John Stevens

JOHN STEVENS (b. 1951) has enjoyed a distinguished career as a chamber, orchestral, solo and jazz performer and recording artist on the tuba, university professor, composer, arranger, conductor and administrator.  He holds degrees in Music Performance from the Eastman School of Music (1973) and Yale University (1975).  His successful career as a freelance performer in New York City included membership in the Aspen Festival Orchestra, New York Tuba Quartet, numerous other chamber ensembles and he was the original tuba soloist in some 500 performances of BARNUM on Broadway.  He also performed with the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera stage bands, New York City Ballet and New York City Opera, many other NYC based orchestras, the San Francisco Ballet, Houston Symphony and toured and recorded with, among others, Chuck Mangione and the American Brass Quintet.

Following his years in New York he spent four years on the faculty of the University of Miami (FL) School of Music, where he also was the tubist in the Philharmonic Orchestra of Florida and the Greater Miami Opera.  In 1985 he joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, where he presided over one of the most prestigious low brass studios in the country, was the tubist with the Wisconsin Brass Quintet and served as the Director of the School of Music for a total of seven years.  He has participated in symposia, festivals and competitions in Italy, Spain, France, England, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Canada, Mexico and throughout the USA.  He is now Emeritus Professor of Music, having retired from the university in May, 2014.

Professor Stevens is an internationally renowned composer with over 65 published original compositions as well as numerous arrangements.  To date there are also over 50 recordings of his music by soloists and ensembles all over the world.  He has concentrated on composing for brass, and has been commissioned to compose works for, among others, Roger Bobo, Harvey Phillips, Brian Bowman, Gene Pokorny, The Wisconsin Brass Quintet, the Sotto Voce and Melton tuba quartets, consortia of prestigious brass soloists, the International Tuba and Euphonium Association and the International Trumpet Guild.  He has also been commissioned by major orchestras in the US and abroad, (including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Madison Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic, Bamberg Symphony and Duisburg Philharmonic) as well as wind bands and choral groups.  His most recently completed commissions include a Sonata for Bass Trombone and Piano, composed for a consortium of many of the country’s premier orchestral bass trombonists and a suite for tuba and piano for a consortium of 20 leading tubists.

In 2008, Professor Stevens received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Tuba and Euphonium Association, the highest honor in his field.  Since retiring in 2014 he is now focusing on composing and is the conductor of the acclaimed Wisconsin based brass ensemble, The Isthmus Brass.