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News Archive


Jon Whitaker appointment at Henderson State University

Jonathan Whitaker, DM student and trombone AI since 2001, has been awarded the position of Assistant Professor of Low Brass at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Scheduled to begin in August, his duties will include teaching trombone, euphonium and tuba, conducting the British-style brass band, and teaching brass methods. He is also excited about plans to start a brass chamber music program with trombone choir, tuba/euphonium ensemble, brass quintet, etc.

Congratulations Professor Whitaker!!

Peter Ellefson launches new Website

Professor Ellefson  has launched his new Website "Peter Ellefson trombone", with comprehensive information and background on his IU Studio teaching, biography, teachers, links, multimedia and more. Ellefson cites this launch as "the first wave" with a "second to follow soon". This Website promises to quickly become one of the high-interest resources and beacons of perspective in the trombone web-world. Congrats, Pete!

Link Bar Updated - Excerpt Collection added

The Link Bar on this Website's left side has been updated, and a link to the Excerpt Collection added. New flexibility in the formatting of this link bar will enable addition of links for timely IUita events, recruiting and admission pages, and more.

Peter Ellefson recording, playing, teaching

Peter Ellefson will continue his current recording project with sessions in early May. He is in the process of recording the Jorgensen Romance, Brahms Lieder and the Sonata of Derek Bourgeois. The recording will also feature the first recording of Jim Pugh's Concerto with piano. Although there is no theme to the project, per se, Prof. Ellefson is recording music which is both close to his heart and under represented in the current catalog. Stay tuned for more details.

While on a recent trip to New York, Peter Ellefson had the opportunity to play quartets with the members of the New York Philharmonic. Ellefson says, "It was an honor for me to play and compare concepts with those of a truly great trombone section."

The final set of auditions for Peter Ellefson's Orchestra Repertoire class took place on April 13th  and 14th - behind a screen, with written comments offered from each member of the class. When the auditions were completed, Prof. Ellefson offered his verbal comments on each audition as a point of comparison for the students comments. Other class sessions involved discussing each selection of "150 Difficult Excerpts" listed on Milt Stevens's web site: 

Carl Lenthe's Springtime trumpeting and tromboning

For three April concerts, Carl Lenthe performed on bass trumpet with the Minnesota Orchestra in Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (Conductor, Leonard Slatkin). In May, Lenthe will join the Philadelphia Orchestra's European tour as associate principal trombonist, with stops in Paris, Frankfurt, Vienna, and beyond. June brings Summit Brass's eagerly awaited Rafael Mendez Brass Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Preston Hardage wins USMC "The President's Own" audition
Jon Whitaker and recent IU grads also in finals


Preston Hardage (BM senior in StudioLenthe) continued his string of successes (Concerto Competition winner, Performers Certificate winner) by winning the USMC audition. IU was very well represented in the audition, with current IU student Jon Whitaker and recent IU grads John McClave and Henry Henniger in the finals along with IU grad Jon Reycraft. Preston will join his recent IU classmate Tim Dugan in the Marine Band trombone section.

Congrats all around and a salute to Preston!

IU trombonists win positions with Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Civic Orchestra, Mancini Institute

IU trombonists continue to set a high standard in their achievements and accomplishments: Adam Johnson (DM student with Peter Ellefson) recently won the audition for 2nd trombone in the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Bryan Heath (DM student of M. Dee Stewart) will be joining the Chicago Civic Orchestra as bass trombonist after his successful audition. Nathan Sutton (Jazz Studies major and student of Ellefson) has been accepted into the prestigious Henry Mancini Institute.

Congrats to Adam, Bryan, and Nathan!

Rick Simerly gives jazz clinic

Thursday 3/4, trombonist Rick Simerly visited campus and held a master class. Rick has been described as "the greatest jazz trombonist that no one knows about in the world." He teaches at Milligan University in Tennessee, and has been on the faculty of Jamey Aebersold's Summer Jazz Workshops for many years. His CDs are available on the Double-time label.  After working with many of our students in his excellent session, Rick also played at Bloomington's renowned "Bear's Place" with Jamey Aebersold and his Quartet.

Lenthe presents Missing Link at ETW

Carl Lenthe will present his lecture recital "Etudes the Missing Link" at the Eastern Trombone Workshop (March 18-20 at Fort Myer, Virginia). The Eastern Trombone Workshop has become one of the largest annual events for our instrument and regularly hosts participants from throughout the world. Activities include concerts, master classes, recitals, scholarly lectures, and clinics by leading guest artists. 

 ETW details can be found at 

Jon Whitaker to perform Rota Concerto at Purdue

Jonathan Whitaker, DM student and trombone AI since 2001, will be performing the Nino Rota Concerto with the University Symphony Orchestra of Purdue on February 22, 2004 at 2:30 pm at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Lafayette, IN. The concert will be conducted by IU graduate Jay Gephart.

Whitaker will also be appearing in May with the Augustana College Wind Ensemble (Moline, IL) performing Colors by Bert Appermont. This concert will be conducted by IU alumnus James Lambrecht. Both invitations resulted from his solo performance with the IU Wind Ensemble in April, 2003, where he performed as a Concerto Competition prize winner.

Brass Class with recording spin

The F419 Brass Orchestral Repertoire class has added a recording spin to its curriculum. Recordings of the brass section playing representative repertoire passages are made in class, and then posted to the website for review by the participants. This exercise is valuable in simulating the demands of recording session work, and also in the opportunity to hear and review the section sound as a whole, for those having played in its midst.

The recording spin also applies to the mock auditions. These will be recorded as live auditions during class times and posted as anonymous entries to the Website for voting and comment by class members.

Further information on this class available here.

Manhattan Brass Quintet in Residence

The Manhattan Brass Quintet will be in residence here from Sunday 1/25 through Tuesday 1/27. The group is here on behalf of the composition department, and this is a good opportunity for us. You can check their Website at 

Sunday, Jan. 25th
7:00-8:30 - Sweeney Hall - Bill Williams Performance Optimization Seminar

Monday, Jan. 26th
10:00-12:00 - Auer Hall - MBQ reads Student Composition
7:00-8:20 - Sweeney Hall - Composition Seminar - Performance of compositions read that morning.
8:30-9:30 - Sweeney Hall - Brass Quintet Master Class

Tuesday, Jan. 27th
2:00-3:30 - Auer Hall - Mike Selzer ? Trombone Master Class
8:00 - Auer Hall - Manhattan Brass Quintet Recital

Ellefson stresses scale and clef study

Peter Ellefson's spring semester studio curriculum will place a special emphasis on learning and reinforcement of all major and minor scales, through the use of Ellefson's "Scale Pyramid." The pyramid consists of beginning with a B major scale and practicing it (and the relative minor) for a week. The next week the E scale is added to the B scale. The next week the G-flat scale is added to the previous two scales etc. Each week another scale is added forming a pyramid. At the end of twelve weeks the students will have performed all scales each week as part of their lesson. The last scales to be added will be the easiest---F, B-flat and C. All of the scales will be presented in the diatonic scale pattern, which can be found in Arban, Remington or on page 5 of the Blazhevich "Clef Studies" book.

Ellefson has also rediscovered the valuable clef, rhythmic and unfamiliar key etudes in the Blazhevich book and each student is working on multiple etudes each week.

New mp3s added

A 2001 reading of Al Cobine's arrangement of "Peace on Earth" by the Trombone Choir and a live recital recording of Carl Lenthe performing Enrique Crespo's "Improvisation No. 1" have been added on our MP3 page, as well as to the performers' respective pages. More mp3 additions are expected in the coming weeks.  

David Baker compositions recorded

An original David Baker composition for trombone quartet based on four Spirituals was performed on the January 16 Faculty/Student recital by Peter Ellefson, Carl Lenthe, M. Dee Stewart, and Jon Whitaker. That group has now recorded the four movement work, which will appear on CD (probably Albany Records) along with the Baker's trombone concerto "Concert Piece" played by M. Dee Stewart and pianist Ashley Toms.

Lenthe in for heroic chill

Sated by the mild Indiana weather, Carl Lenthe will be in Minnesota from January 5-11 to perform the tenor tuba part in Richard Strauss's Tone Poem Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life) with the Minnesota Orchestra.

IU Trombones perform!  

On three Friday evenings this semester the trombone department will be presenting selected features in recital performances. 

Friday 1/16/04, 8pm in Auer Hall
Concertos of Martin, Tomasi, and Larsson
Trombone Quartets of David N. Baker
Concerto competition finalists
Faculty Trombone Quartet

Friday 2/6/04, 8pm in Auer Hall
Graduate quartet and jazz trombones perform - M. Dee Stewart, Carl Lenthe, and Peter Ellefson perform works by Vaughn-Williams, Crespo, and Stekke

Friday 3/5/04, 8:30pm in Ford Hall
Professors Stewart, Lenthe, and Ellefson perform
Trombone Choir performs

Preston Hardage wins Brass Solo Concerto Competition with Martin Ballade  

Preston Hardage, BM senior in StudioLenthe, won the brass department's Solo Concerto Competition. Competing among the top players from all ten brass studios, Preston was convincing with his reading of the Frank Martin "Ballade" for trombone and orchestra, and will perform that work with the Symphony Orchestra on 2/11/04 at 8pm in the MAC. Second place was awarded to Matt Maslanka, euphonium. Adam Johnson, DM in the Ellefson studio, was runner-up, with honorable mention going to David Doyle, StewartStudio. All in all, a big low brass day. Congrats to all!

New WebExcerpt collection launched  

Our collection of orchestra and band excerpts on the Website server continues to grow. A page has been formatted and launched from which students can access those excerpts currently available online. This collection will grow as ensemble auditions demand. The excerpts are made available for the audition use and educational benefit of Indiana University School of Music students. Go to

 The page can also be accessed through the StudioLenthe page.

Orchestra placement audition for Spring 2004

Peter Ellefson Faculty Solo Recital

On 11/21/03 at 7pm in Auer Hall - Professor Peter Ellefson will perform works by Pugh, Bourgeois, Brahms, and others - accompanist Sarah Watkins

Website updates and improvements - including new mp3s! 

Our IU Trombone Department Website continues to undergo changes and improvements. With this update, you should notice the more extensive linkbar on the left side of each page, with specific links to the three faculty studios. The mp3 page has also been updated to include some samples of Professor Ellefson's trombonistic expertise. Also included here is a sneak preview of some of Professor Stewart's upcoming CD releases, along with some new Lenthe samples, and a Trombone Choir recording. Lenthe's pages have received some graphic and organizational attention, and continues to grow. Also, please note - and use! - the new IUita pages. These have been designed and launched by Jon Whitaker, and will contain information about our ITA chapter's activities - especially the upcoming IU Trombone Weekend with Alessi, Ewazen, et al.

Continue to visit our website!

Ellefson audition course, recital and recording 

This semester Peter Ellefson has redesigned his Orchestral Repertoire class to emphasize audition preparation. Over the last 20 years, Ellefson has collected audition lists from professional orchestral auditions and is using the lists as the required material for the class presentations. Each tenor trombonist will prepare repertoire from Principal, Second and Associate Principal audition lists. Bass trombonists will each prepare 3 different audition lists. Students do not audition against each other but more appropriately against themselves and the audition lists. The goal is for the students to feel as comfortable as possible with the audition process. Four students per class stand up in front of their peers and "audition." The rest of the class plays the role of the audition committee and offers written comments to those playing. A screen is put up so that those auditioning can experience what it is like to play for an anonymous audience. In addition to playing solo auditions, class members also participate in section playing, again designed to closely approximate what may be encountered in a "real" audition. Sessions on cover letters, resumes and making audition tapes are also included in the class. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive--even though Ellefson is very demanding of the students. In addition to the new approach to the Orchestral Repertoire class, Ellefson is busy preparing for his IU recital on November 21 (which will also include recording material for an upcoming CD) and his appearance on the IU Faculty recital with Joe Alessi on December 13 where he will perform Paul Creston's Fantasy for Trombone.

Lenthe emphasizes performance

The 'semester spin' this fall in StudioLenthe is increased emphasis on performance. The semester began with an early studio recital, and all participants were enthusiastic about that opportunity to play as they look forward to the concerto competition studio prelims and finals. Lenthe has also initiated two 'Trombone Opens' this semester - creating an informal performance forum for any interested student to come and play for his or her peers - and then listen to them as well. Back by popular demand is the "Non-trombone performance" studio class, in which each student is called upon to perform something - anything! - but WITHOUT the trombone. Past contributions have ranged from intriguing and insightful to edifying, entertaining or hilarious. Lenthe himself is working on his washboard and nose flute skills in anticipation of this event. Carl Lenthe's own emphasis on performance this semester has already included a 35-minute recital in his September master class, and a full recital at the University of Memphis. In October he has been called upon by the Indianapolis Symphony to perform the bass trumpet part in the symphonic compilation of Wagner's Ring. The master class on 10/6 will also focus on that instrument. Performances of his Nutcracker arrangement with the trombone choir loom on the horizon after that.


StewartStudio & projects - lots of action! 

Dee Stewart is continuing to be an active member of the music world. The highpoint of the summer has become the workshop, College Audition Preparation (CAP), which he directs. Directed to aspiring high school brass, woodwind, and percussion players, CAP has grown rapidly. Last summer saw 58 students come to the campus for CAP from all corners of the United States and Canada. However the summer turned out to be relaxing and consisted of playing bass trombone with the Festival Orchestra and a very short trip to his bother?s very remote cabin on a lake in far north Wisconsin, things started to pick up speed rapidly when IU started classes. An excellent studio of students awaited his return from the cold northern waters and now the studio is really functioning smoothly and lots of action is taking place. October 9 marks the StewartStudioSolo Recital. As soon as that is over, preparation for a group of freshmen traveling to northern Indiana for a concert will take precedence. Then all the students will begin rehearsing for the November 20 StewartStudio Festive Ensemble Recital. It is anticipated that this event will be lots of fun and will include several world premieres of David Baker quartets.

Two members of the StewartStudio (Crystal Booher and Wes Ballenger) are currently studying in Vienna. They will be back next semester along with two other former students (Tom Moore and Brandon Epperson) who are returning for advanced study.

Final editing and insert preparation is underway for the publication and release of three Stewart CDs. With any kind of luck, Pictures at an Exhibition, Don Quixote, and D+ will be out within the month. These CDs feature Stewart on alto, tenor, and bass trombones as well as bass trumpet and tenor tuba. 

Of course, of great interest is the upcoming Alessi/Ewazen event in December. Joe Alessi and Dee Stewart have a long history and everyone is looking forward to a wonderful time.

New Ewazen Trombone Concerto commissioned for Joe Alessi and the IU Wind Ensemble

In conjunction with Joe Alessi's visit here in December, Jon Whitaker was able to organize and coordinate a three way commission, with the MidWest Clinic, the IU Department of Bands, and the IUITA contributing, and Eric Ewazen agreeing to take on the task. The new concerto will be previewed in concert on 12/14 with Ray Cramer conducting. Time and location TBA. The world premiere will be on 12/18 at Chicago's MidWest Clinic. For further details contact Jon Whitaker.

Trombone Choir Auditions for 2003/04 to be held on 9/4

Auditions for trombone choir will take place on Thursday 9/4/03 beginning at 8:30 pm in MA452. Please sign up for a time at MA315. Two performances with Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" (arr. Lenthe) are planned for this semester. Details about the audition, enrollment, the ensemble, and the semester schedule can be found at TromboneChoir.htm 

Joe Alessi to visit - IU Trombones Day and other special activity on December 11-14

New York Philharmonic principal-trombonist Joe Alessi will visit the IU School of Music in December. Master classes and recitals are planned together with Professors Stewart, Lenthe, and Ellefson. Trombone choir and brass choir features, further events and exhibits will be held in the context of "IU Trombones Day 2003" on 12/13. A special highlight will be a concert preview of the newly commissioned concerto for trombone and wind ensemble by Eric Ewazen, to take place on Sunday, December 14th. Mr. Alessi will be on campus from 12/11 through 12/14, after which he will travel to the Midwest band Clinic in Chicago with the IU Wind Ensemble under Professor Ray Cramer for the world premiere performance of the new Ewazen concerto on December 18th. Jon Whitaker is to be commended for his inspiration, initiative, and tireless work on this project. Further and more precise details will be announced in the coming weeks. For further details surrounding this event, please contact Jon Whitaker.

Orchestra placement auditions for Fall 2003

Monday, September 1st beginning at 6:30 pm in MA 452

All three trombone faculty participate in IU Summer Session

For the first time in recent memory, all three trombone faculty members will be present and participate in the School of Music Summer Session. This includes regular studio teaching, master classes and coachings, as well as performances with the IU Festival Orchestra. As a trio, Ellefson, Lenthe, and Stewart will perform in the CAP recital on 7/27/03. The generally more relaxed atmosphere and less intense enrollment figures of the summer session promise to enable an enhanced interaction between students and faculty.

M. Dee Stewart CAPs his summer activities

Professor M. Dee Stewart is preparing for yet another College Audition Preparation (CAP) workshop this summer. This workshop, specifically aimed at helping high schoolers prepare themselves for entry to college music study, has been highly successful and includes all wind and percussion instruments.

Further Stewart activities this summer will include further work on emerging recordings and writings, as well as summer session studio teaching. for details, visit

Lenthe off to the planets and boulders

For a series of May concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra, Professor Carl Lenthe will perform the tenor tuba part in Gustav Holst's "The Planets". The second week of June will find him then in Boulder, Colorado as artist faculty member for the Summit Brass "Rafael Mendez Brass Insititute".  

Current plans for the rest of the summer revolve around his IU studio teaching (Summer Session), and family activies, hopefully including visits to the baseball parks of Cincinnati, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Saint Louis.

Tim Dugan wins Marine Band audition, Preston Hardage also in Finals

Tim Dugan, DM student of Peter Ellefson (MM studies with M. Dee Stewart), won the US Marine Band Audition on 4/8. Preston Hardage (BM senior with Carl Lenthe) was in the finals, along with IU grad Jon Reycraft. Congratulations and a salute to Tim!

New Lenthe CD released by Summit Records

Through Summit Records, Carl Lenthe has released his new CD "Timeless Trombone Tales". The CD contains some of the most standard audition and contest works for trombone by David, Guilmant, Barat, and Rimsky-Korsakov, along with some further "ditties" by Victor Herbert, Arthur Pryor, and others.

The "Audition Window" aspect of this CD couples it with Webpages constructed to provide practice and interpretive aids in preparing this repertoire. Those pages can be viewed at the LentheLessons pages.

Tim Dugan finalist in ITA Lewis Van Haney Philharmonic Prize Competition

Tim Dugan, DM student of Peter Ellefson, is a finalist in the ITA's Lewis Van Haney Philharmonic Prize Competition. Based on his recorded audition, he was selected along with two others to attend the final round, which will be held live at the ITF in Finland this summer. James Box (Montreal Symphony Orchestra) Glenn Dodson (Philadelphia Orchestra, retired) and Anthony Parsons (BBC Orchestra, retired) were the judges for the competition, which was conceived, founded, and managed for 20 years by Indiana University's Professor M. Dee Stewart, before being taken over by the ITA competition board.

Congratualtions to Tim!

Peter Ellefson on Tour with Proteus 7

Peter Ellefson has been on tour with the chamber ensemble Proteus 7. This is an ensemble of seven musicians: two trumpets, two trombones, tuba, woodwinds and percussion. Please visit their website for more information on the group. 

Ellefson's portion of the tour began in Butte, Montana on March 26 and will finish in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on April 4. He is playing with Scott Hartman and subbing for Proteus 7 regular Hans Bohn. "It is a joy to play with these fine musicians." reports Ellefson, " The music is fun, challenging and best of all, rewarding. The audiences have been very enthusiastic offering spontaneous standing ovations each night."

Blair Bollinger to visit IU

Blair Bollinger, bass trombonist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, will visit IU from 3/24-26. This visit, which includes a master class, recital, and teaching of select IU trombone students, is hosted by the IUITA. 

Further details here

Bryan Heath wins concerto competition, Jon Whitaker takes 2nd place

The 2/24/03 brass concerto competition showcased and rewarded some of the top level trombone playing that we enjoy here at IU. Bass trombonist Bryan Heath convincingly won 1st place with his rendition of the John Williams Tuba Concerto, accompanied by Ashley Toms. Bryan will perform this work - in its entirety - with the Concert Orchestra on 4/13 at 8pm in the MAC. Jon Whitaker's presentation of the Grondahl Concerto earned him the 2nd prize, and a possible performance of that work with band. Third place went to tubaist Andrew Tucker with the Barnes Concerto. 

Congratualtions all around!

Trombone finalists prepare for 2/24/03 concerto competition

Two finalists from each of the three trombone studios are currently being chosen in studio run-offs and recitals. These six trombonists will then compete with the studio finalists from each of the other brass studios on 2/24 in Auer Hall. The winner of that competition will be featured as soloist with Concert Orchestra on 4/13 in the MAC. According to Professor Stewart, 10 trombonists have won this competition in the past 20 years. "...and its time for a trombonist to win again!" he adds. Recent and past trombone winners include Bryan Heath, Stephen Lange, and our own Pete Ellefson!

2/27/03 AH Recital to include yet unheard J.J. Johnson compositions

Thursday 2/27/03 at 8:30pm in Auer Hall the trombone faculty with Artist Diploma trombonist Roland Barber will be presenting a suite of compositions composed by legendary jazz great J.J. Johnson in his final year of life. "A Celebration of Music by Black Composers in Contribution to Black History Month", this concert will also include performances by further faculty members as well as Rahsaan Barber and Deno Sanders and others.

StudioLenthe pages expanding

The StudioLenthe WebPages are taking on new forms, angles, and dimensions. In addition to the "LentheLessons" pages, currently being constructed to harmonize with the pending release of Lenthe's new CD, you will find links to various items of interest, articles, current course aids in either printed or audio form, etc. Also new is the studio schedule online. Check back often as these developments further unfold!

Entrance Auditions in full swing

As this is written, the second of three auditions weekends is being prepared by the School of Music. Over these three dates (1/18, 2/8, & 3/8) the trombone department will listen to approximately 60 trombonists and euphonium players auditioning for any one of the undergraduate or graduate degree programs. No quota exists for how many will be accepted, and these decisions are determined solely by the quality of the applicants' performance and their potential compatability with our program. 

A new addition to the open-door session with the faculty, usually at the end of the audition day, is the informal open-studio where student representatives from each of the three trombone studios are making themselves available to the candidates visiting our campus for auditions. 

New Semester to Include Guest Artists Blair Bollinger and JoDee Davis

In addition to the regular master classes with professors Ellefson, Lenthe, and Stewart, this semester will also see bass-trombonist Blair Bollinger (Philadelphia Orchestra) and Professor JoDee Davis (University of Missouri, Kansas City) visit our campus for master classes and recital. The Bollinger events are made possible through the efforts of our UITA officers. Check the calendar for specific details.

Trombone Dept. Webcalendar Now Online

A new webcalendar is now in place for the IU Trombone Website. You can view it here

New Lenthe CD to be produced by Summit Records

Carl Lenthe has contracted with Summit Records to produce his newly recorded CD. This disc will contain works by Guilmant, David, Rimsky-Korsakov, and others. It will be his second CD with that label, following the successful "Trombones Under the Tree" (DCD-146) with Joseph Alessi, Mark Lawrence, and M. Dee Stewart. Release is planned for May 2003, with early availability possible in March.


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