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Donald Grantham Commission

I am thrilled to announce a major new addition to the tuba repertoire. In the spring of 2011 my good friend and colleague at UT, Dr. Robert Carnochan, Associate Director of Bands at The University of Texas at Austin, met over margaritas at a local Mexican restaurant to discuss the possibility a new piece for tuba. We approached our colleague Donald Grantham to see if he might be interested in taking on the commission. With the leadership of Dr. Carnochan, a consortium was quickly put together and the Concerto for Solo Tuba, Orchestral Winds, Percussion and Piano was born. The premier took place on March 27, 2012 in Bates Recital Hall on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin with The University of Texas Wind Symphony. Subsequent performances were given at the College Band Directors National Association Southwestern Division Conference on the campus of the University of Texas San Antonio and at Western Washington University with the University Wind Symphony, Dr. Christopher Bianco, Conductor. The process of creating this piece from its inception through the premier was an absolute joy. For anyone considering taking on such a project, I can only hope that you have such remarkable colleagues as I do at the Butler School of Music. Below is Donald Grantham’s description of the work:

My Tuba Concerto--for Tuba Solo, Orchestral Winds, Percussion and Piano--is in three movements.  The first movement, marked "Fiery and bold," is a virtuosic workout featuring much interplay between the soloist and percussion, particularly the timpani.  The second movement is lyric and expressive.  Formally, it is a kind of continuous development:  New material is added to older material without ever really replacing it, and all of the elements combine and interact throughout the entire movement.  The third movement is in a much more popular and jazzy vein, and is dedicated to the memory of Tiny Parham, a jazz musician who flourished in Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s and a composer whose music and scoring I particularly admire.

I wish to thank my good colleagues Robert Carnochan and Charles Villarrubia for their input and advice during the composition of the work, and to all of the members of the commissioning consortium:

Robert Carnochan | The University of Texas at Austin  
Albert Nguyen | The University of Memphis

John Watkins | University of Florida

Fenton Mack Wood | North Forney High School

Kyle Prescott | Florida Atlantic University

Christopher Bianco | Western Washington University

Amanda Drinkwater | Marcus High School

Stephen Bolstad | James Madison University

David Gorham | Owasso High School

Jeremy Kondrat | Plano Sr High School

Kevin Sedatole | Michigan State University

Calvin Hofer | Colorado Mesa University

Kerry Taylor | Westlake High School



About Donald Grantham

Composer Donald Grantham is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes in composition, including the Prix Lili Boulanger, the Nissim/ASCAP Orchestral Composition Prize, First Prize in the Concordia Chamber Symphony’s Awards to American Composers, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and First Prize in the National Opera Association’s Composition Competition.  His wind ensemble music has been recognized with three first prize awards in the NBA/William D. Revelli Composition Competition, and with two first prize awards in the ABA/Ostwald Band Composition Contest.  His music has been praised for its “elegance, sensitivity, lucidity of thought, clarity of expression and fine lyricism” in a Citation awarded by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.  In recent years his works have been performed by the orchestras of Cleveland, Dallas, Atlanta and the American Composers Orchestra among many others, and he has fulfilled commissions in media from solo instruments to opera.  His music is published by Piquant Press, Peer-Southern, Warner Bros., G. Schirmer and E. C. Schirmer, and many of his works have been commercially recorded.  Grantham  resides in Austin Texas and is Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Professor of Music at the University of Texas at Austin.  With Kent Kennan, he is coauthor of THE TECHNIQUE OF ORCHESTRATION (Prentice Hall).

Dr. Carnochan and I will record the Concerto with The University of Texas at Austin Wind Ensemble in May 2013. For more information regarding the availability of the piece, please visit:

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