Archive for the ‘Artists’ Category

David Taylor’s Winter News

Friday, December 1st, 2017

David Taylor at Roulette

David Taylor has a few things happening this winter. First, he and his Calithumpians (Ron Stabinsky, Moppa Elliot, and Kevin Shea) will be at Roulette on December 7. This concert is presented by Interpretations and will include Dave’s Big Stories for a Small Group. Roulette is at 509 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. There are musicians in this world that simply need to be heard perform live. David Taylor is one of those musicians.

Next up is a radio event. A number of years ago, Dave performed two Schubert concerts with the Post Classical Ensemble in Washington, DC. WWFM will present a 1.5 hour program with excerpts from these concerts as well as of Dave performing Daniel Schnyder’s Subzero. Tune in on December 15 at 8pm. Before that night, read a review of those performances by Joseph Horowitz.

Dave informed us that And If All Were Dark, the CD he recorded with the Washington Trombone Ensemble, should be available for Christmas delivery. Check back for more details.

Finally, Dave is set to perform with members of the New York Philharmonic on January 8. Dave has a long history with the Philharmonic as he played in Pierre Boulez’s Perspective Encounter Series at Cooper Union in the 1970’s.

Dave Taylor Performs at Taiwanese Ceremony

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Dave Taylor recently performed on the 2017 Tawainese American Community Scholarship Award Ceremony in Washington, DC. Dave was joined onstage by pianist Joseph Yungen and dancer Shu-Chen Cuff, who performed an interpretive dance during Thekla, a Franz Schubert piece arranged by Dave.

Dave’s complete program was titled Suite Humoresques Con Sordini, which included two works composed by Dave, numerous Schubert pieces arranged by Dave, and a Johnny Reinhard composition.

We love that we can always count on Dave to bring something unique to his performances. He’s a master technician on the bass trombone, but his music is so much more than that. If you ever have the opportunity to hear him live, go! You won’t be disappointed.

Dave Taylor at Taiwanese Ceremony
Pictured: Dave, Shu-Chen Cuff, and a friend of Dave’s after the concert

Dave Taylor Concertino Reviews

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

David Taylor recently performed his new Concertino 4x’s at Bargemusic’s Here And Now Festival in New York. In a Facebook post, Dave said that he was shocked that the reviews were mostly about his composition, but that it was more surprising that the New York Times ran a photo of him to promote the festival.

Dave Taylor in the New York Times

The first review comes from New York Classical Review:

On the musicians side, there was bass trombonist David Taylor’s Concertino No. 2, with Taylor accompanied by pianist Ron Stabinsky, bassist Matthew “Moppa” Elliot, and percussionist Kevin Shea. The form was classical, with four recognizably standard movements. The style was not, though it was a fascinating hybrid of older jazz ideas heard through a prism of modernism, a more successful version of Stan Kenton’s experiments in modern composition. There were serendipities, like a fractured tribute to Tommy Dorsey and a ballad in the form of a waltz, and Taylor played with a strong, beautiful sound.

Another comes

One would hardly know from David Taylor’s informal, talkative, delightfully informal persona that he is one of the most accomplished and eclectic musicians in the world. Specifically the trombone, and more specifically because he has worked with composers like Hovbhaness, Wuorinen, Perle, as well as Yo-Yo, Streisand, Gil Evans, Charles Mingus and… well, everybody else in the classical and jazz world.

Listening to his four-movement Concertino for Bass Trombone, Piano, Contrabass and Percussion was like listening to Ursula Oppens on piano. It was a master at work. The slightly jazzy but beautifully laid-out chamber work did go on a bit, but Mr. Taylor didn’t need any avant-garde techniques to make his point. It was big-band-style trombone style with a minimal chamber-group to support him.

Dave continues to push the musical envelope. As brass musicians, we love what he brings to his performances. It’s nice to see when others recognize what an incredible talent he is, as well.

Trombones of the Kennedy Center Recital

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Kennedy Center

UPDATE: The concert video is now available in the Millennium Stage archives.

The Trombones of the Kennedy Center will present a recital on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center on April 4 at 6pm. The event is free (no tickets required) and will be streamed live and archived at

The group features the trombone sections of the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera Orchestra, with special guest Peter Ellefson and guest conductor Chris Branagan. This promises to be a fantastic recital, so be sure to watch it online if you can’t be there in person.


  • Handel, Overture to Royal Fireworks Music
  • Brahms, Fest und Gedenkspruche, Op. 18
  • Bourgeois, Scherzo Funebre
  • Crespo, Etude in the Style of Bruckner
  • Jacob, Trombone Octet


  • Craig Mulcahy, Principal Trombone, NSO
  • Barry Hearn, Associate Principal Trombone, NSO
  • David Murray, Second Trombone, NSO
  • Matt Guilford, Bass Trombone, NSO
  • Lee Rogers, Principal Trombone, WNO
  • Doug Rosenthal, Second Trombone, WNO
  • Stephen Dunkel, Bass Trombone, WNO
  • Peter Ellefson, special guest trombonist, Indiana University
  • Chris Branagan, Guest Conductor, Washington Trombone Ensemble

We’re thrilled that so many of the above performers choose to play our instruments.

Trombone Shorty Featured in 60 Minutes Story on Dave Grohl

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters are traveling the country to discover the origins of American music. The rock band is collaborating with local musicians in eight US cities for a project that will result in a new album as well as a documentary series. The latter, titled Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, can be seen Friday evenings on HBO.

While in New Orleans, the band worked with Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty. In the 60 Minutes clip below, you’ll catch a glimpse of Troy with his T302. Later in the story, you’ll hear him perform with the band on a borrowed horn.

Dave Taylor Presents Bargemusic Concerts

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Bass trombonists don’t usually enjoy the limelight, but Dave Taylor isn’t your typical bass trombonist. After performing Vamps Dance for Violin and Bass Trombone and The Banned Bamboozler (accompanied by the New York Trombone Consort) at Bargemusic, he scored a half page photo and article in the New York Times. The article is available online.

As usual, Dave has been maintaining a busy performing and recording schedule. Next summer, he’s going to be a featured artist at the International Trombone Festival in Valencia, Spain. More details to follow.

Dave Taylor in the New York Times

An Interview with Toby Oft

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014


Toby Oft is the principal trombonist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He recently sat down with me to discuss the BSO section, music careers, equipment, and much more.

It seems like yesterday that we were at Tanglewood fitting the section and you were discussing your yearly schedule (symphony, solo, pops, Tanglewood summers, teaching). How have the physical demands of your job affected the way you approach equipment?

The physical demands of my job in the Boston Symphony are often intense for the flexibility required to produce a very wide range of tone color which, with responsible practice, I can more or less achieve with most equipment on the market today. The effort level involved with tone production is the most important factor for me to manage. With good equipment I can achieve a wide range of tone color using very little effort. Because effortful tone production generally relegates me or anyone else for that matter, to a rather inexpensive sound, it is important that I am able to hear as close as possible, the color spectrum that is in my head coming out the bell of any new equipment that I consider.

I look for an easy vibrance in the response and a gentle transition between the partials that doesn’t railroad me over natural slurs. The vibrance helps me match and fill out the trumpets and horns when necessary, and gentle natural slurs allow me to match the note transition of the string section whenever that is more ideal. It is important to note that the vibrance I require should also include the temperance of the warmer sound characteristics of a large bore tenor so as not to be piercing or one dimensional.

What are your acoustic goals for the section with the additions of Steve and Jim? How has Edwards helped?

The acoustic goals I have for the trombone section of the BSO are choral by default so it helps a great deal for us all to be on the same make of instrument that our voices achieve a good blend without anyone sticking out unnecessarily. The fact of the matter is that the larger the trombone, the later in the dynamic range it fluoresces to brilliant tone colors. Steven, Jim, and I can thus build our chorus of sound in tutti passages like a pyramid of volume with bass as the big bottom and principal on top without competing with each other for brilliance in the sound.

Edwards has helped us enormously. For although the preceding paragraph is somewhat rife with idealism consistent with what most trombone players hope for their section, it leaves out the fact that all three of us have different faces and specific ideas for what we the individual want to sound like. We each pick up a horn with a sound in our mind and look for equipment that will get us there as easily as possible. Then we sit down and play the last page of Symphonic Metamorphosis for the zoom recorder and decide if it still fits within the pyramid of balance indicated above.

You recently made the switch to the T350-HB. I had been beta testing this in-house, but working with the Boston section gave me an opportunity to test this valve section in the field. It was originally meant for Steve, but you fell for it. Can you tell our readers how that happened?

Steve and I have very similar tone goals, which is great because we can trust each other for feedback as we navigate our jobs in the BSO. This fact however, often has us envious of each other’s equipment. When you sent the T350-HB to Steve to try, I heard him play and was instantly in love. I didn’t want Steve to feel like I was stealing a special prototype meant for him, though, so I only said, “If you’re going to play that horn then Christan is going to need to send me one, too.” I waited an excruciating three months before he told me he was finished with it and then I pounced.

I did a great deal of my trombone study in Chicago where much of the answers to any of life’s problems is “more air”. Thus, a Thayer valve suits me much better than a Rotax valve. That I could support my tone production and phrase goals with free air and a beautifully colorful bell is a dream come true for me.

We talk a lot about balancing sound and feel. What is your ideal sound-to-feel ratio? Do you think about it at all when fitting a horn?

Feel is the first place I check when trying a new trombone or mouthpiece. I DON’T EVER want to feel like I have to arm wrestle my trombone to get through a concert with the sound I have in mind for my part. The less resistively I can get to the sound I have in mind for my trombone, the better it feels to play.

The physical demands of your job are intense. How do you recover from the daily “grind”?

It truly depends on the day. Most recently, the best recovery for me has been practicing solo music and insisting on time to exercise at some point in the day. There is a certain amount of self soothing that happens with TV shows, etc., but I find that if I don’t limit what you might consider short term happinesses for activities that garner a more enduring smile like good sleep and exercise, my ability to stay in the game is diminished over time.

The orchestral music scene has undergone a lot of changes in recent years. What career advice do you give your students?

Take as much ownership of your success as possible. Work very hard when no one is looking. Show up for opportunities. Smile & Shut Up.

I was at an audition once in Europe where a fellow candidate had been asked during his audition why he used vibrato on Bolero and he quickly replied, “The saxophone solo that precedes the trombone solo is typically played with vibrato so I chose to build upon that theme.” I remember thinking that was a far more cogent response than I could have mustered which would have been something like, “I use vibrato on Bolero because my teacher told me to and I guess because it’s on my favorite recording?” My fellow candidate had already taken much more responsibility for his success. Thus, he was able to quickly defend his artistic interpretation and ultimately ended up winning the position we all coveted.

There’s a thing that all magicians know, as much as their patrons ask, people actually do not want to know how the magic trick is done. Practice as much as you need to, but do the bulk of it when no one is looking. Either because no one likes a show off or because they really don’t need to know how your magic trick is done; keep things professional.

There are opportunities out there and 90% of getting everything you deserve in this tight career field is showing up and when you do, put your best foot forward with QUIET CONFIDENCE. Smile and shut up because the ability to thrive and adapt quickly is contingent on your ability to listen and learn.

Watching your father teach trombone lessons via Skype at Tanglewood was inspiring to me. Talk about his influence on your life, both musically and otherwise.

My dad, Mike Oft, has made his way in this world with vigor, patience, and endurance. I found a great deal of strength in doing my best to emulate his work ethic and found that on a long enough time scale, I could equalize any lack of talent through diligent thoughtful practice. Exercise has always been a way of life for my father and I observe that because of it he seems to age much slower than all our family friends and also has an emotional resilience most people do not possess.

What are your interests outside Symphony Hall?

I am insatiably curious about the things I love in my life, which makes me a total geek about certain people and experiences I hold most dear to me. Things like clothes, coffee, exercise, single malt, and movies are a distant second in a world that consistently comes back to music.

I’m looking forward to hearing (and working with) you, Steve, and Jim for a long time. Thanks for letting me take part.

Joseph Alessi Interview with the All-Star Orchestra

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Joe Alessi is the principal trombonist of the All-Star Orchestra, a group comprised of some of the best symphonic musicians from around the United States. The orchestra meets once a year to record familiar and contemporary works in the hopes of educating and encouraging a greater appreciation of classical music.

Joe sat down to be interviewed as part of the project. Watch below if you’re interested in finding out what instrument he played before switching to the trombone, how he sounds on Mahler 3 with a lazy slide, and much more.

Scott Shelsta to Perform with Manassas Symphony

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Former “Pershing’s Own” trombone soloist Scott Shelsta will perform with the Manassas Symphony on March 1, 2014. The program will include Ferdinand David’s Concertino and Arthur Pryor’s Thoughts of Love.


Manassas Symphony Orchestra
March 1, 2014 @ 8pm
Hylton Performing Arts Center
10960 George Mason Cir, Manassas, VA 20109

Darrin Milling Wins Award

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Darrin Milling recently received the Cultural Merit Award from the Carlos Gomes Brazilian Society of Arts, Culture, and Education, along with the prestigious title Comendador, named after Brazil’s celebrated composer and maestro, Antônio Carlos Gomes. The ceremony took place on February 12 in Los Molinos restaurant in São Paulo, Brazil. Congratulations, Darrin!

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