During the summers, he attended Eastman School of music, earning master’s degrees in music theory and composition from l947 to 1948.

Adam taught at Englewood High School for three years, where he met the love of his life, Dorothy Tiemann. They were married in February l945. He took a job at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in the fall of 1946, where he taught trumpet for 42 years, retiring in l988. After his retirement, he continued to teach trumpet privately at his home through Oct. 14, 2013.

Throughout his career, he earned numerous awards, including the 2002 Robert A. Phillips Service to Music Award, Mentor of Trumpet Players World Wide, the 2004 James B. Calvert Outstanding Music Educator Award from the Indiana Wind Symphony and the 2004 Lifetime Trumpet Teaching Award from the International Trumpet Guild.

He is survived by his three children and their spouses: Donald Walker Adam and Rita Hambidge Adam, Diane Adam Davis-Deckard and Donald L. Deckard, and William Walker Adam and Pam Faith; five grandchildren: William Lee Davis, Andrew Walker Adam, Haley Summer Adam, William Alexander Adam and Malcolm Walker Adam; one great-grandchild: Graham Bertram Davis; a sister: Elizabeth Adam Ward, a niece, two nephews, two cousins and their families, and hundreds of devoted trumpet students. He was preceded in death by his parents and an infant son, William Alexander Adam.

There will be no funeral and no visitation. A memorial service and celebration of life will be planned at a later date. Allen Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

The family requests no flowers. Memorial contributions can be made to the William Adam Trumpet Scholarship through the Indiana University Foundation.

In addition to the form below, on-line condolences may also be expressed at, a site set up by the family including photos and more.


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Alumnus tubist Kevin Wass in recital at Jacobs Tuesday, Nov. 5

Wass_Kevin.2013FA.headshot.uneditedJacobs alumnus and tubist Kevin Wass will be in recital with his wife, Jacobs alumna and pianist Susan Wass, Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. in Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Kevin Wass, associate professor of tuba and euphonium at Texas Tech University, holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan, a Bachelor of Science in Music Education degree (summa cum laude) from Dana College in Blair, Neb., and a Master of Music degree and Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University.

He has performed with a wide range of ensembles, including the Disneyland All-American College Band, the Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra, the Omaha, Lincoln, and Honolulu Symphony Orchestras, Santa Fe Pro Musica, and various brass chamber groups. Solo appearances have included competitions in the United States, Canada, and the Czech Republic, and recitals and concerto appearances at colleges, universities, and regional and international tuba-euphonium conferences.

Wass’s teaching experience is equally varied, with experience as a band and orchestra director at the elementary and high school levels as well as private studio and classroom teaching at the college level. In addition to his duties at Tech, he has served on the faculty of the Las Vegas Music Festival and currently serves as principal tubist of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra. His principal studies have been with Fritz Kaenzig, Daniel Perantoni, Harvey Phillips, and Craig Fuller.

A long-time member of the International Tuba-Euphonium Association (ITEA), Wass has served on the board of directors of the organization as conferences coordinator and was founding chair of the ITEA Harvey G. Phillips Awards for Excellence in Composition.

Wass_Susan.2013FA.headshot.uneditedCollaborative pianist Susan Wass performs regularly with string, woodwind, and brass artists in recitals and conferences throughout the United States and abroad, including the International Tuba and Euphonium Association’s international conferences in Linz, Austria; Regina, Saskatchewan; Tucson; and Cincinnati; and regional conferences in Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, and Nevada, as well as the annual Big 12 Trombone Conference in Lubbock, Texas.

She specializes in flute and tuba/euphonium repertoire and has played with such artists as Carol Wincenc and Jean Ferrandis on flute, Oystein Baadsvik, James Gourlay, and Tim Buzbee on tuba and Steven Mead, Brian Bowman, and Ben Pierce on euphonium.

Wass attended the University of Houston, where she studied piano with Ruth Tomfohrde and Abbey Simon. She completed her master’s degree at Indiana University, where she studied with Leonard Hokanson. She has held the position of senior staff accompanist at Texas Tech University since 2002 and especially enjoys playing new music as well as rarely performed music.

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