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Harvey Phillips, Titan Of The Tuba

A rebroadcast of George Walker's 2003 interview with tuba master Harvey Phillips.

Harvey Phillips holding a tuba

Photo: Courtesy of Indiana University

Harvey Phillips

The tuba and I were made for each other, because after that first day with the instrument I wouldn’t think of playing anything else.

When Harvey Phillips, distinguished professor emeritus at the IU Jacobs School of Music, died in October at age 80, the New York Times called him “a Titan of the Tuba.”

Phillips performed as tuba soloist throughout the world, and inspired and commissioned many pieces for the instrument.

He was a founding member of the New York Brass Quintet, and founder and president of the Harvey Phillips Foundation, Inc., which administered Octubafest, Tubachristmas, Tubasantas, Tubacompany and Tubajazz.

In 1971, Phillips was appointed to the Indiana University faculty, a position he held until his retirement in 1994.

He was inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame—the only wind instrument player to receive that honor—and in 2008 he received the Indiana University President’s Medal for Excellence.

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