A man of extraordinary humanity, as well as his obvious and well-known talent and hardwork. His contribution to Tuba playing is well publicized. He was always ready to support his students and former students, and helped them in every possible way. Prof Phillips always asked how you were and meant it – and would do what he could to help.
I met him most recently in New York some years ago. It was cold snowing and outside – and he was cheerful, chipper and excited by another TubaChristmas. As always he was fun, focused and interested in my life, and how he could help.
An amazing life that should be celebrated far and wide. The world is better for Harvey Philips, and I am a better person for having known him.
Pingback: In memory of Harvey Phillips | 1929 – 2010
He always had a smile on his face when most professors didn’t!
I studied with Harvey at IU from 1977-1981 and have too many fond memories to enumerate. He was an extraordinary musician and teacher as well as the most inspiring human being I encountered in Bloomington. Through word, music and deed he taught me so much. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
I was a fan of Mr. Phillips during my high school years. I switched from trumpet to the tuba with the goal of someday studying with Mr. Phillips. 10 years later, I performed in Detroit for concerts recorded by National Public Radio and was excited (terrified?) to learn that Mr. Phillips was my stand partner! Later that year, he invited me to serve as his teaching assistant at Indiana University (1980-83) when his Assistant took an orchestra position in Europe. I said yes (of course!) and I literally dropped everything, packed my car and left for Bloomington the following day.
During my time at IU Mr Phillips was unusually generous with his time and he and his wonderful family opened their home to me and my family.
I last saw him at the induction ceremony for the Classical Music Hall of Fame at the International ITEC Conference.
Mr. Phillips was a groundbreaking performer whose playing and teaching style transcended his instrument. He was an extraordinary mentor and teacher.
He was a brilliant and great and good man. I can’t imagine where the tuba, brass, and music world would look like today had Harvey Phillips had not served as our indefatigable advocate.
He was a once in a life time teacher who was unusually generous with his time. He, Carol and the boys graciously and generously opened their home to me and my family. I always knew that I was welcome to stay at their home anytime.
Mr. Phillips was a wonderful man, and everyone in the tuba world and in music (especially brass musicians) is better off today because of the his work. I am not special. Dozens or possibly hundreds of students from New York, or New England Conservatory, or Indiana University, or across the world have had similar experiences. I have missed the excitement of working for Mr. Phillips. He was brilliant. He was a great man. He was a good man.
In addition to teaching tuba playing and music, Harvey believed strongly that tubists needed to be entrepeneurs, to *create* opportunities for themselves and others the way he did with his foundation. Many of his successful students have done just that — commissioned music, created ensembles, supported venues. Making music is a tough way to make a living, but Harvey taught and led by example. Made me tired just watching him. 🙂
Thank you Harvey. Thank you Carol, and the rest of the family, for being part of his students’ lives. I’m sorry for how hard his decline must have been on all of you.
Harvey!!!, thanks for what you’ve made for the tuba world and the music. Because you now the tuba have a place at the music world. I rmember your nice words when you came last time to Spain. I love you forever!!!
Harvey!!!, thanks for what you’ve made for the tuba world and the music. Because of you, now the tuba have a place at the music world. I remember your nice words when you came last time to Spain.
I love you forever!!!, thanks for your music, your sound, your
thougths, and for being an inspiration for thousands and thousands of tuba players.
I was fortunate to be coached, mentored and helped by Harvey during my years at IU (79-81, 83-84). His generosity extended beyond the time he gave in teaching, and he encouraged and supported the dreams and aspirations of anyone who came to him. It is impossible to play music without acknowledging our indebtedness to Harvey.
The thoughts and prayers of the music community are with his family.
I was a student of Dr. Phillips in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I’d heard all the stories (and there were many). I’ll never forget my audition in his office. A circus poster of “Gargantua the Gorilla, the most Terrifying Creature Alive” loomed above his desk.
My terror quickly dissipated to awe and wonder as I spent time with him as a student. A musical genius, there is not doubt. However, from working under his direction, I was taught innumerable life skills that I continue to strive to put in to daily practice.
I went on to a career that does not involve a brass instrument. However, Dr. Phillips is by a great distance, the greatest life skills teacher I ever had. There are countless instances in my life in dealing with other folks that I will consciously wonder: “How would Dr. Phillips handle this?”
You see with him, it wasn’t just about excellence in music or your chosen profession that was important to him. Dr. Phillips generously folded you into his family and his world in such a way that you simply could not help but emerge a better person.
A continuing testament to the excellence of the Jacobs School of Music that they hosted the genius of Dr. Phillips. As he himself spent his life extolling the virtues of other great men and women, may we all strive to honor the legacy of this true Giant of a great man. God bless you Dr. Phillips. I know you are being met today with a hearty “Well Done!”
A great and kind man and a total musician. Joining Bill Bell and others under the big top for and real celebration. Missed here by all of us who knew him and even more of a loss to those who never had a real chance to know him. Thank You Carol and family for sharing Harvey and cold cucumber soup with …
i cant believe that his gone. he is probably one of the most influential tubist in our industry. we will all miss him.
I am writing a short appreciation of Harvey Phillips for the program ALL THINGS CONSIDERED — later today and would like an audio sample of his playing asap. Can anyone help me?
I too was one of the fortunate to have studied with Harvey at Indiana University from 1979 – 1984, including one year as his teaching assistant. Since learning the news yesterday morning I feel very empty inside. I asked my wife today, “who will believe in me now that my parents and Harvey are gone?” Harvey was simply that important to me and countless other people over his amazing life. It is a fact that I would not be the man that I am today and would not have achieved all that I have in life had it not been for my being one of Mr. Phillips’s students. Harvey Phillips will live on for many, many years through all who knew him; not only from his musical example, but also, (if certainly not more) from his example on how to live life and be a human being.
Thank you for everything Harvey. You were truly loved and will be missed forever.
I met you for the first time in 1978 when I was a high school tubist interested in coming to Indiana University and then had the privilege of being your student for six years. I owe you such a tremendous debt of gratitude , Mr. Phillips, for the love you instilled in me for music of all kinds, for having tremendous confidence in me as a player, musician and person, and for taking a genuine interest in me throughout my life. Whenever our paths crossed you ALWAYS asked about my work and my family and I knew you really cared. I will never forget the conversation we had when I told you about the birth of my daughter Samantha and you sounded like a proud grandfather.
You were not just my teacher-you were my advocate. You were always cheering me on! Just hearing your voice on the phone was as comforting as speaking to a member of my family. Some of the greatest times of my life were spent during those days when I was learning from you. Not a day goes by that I don’t use something you taught me, not just about music but about life. I can still hear that booming voice ask me to walk to Village Pantry to get you a can of tuna and a nice, firm apple.
As sad as I am about your passing, I know your legacy lives on in your students and you will continue to cheer us on from the sidelines. As I thought about your passing today, I was reminded in a powerful way why I do what I do. You made such a significant difference in my life and I can only hope I can do the same for my students. Your are bigger than life to me, Mr. Phillips, and I will miss you deeply. With my love and gratitude, Jay
I knew, during my time at IU (2003-2008), that i did not have the fortune to have known Mr. Phillips in times of good health. In the few years since i left Bloomington, i have come to realize that I am even less fortunate than i previously thought! In rapt attention, i have listened to story after story from his colleagues and students that have recreated the image of a uniquely extraordinary man, blessed with a tremendous mind and a generous soul.
Amazingly, I am still uncovering every advantage and privilege i’ve had as a tuba player and student that is directly related to his profound influence.
Thank you, Mr. Phillips, for your life’s work, because we know that your legacy will inspire artists long after we’re gone
I was fortunate to be Harvey’s Associate Instructor as well as to study with him from 1989-92. I vividly remember my first cold experience as a TubaSanta, riding the fire truck downtown to play around the square. After just about freezing to my mouthpiece, Harvey would take all of us to the Irish Lion and treat us to warm food, plenty of beer, and hearty camaraderie. He taught us all the importance of serving others first, of doing so with a generous spirit, and of remembering that we were much more than music students…we were a family. Years later those lessons, like so many others, still resonate within me and guide me in my life. To have him as a teacher, a mentor, and a friend was a rare blessing, and I will miss him. Although no tribute seems worthy, a musical one seems the most appropriate.
Blues for Harvey
I was a student of Harvey Phillips from 1985-1991. His enormous generosity, love of family, work ethic, dedication, loyalty, and boundless energy are unsurpassed. There are no words to express the gratitude I have for him and his family. Not a day has gone by that I do not reflect on his musical and life lessons. The collective musical world is better because of his efforts. We will miss you.
I spent a year assisting Harvey with the editing of his autobiography while I was a master’s student at IU, three or four years ago. I think I learned more from my afternoons at the TubaRanch, hearing him talk about the way he lived his life, than I did from all of my university education. He was one in a million.
I wrote a much longer tribute and reflection about my time with Harvey. It’s here on my website if anyone cares to read it.
I am so fortunate to have been Mr. Phillips’s student from 1980-1984. One of the greatest inspirations in my life as a young musician was reading Mr. Phillips’s profile in The New Yorker magazine in the mid 1970s, when I had only been playing the instrument for a year or so. It was at that moment that I really knew that it was possible to be a great musician as a tubist – that the sky was the limit. Then I remember meeting Mr. Phillips a few years later, at a master class he gave at high school regional band event in Pennsylvania. What an inspiration that was! I had never heard the tuba played that way before, and as anyone who ever met him knows, Mr. Phillips’s personality was truly larger than life. With all that in mind, what a thrill it was to be accepted as his student at IU.
Studying with Mr. Phillips was a real privilege. I’ll never forget Octubafest at TubaRanch, or riding on a fire truck in a Santa suit! I’ll never forget preparing for my first recital at IU, and how much Mr. Phillips helped me and gave me confidence.
He was a great inspiration to me. I always remember the way he advocated and encouraged his students to be diverse in their interests – to play orchestra music, band music, chamber music, to write and arrange music, to play jazz as well as classical, and to understand the music business – to be able to organize events, and to create your own opportunities.
And that’s exactly what I did. I was not Mr. Phillips’s greatest student, by a long shot. But if there’s one thing I learned from Mr. Phillips, it’s that there are many ways to have a life in music. I’ve had a successful career in orchestra management, and there’s hardly a day that goes by when I don’t think about the lessons I learned from Mr. Phillips.
One of the things I always like to do with my orchestras is appear as Santa Claus, as a special “surprise” at our holiday pops concerts. I think I got that from Harvey. How he loved to share music, and to bring a smile to people’s faces.
What a musician. What an artist. What a great man. I’m proud to say I knew him, and proud to say he was my teacher. I’ll never forget him.
I had the good fortune to work with Harvey at The Instrumentalist magazine in Chicago, when he was a consulting editor and I was editor. The pace always picked up when Harvey came in for a visit. His way of going about business was eye-opening. Harvey was so full of ideas, and he was always ready to pick up the phone and make things happen with his unbelievable list of personal contacts. I remember seeing him open his address book and noticing his annotations of people’s spouses, birthdays, children, and so on. He took a genuine interest in people’s lives, including mine, and I am indebted to him for the advice he gave me, not to mention the opportunities he sent my way. I was always impressed, too, that career was not everything to Harvey; he lit up when he talked about Carol and their sons. What a wonderful contribution he made with his life.
Harvey Phillips cannot be truly gone, because his influence in my life is as pervasive as ever. I still owe my career to his intercession; I still tell Harvey stories; I still tell Harvey jokes. Now that I am writing this, I realize with some trepidation how it has to be now that he has passed away: it is now the responsibility of us who were his students, friends and colleagues to keep his memory and legacy alive. Because we enjoyed having this amazing man as mentor and teacher, now it is up to us to be the best musicians and people that we can be, and so to honor his influence and teaching. Harvey, thank you. I will miss you, but I promise I will continue to tell your stories, and (when the company is appropriate to the content) tell your jokes.
Thanks for everything MAESTRO. You will always be with us.
I first met Mr. Phillips at the 2nd TubaChristmas concert in New York in 1975 when I was 14 years old. I still have my autographed copy of the book of Alec Wilder’s arrangements of the carols. I studied with him at IU from 1979-1983 and we stayed close for the rest of his life.
Things I will always remember and always teach to my students:
The Tuba is 95% flesh.
Always be true to the music.
Encourage great composers to write for our instrument.
Create your own opportunities.
Honor your teachers.
I share in the grief felt by my classmates, fellow alumni, family, and tuba players throughout the world. Yes we will miss you, but our lives have been so enriched by your life that you will always be a part of who we are. If we do what we are supposed to do, then our students will also be inspired by your work and you will live on through them and through their students for generations come.
Goodbye to my teacher, mentor and friend. You will always be in my heart.
Many years ago, Indiana University hosted a band from a Japanese university in a joint concert with the IU Wind Ensemble. At the social event following the concert, I noticed that Professor Phillips had quietly entered the room. After asking around, I found a Japanese tuba player and pointed out Harvey Phillips to him. Within seconds, Professor Phillips was surrounded by excited Japanese tuba players.
Although not a tuba player myself, I sometimes wished that I was so I could have the opportunity to study with this great man.
As great a musician as Harvey was, he was a better person. This world is a better place because of the life of Harvey.
When he would come to Tubachristmas in Dallas. He would always want to have Tex-Mex food for lunch with an appropriate number of margaritas. I think I’ll have one tonight and be thankful that I knew such a fine person.
I studied with Harvey from 1978-80. I went on to become an English teacher, then a professor of educational psychology. I loved the time I spent with Harvey- he once mused during of lesson of all the fortunes he had made and spent. The biggest thing with him was…him. Big singing voice, big instrument, and more than anything, big heart. Tonight my son, who is a music education major at Auburn, will play in Octubafest here. I will stand up and say a little something about studying with a man who remembered all about me the last time I saw him, even though it had been more than 20 years. The ripples of passion and love of music and the tuba go on and outward…
Harvey is gone. His performing career and tireless efforts to promote brass music and tuba in particular, are a matter of public record will long be remembered and appreciated by generations to follow.
As a teacher and mentor, the testimonials of admiration, affection, and gratitude shown by his students and collegues pour in and show that his life influenced many and that his influence will be felt for years to come…..there was and is only ONE Harvey Phillips…..RIP…………………
Neither my wife nor I play a musical instrument, but we have been longtime fans of the tuba and Harvey Phillips. We had the privilege of shaking his hand and thanking him for TubaChristmas at the Washington, D.C. event a few years ago and will miss him a great deal. The world is a lesser place without Harvey Phillips. – Woody Hinkle
I had the fortune of studying with Mr. Phillips from 1986-1993 while a music education major at Indiana University. Not much can be said that hasn’t already been said other than my personal testimonial of Mr. Phillips’ influence on my life. I, like many others, had not much training before arriving at IU. My high school band director told me before I auditioned for the School of Music a little bit about who I would be audition in front of. Never having lessons other than a few before Solo and Ensemble competition, I was extremely nervous going into the audition. I didn’t even have my own instrument! Mr. Phillips’ big firm handshake and warm, welcoming smile melted away my nervousness. Few years later when I had problems with my grades, Mr. Phillips was the first one to speak up on my behalf to get me reinstated with the music school.
My wife Debbie, who became one of his favorite tuba elves during TubaChristmas seaon, and I still fondly recall being in the kitchen at the TubaRanch with him and Mrs. Phillips. While we helped out with food, we learned some treasured lessons in the kitchen that we still do to this day. That is just the way it was with Mr. and Mrs. Phillips, they were always very caring and interested in you – not just as a student of music but as a student of life.
Mr. Phillips, thanks for you have done for me and for all your other “students of life” over the years. God Bless, with love and appreciation.
I only once met Harvey, but from the day I met my father-in-law, Fred Schmitt, Sr., co-founder of the New York Brass Quintet and Harvey’s roommate when the Quintet was on the road, I heard about Harvey every time we got together: “Harvey Phillips, greatest tuba player that ever lived!” Visiting Harvey at the Tubaranch about five years was the high point of my father-in-law’s last years.
Harvey was Vice President at NEC when he changed my life – at my freshman registration he uttered the words formed my life’s path – “He’s with Swallow” – then he taught me to move walls… – never will I forget!
I didn’t know what to think when I read of Mr Phillips’ passing — he always seemed indestructible, a living monument of the most humane kind, a wonderful musician and teacher, and one of the few professors I remember with unalloyed affection from my time at IU (1981-86). He was exceptionally kind and supportive of me, and I was especially grateful because I was something of an oddity in his studio as a euphoniumist (I was odd otherwise as well, but he took that in stride and actually encouraged me too). He really made you feel like you meant something and that he was glad to have you as his student, whereas we were the ones who were really lucky and had no clue how fortunate we were and how rare he was. His zest and gusto for living were enormously heartening, and I had the privilege of cooking immense amounts of chili for two post-senior recital bashes that he attended, one of which was mine. (In fact I wasn’t planning a reception at all until he said at one of my lessons “I’m really looking forward to your chili afterwards!” to which I said “uh — right, there’ll be plenty!” and started mentally budgeting. It was a great time.) His kind of generosity and joyous spirit should be at the core of all teaching. I will think of him often.
I met Harvey in 1955, he then was a member of The Army Field Band.
The place was the repair shop who his friend M/sgt Tony Zavarella
was is charge, he picked up Tony’s BBb bellfront King tuba a without warming up
started with the low F below the staff, followed by a scale to double high Bb. C, D, E, and F, remember these notes are all above middle C, and performed with out warmup.
Tony said Rex meet my dear friend Harvey Phillips
There are so many memories of Harvey Carol, and the boys that it would fill a book .
I will miss my friend so much, his dedication to music, the tuba, both playing and improving the instrument, that many will benefit from all his efforts.
Rest in peace Harvey
Generally, in the music business, instrumentalists who are in training are requested by their teachers to play their instruments as singers sing. Within my teaching of singers over a 30 year period I have consistently requested that my singers sing as Harvey Phillips plays the tuba. His performances are the supreme model about how the singing elite should sing!
Although I was greatly saddened to learn of the death of this titan of the tuba after such a long debilitating illness, I was amused to read in the New York Times obituary of Harvey’s persistent ploys to get composers to write works for his instrument with nothing but dogged determination — he kept phoning me for three years in the late seventies begging for a piece for tuba and string quartet and sent me his recording of the Dave Baker work for that combination, and I finally wrote him a half-hour Quintet for Tuba and Strings just to shut him up. My “reward” from Harvey was a trip to New York for the January 10, 1980 Carnegie Hall concert where my piece was first played. It is one of my deepest regrets that Harvey was never able to find the time to record this piece for posterity, although many other fine tubists have played it, and played it well, on the basis of his influence.
Not only will Harvey be missed for his consummate artistry on an often underappreciated instrument; a whole treasure trove of his amusing anecdotes about life as a jobbing musician, told as only he could tell them, has also been lost.
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