Coming back home: Teaching trombone at Wheaton College

Coming back home: Teaching trombone at Wheaton College

They say you can’t go back. But I just did. In a circle of my life spanning 45 years, I’ve just gone back home. Just a few weeks ago, I was appointed the trombone teacher at my undergraduate alma mater, Wheaton College (Illinois). In a big sense, I feel like I’ve come home, returning to a place that dramatically shaped me even as I now have the opportunity to shape the lives of others.


[That’s me, warming up before a concert in Wheaton College’s Edman Chapel, spring 1975. This photo appeared in the 1975 edition of Tower, Wheaton College’s annual yearbook.]

It was while I was a student at Wheaton College that I studied trombone with Edward Kleinhammer, then bass trombonist of the Chicago Symphony, and started on my road to become an orchestral bass trombonist, a road that led me to the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1985-2012) and many other remarkable places.


[Edward Kleinhammer and me at my last lesson with him in his studio in the Fine Arts Building, Chicago, May 1976.]

It was while I was a student at Wheaton College that I met Dr. Harold Best—then the Dean of the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music and author of the remarkable book, Music Through the Eyes of Faithand began an abiding and life-changing relationship with a man who began as my advisor, became my mentor, and is now one of my closest friends.


[Dr. Harold Best and me, at his home in Idaho, 2014.]

It was while I was a student at Wheaton College where, two weeks after the most wonderful girl in the world and I got married, we set up our first home. After 44 years of marriage, I thank God that she’s still that girl.


[August 31, 1975]


It was while I was a student at Wheaton College where I memorized all of the verses to Martin Luther’s great hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God (for extra credit on an exam), and since that time, I have recalled it every day of my life, especially its second verse:

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;

Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing.

Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;

Lord Sabaoth His name, from age to age the same, and he must win the battle.

And it was at Wheaton College where our two daughters attended and graduated with degrees in music.

We all have hopes and dreams. One of mine, held for the last 45 years, has been that God might allow me to return to Wheaton College some day to serve on its faculty, and repay some of what that remarkable place gave to my family and me. Last month, that dream—that prayer—was answered most unexpectedly, when Dr. Michael Wilder, Dean of the Conservatory of Music and Division of Arts and Communication at Wheaton College, asked me to join Wheaton College’s faculty as its trombone teacher. It all happened so quickly, so remarkably, and after a time of prayer and consideration, I accepted.

In announcing my appointment, Dean Wilder said,

“We are delighted to welcome Douglas Yeo to the music faculty of the Conservatory of Music at Wheaton College. He brings an amazing life of experience as a performer, teacher, and thought leader in matters of artistry, faith, and creativity. A very few minutes with Douglas Yeo will pull any person into a whirlwind of ideas and inspiration and we are looking forward to all that he will accomplish at Wheaton College, as he invests in the lives of students, colleagues, alumni, and friends.”

I pray that I might live up to those words.

The fall 2019 semester is now half over, and my students and I are on fall break, a few days of refreshment before we head back to school for more trombone lessons, more trombone studio classes, more concerts, recitals, juries, and our ongoing exploration of music and music making.


So it is that on Tuesdays, you find me teaching lessons in room 022 of Wheaton College’s brand new (just two years old), state-of-the-art Armerding Center for Music and the Arts. It’s a teaching studio I share with four other Wheaton College faculty, a place where my students and I contend to be better stewards of the talents that God has given to us. On Fridays, I’m in the Armerding Center’s room 141, a spectacular “smart classroom” where we hold our weekly trombone studio class and engage in playing trombone ensembles and solos, listening to music, watching presentations, and much more.


[Armerding Center for the Performing Arts, Room 141.]

Next fall, Wheaton College will open a new 648 seat concert hall (this new hall is in addition to the Conservatory’s 101 seat recital hall and the 2400 seat Edman Memorial Chapel), making its music facilities second to none. My wife and I have been blessed to be able contribute to help with the construction and outfitting of these new music buildings and we’d like to encourage others who believe in the mission and work of Wheaton College to support the effort to complete the building of the Concert Hall. Click HERE to read a story about why we are helping with this and learn how you can join us and help as well.

Now, we are already beginning to make plans for the 2020-21 school year. Auditions will take place in the next several months—the deadline to apply for fall 2020 admission is January 10—and I am praying now for the group of students who will be part of the Wheaton College trombone studio next year. If you’re interested in studying trombone with me and attending an outstanding liberal arts college (which has a Conservatory of Music that has a superb undergraduate music curriculum that leads to a bachelor of arts, bachelor of music, or bachelor of music education degree; Wheaton also offers a minor in music), a college that has at its core the commitment to “Christ and His Kingdom,” a place that has high and rigorous academic standards in which students grow and learn to be good stewards of the talents God has given them, and a place that Forbes has recently named one of America’s Top Colleges, I’d like to encourage you to apply for admission. The Wheaton College Conservatory of Music website has details about everything you’d want to know about the study of music at Wheaton: a look at our facilities, biographies of all of our outstanding faculty, videos of large ensemble performances, and much more. You can also get details about how to apply to the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music by clicking HERE. The Conservatory’s mission statement stakes out our commitment to our students:

The Conservatory seeks to bring each of its students to an intellectual understanding of the theoretical, historical, and stylistic aspects of musical practice; to relate each of these to the vast literature of music; and to demand the highest level possible of technical and artistic achievement in performance, composition, and teaching. Most importantly the Conservatory seeks to undertake this task in the light of a biblical perspective which describes the making of music as an act of worship and service, calls for excellence as the norm of stewardship, and relates all of human creativity to the Creatorhood of God.

For more information about trombone study at Wheaton College, go to my bio page on the Wheaton College Conservatory website and click on the tab that says Faith and Learning. There you will find my underlying core philosophy of teaching, and the fundamentals of what it is that we work to do in Armerding Room 022 and 114, across campus, and even to the ends of the earth.

And if you are entering grades 9-12 in the fall of 2020 and are looking for an engaging, one-week long summer music program, I’d like you to know that I will be teaching at Wheaton College’s summer music camp, to be held next summer from June 21-28. This is an ideal way to explore music at Wheaton; for information, click HERE.

I’m back home again, at Wheaton College. If God leads you home there, too, I look forward to seeing you.




From Texas to Japan – help the Univ. of Texas Trombone Choir get there in 2020

From Texas to Japan – help the Univ. of Texas Trombone Choir get there in 2020

For many years, I have enjoyed a close relationship with the University of Texas (Austin) trombone studio, and its Professor, Dr. Nathaniel Brickens. Nat is one of the most highly-respected trombone teachers in the world, a former president of the International Trombone Association, and a superb player and – most of all – one of the nicest people I know. I have been fortunate to have travelled to UT several times to give masterclasses, perform as soloist with the UT trombone choir, and conduct the choir and large groups of trombonists that came to campus. The photo below shows me conducting a massed choir at UT last year with the UT trombone choir and trombonists from local universities and high schools. That took place during the most recent of my trips to Austin. We were performing Simon Wills’ Tinguely’s Fountain. As you can see, everything is BIG in Texas!


The UT Trombone Choir has been invited to perform at the 2020 International Trombone Festival that will be held in July in Osaka, Japan. This is a huge honor for this group, which is one of the finest collegiate trombone choirs in the world. As one who has been to Japan to teach and perform fifteen times over the years (most recently just a few weeks ago), I know first hand how valuable this trip will be for the UT trombone students who will be visiting Japan for the first time. It is a tremendous opportunity to put this fine group center-stage at the premier trombone event for 2020 – which is also the year of the Summer Olympic Games in Japan. This kind of cross-cultural musical experience will be invaluable both for the UT trombone students, but for those attending the International Trombone Festival, many of whom will be from Asia.

I’d like to ask you to consider contributing financially to help make this trip happen. As you can imagine, it takes not only a huge amount of organizing to get the UT trombone choir to Japan, but a lot of money as well. The trombone choir has started a HornRaiser program, UT’s crowdfunding platform. Click


to visit the University of Texas trombone choir HornRaiser page.


Once there, you can view a video that describes their planned trip to Japan, and have the opportunity to join others in supporting the UT trombone choir as they prepare to represent UT, Texas, and the United States at the International Trombone Festival in Japan. My wife and I have just contributed $500 towards this, and while no contribution is too small – every dollar helps and your donation is fully tax deductible – I’d like to urge you to give generously to help these fine students. Donations are accepted by credit card so anyone in the world can help in this effort. This fund raising program just started and continues for a few more days. Please help these students spread their great music making to Japan.

Thanks so much for your help. And, as they say at University of Texas,



100 years ago today: Edward Marck Kleinhammer (1919-2013)

100 years ago today: Edward Marck Kleinhammer (1919-2013)

100 years ago today—on August 31, 1919—Edward Marck Kleinhammer was born (that is not a typo, his middle name was spelled Marck). He had a  long and especially distinguished career as bass trombonist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1940-1985. His influence on bass trombone performance and pedagogy is incalculable, even today, years after his death in 2013.

This was a man who changed my life. He was my trombone teacher during my years as an undergraduate at Wheaton College, Illinois (1974-1976). In the years that followed, the teacher/student relationship changed into a deep, abiding friendship, and I count myself very blessed that God brought our lives together. The story of his accomplishments and his influence on me and so many others is something I told in two articles I wrote about him for the International Trombone Association Journal. On both occasions, his photo graced the cover of the Journal. I wrote the first on the occasion of his retirement from the Chicago Symphony, in 1985. You can read it by clicking HERE.


I wrote the second in 2014, shortly after his death. You can read it by clicking HERE.


The photo on both of these International Trombone Association Journal covers dates from 1976, and first appeared in a book published by the Chicago Symphony in that year, Reflections: A collection of personality sketches of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.


Both of my articles are personal tributes to a great man and contain much information about his life, work, and influence. Today, on what would have been his 100th birthday, I don’t need to say many more words about Mr. Kleinhammer. He was a superb bass trombonist, a caring, challenging, effective, and tremendously inspiring teacher, and one who loved God and lived his life with the Bible as his guide. But a picture, it has been said, tells a thousand words. Here are some photos of him that tell more of his story. Many have never been published before. Several were given to me by Ed Kleinhammer himself; others were given to me by his widow, Dessie, after his death, and still others come from my own collection. Edward Kleinhammer: a life well lived, and a life remembered by all who knew and were influenced by him. Captions are above each photo.

[Below] Ed Kleinhammer played trombone in Leopold Stokowski’s All-American Youth Orchestra in 1940, during the summer before he joined the Chicago Symphony. This photo shows the orchestra on stage at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City before their tour of South America:


[Below] This is a closeup of the low brass section of the orchestra, cropped from the above photo. From the left (front) are Dorothy Zeigler, Charles Gusikoff (who was principal trombonist of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the time—Stokowski engaged several members of the PO to play alongside the younger players in the orchestra), Edward Kleinhammer, Howard Cole, and Philip Silverman, tuba:


[Below] Edward Kleinhammer and an unidentified All-American Youth Orchestra member  outside the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall, 1940:


[Below] After I joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1985, Edward Kleinhammer sent me his copy of the Method for trombone by Carl Hampe, who had been principal trombonist with the BSO in the early 20th century. It was one of his earliest trombone study books but it was one he turned to even after he joined the Chicago Symphony. When I opened it, I found many of his markings inside including those on these two pages. This one has an aphorism that he penned in 1947, and is a good reminder of how discipline and “slow and steady wins the race” were themes of his life:


[Below] This page, below, made me smile. Evidently, Leopold Stokowski had asked Mr. Kleinhammer to demonstrate his range on the trombone. His note to himself speaks for itself:


[Below] Here is the Chicago Symphony, October 8, 1940. This is a scan of half of a photo of the orchestra; I only have this scan of this portion of the photo which was given to me by Edward Kleinhammer.

CSO_1940[Below] Here is the low brass section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, fall 1940, cropped from the larger photo shown above of the CSO with Frederick Stock, conductor, at the beginning of Edward Kleinhammer’s tenure in the orchestra. Left to right: George Washington Hamburg, tuba; Edward Kleinhammer, bass trombone; David Anderson, second trombone; Frank Crisafulli, principal trombone; Edward Geffert, assistant principal trombone.


[Below] From 1942—1945, Edward Kleinhammer was in a U.S. Army band, stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. In this photo, he is in the top row, second from the right, next to a Sousaphone player:


[Below] Ed Kleinhammer in uniform, c. 1944:


[Below] The caption on the back of this photo is in Edward Kleinhammer’s handwriting and reads, “Stage Band, Independence, Kansas. Early 1940s.” He drew a small “X” on the photo to show where he was sitting in the back row of the Army band:


[Below] The caption on the back of this photo, reads (in his wife, Dorothy’s handwriting), “Ed is practicing near our cabin.” In his handwriting, it reads, “Calling ‘Moose'” (Moose was Ed Kleinhammer’s nickname in the CSO). The photo looks to date from the late 1950s.


[Below] This photo is from the Ravinia Festival, taken around 1960. From left to right: Rudolph “Rudy” Nashan, trumpet; Adolph “Bud” Herseth, principal trumpet; Robert Lambert, principal trombone, Frank Crisafulli, second trombone; Edward Kleinhammer, bass trombone; Arnold Jacobs, tuba.


[Below] This is a Chicago Symphony Orchestra brass quartet, around 1970. David Babcock, horn; Charles Geyer, trumpet; Edward Kleinhammer, bass trombone (playing his single valve Bach 50-B bass trombone); James Gilbertson, tenor trombone.


[Below] The caption on the back of this photo, in Edward Kleinhammer’s handwriting, reads, “Trombone Section CSO Circa 1970.” Back to camera: Edward Kleinhammer, Frank Crisafulli; facing camera, James Gilbertson, Jay Friedman.


[Below] Chicago Symphony brass players, May 1972. Back row, from left to right: Adolph “Bud” Herseth, principal trumpet; James Gilbertson, assistant principal trombone; Jay Friedman, euphonium (principal trombone); Frank Crisafulli, second trombone; Edward Kleinhammer, bass trombone; Arnold Jacobs, tuba.


[Below] Members of the Chicago Symphony brass section, around 1975. Back row, left to right: Philip Smith, fourth trumpet; William Scarlett, third trumpet; Charles Geyer, second trumpet; Adolph “Bud” Herseth, principal trumpet; James Gilbertson, assistant principal trombone; Frank Crisafulli, second trombone; Edward Kleinhammer, bass trombone; Arnold Jacobs, tuba.


[Below] This photo was taken by my wife after my last lesson with Edward Kleinhammer, just before my graduation from Wheaton College, May 1976. The location is his studio in the Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue, Chicago. He is holding his bass trombone made by Schilke with a bell by Earl Williams.


[Below] The caption on the back of this photo, in Edward Kleinhammer’s handwriting, reads, “Ravinia 1976.”


[Below] Edward Kleinhammer and Arnold Jacobs, c. 1984:


[Below] Edward Kleinhammer’s final concert with the Chicago Symphony in Orchestra Hall was in May 1985. These three photos (below) were taken during that concert and hung in his home office for many years after.


[Below] Edward Kleinhammer’s final bow at his chair in Orchestra Hall, May 1985. Also seen are Frank Crisafulli, second trombone, and Arnold Jacobs, tuba:


[Below] Edward Kleinhammer’s final concert in Orchestra Hall, May 1985. Here he is at the podium, being presented with the Chicago Symphony’s Theodore Thomas Medallion by guest conductor Michael Tilson Thomas:



[Below] Edward Kleinhammer’s Theodore Thomas Medallion, presented to him by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on the occasion of his retirement from the Orchestra:

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The Theodore Thomas Medallion for Distinguished Service

Presented to Edward Kleinhammer


[Below] At the 2004 International Trombone Festival in Ithaca, New York, Edward Kleinhammer and George “Mr. Bass Trombone” Roberts met for the first time. It was a very special moment to see these two giants of the bass trombone from very different parts of the musical universe (classical and commercial) meet on stage together after Mr. Kleinhammer’s master class. George, ever effusive, came up to Ed and gave him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. At the moment this interaction occurred, I was sitting in the audience with Ed’s wife, Dessie.


[Below] Edward Kleinhammer at home in Hayward, Wisconsin, around 2000 (photo by David Wilson). The mouthpiece in this Bach 50B3 is my YAMAHA Douglas Yeo Signature Series Mouthpiece that I had given to him several years earlier.

Edward Kleinhammer_c2005

[Below] I kept in close contact with Mr. Kleinhammer over the years; I have several hundred hand written letters from him, even more emails, and we spoke by phone frequently. He always called me on August 31—his birthday— to wish my wife and me a happy anniversary. My wife and I were married on August 31, 1976, and every year, without fail, before I could pick up the phone to wish him a happy birthday, my phone rang and it was him, to wish us well. The last time I saw him was at his home in Hayward in 2009. This is how I will always remember him:


I last spoke to Ed a few days before he died. Nothing in his voice gave a clue that a week later, he would pass from this world to the next while taking a nap in his favorite chair. I am a better person and trombonist because of the influence of Edward Kleinhammer, and I know many others can say the same thing. Today, on what would have been his 100th birthday, we honor this man who did so much for so many.

Inspired in Japan – the 25th Hamamatsu International Wind Instrument Academy and Festival

Inspired in Japan – the 25th Hamamatsu International Wind Instrument Academy and Festival

I have been to Japan 14 or 15 times in my life; I’ve lost count. I first travelled to the island nation in 1986, on tour with the Boston Symphony and its music director Seiji Ozawa. More Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestra (with John Williams, conducting) tours followed over the years. I have also been to Japan many times to teach and perform at the Hamamatsu International Wind Instrument Academy and Festival. I was on the faculty of the first Academy in 1995 and this month, I returned to Hamamatsu for the seventh (or eighth?) time to take part in its 25th anniversary event.


The Hamamatsu International Wind Instrument Academy and Festival has grown to be an event of major importance for wind players. Jointly sponsored by the City of Hamamatsu, the Hamamatsu Cultural Foundation, and YAMAHA Corporation, the Academy and Festival assembles an international faculty of wind instrument teachers and performers. Each teacher chooses a class of eight students from recorded auditions, and students receive four lessons during a week. Lessons are open —they are conducted in large rooms with plenty of seating—and teaching rooms are always full of those who want to learn from the teachers. As such, each lesson is as much a masterclass as it is a private lesson. Before the teaching part of the event begins, the faculty always give an opening concert which, over the years, has taken different forms. Sometimes faculty play solos with piano, sometimes they play chamber music, and sometimes they take part in large ensemble performances.


I was delighted to be invited to the 2019 Academy and Festival. Of the fifteen faculty members—there were between one and three classes for every wind instrument—there were four Americans: Otis Murphy, saxophone (professor, Indiana University), Chris Martin, trumpet (principal trumpet, New York Philharmonic), Gene Pokorny (principal tuba, Chicago Symphony), and myself. The other brass faculty members were Jeroen Berwaerts, trumpet (professor, Hochschule für Musik in Hannover), Jens Plücker, horn (principal horn, NDF Elbphilharmonie Orchester), and Anthony Caillet, euphonium (international soloist). Apart from Anthony, who I met and worked with for the first time, I knew all of the other brass faculty from our working together at previous Hamamatsu Academies.


Before the Academy started, several faculty members were invited to visit the YAMAHA Innovation Road Museum. This is new, a telling of the history of YAMAHA Corporation. The museum was fascinating to me, having been involved with YAMAHA since 1986.


Among the many interesting things about the Innovation Road Museum is that many of its instruments were available for the public to play. While we were visiting, we saw dozens of children playing pianos, guitars, and other instruments. This is a huge commitment on Yamaha’s part, since these instruments get heavy use and eventually need to be replaced. But this “hands-on” aspect of the exhibit showed how YAMAHA is committed to engaging the public with its work. Gene Pokorny (above) had a moment with a Sousaphone and his single note—played with GREAT enthusiasm—got everyone’s attention.


I learned a lot of the company’s history, including the fact that Torakusu Yamaha, the founder of YAMAHA Corporation, was originally named Torakusu Yamaba. He changed his name to Yamaha because he thought that name would be of greater interest to the export market. I learned many new things!


This year, the opening concert featured a brass ensemble that performed the world premiere of a newly commissioned work by Eric Ewazen, Hamamatsu Overture. The same ensemble played movements of Hans Werner Henze’s Ragtimes and Habaneras. Originally for brass band, it had been arranged for the Concertgebouw Brass. I had previously conducted this piece with a brass band (at the Boston Symphony’s summer home, Tanglewood, with members of the Boston Symphony, Empire Brass, and students from the Tanglewood Music Center—Henze was also in the audience for the performance) and I found this arrangement to be spectacular, and quite faithful to Henze’s original. It was such a pleasure to play in this brass ensemble. Was playing in a group ever easier or more rewarding than this, with such accomplished (and nice!) players? I don’t think so.


For the second half of the concert, the Festival had assembled a wind ensemble. The 15 faculty members made up the core of the group while it was filled out with other professional Japanese players. This was, for brasses, mostly a “one-on-a-part” band. I had not played in a band since the summer of 1980 when I played my last concert as a member of the Goldman Band in New York City (I was a member of the Goldman Band from 1977-1980) although I have conducted many bands over the years. The program consisted of several classic works for wind ensemble: the Second Suite of Gustav Holst, Darius Milhaud’s Suite Francaise, an arrangement of “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral” from Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin, and John Philip Sousa’s march, The Thunderer. Once again, playing in this band while sitting next to Anthony Caillet and Gene Pokorny was a rare and tremendously satisfying experience. The transparency of playing was notable, and the ensemble came together in a beautiful, rare way.


I was also very grateful to have been asked to pen a few words of congratulations to the Festival for inclusion in the opening concert program which you can read above.



We gathered on stage after the concert for a photo of the Academy professors. Two photos actually, each of which tell part of the story of our very enjoyable shared collaboration.


From the opening concert we began our days of teaching. My class had five tenor and three bass trombonists. Five women and three men. Over the years, I have had many different kinds of students. There is no age limit for the Academy, so in the past I have had both young players and professionals. This year, all of my students were young. One was 17, others were in college/university, and a few had recently graduated from college. But, wow, they had such talent! It was a joy to work with them; they were all eager to try, learn, experiment. I chose three phrases as the motto for our class:

Pay attention.

Try everything.

Chase greatness.

If we pay attention to everything around us—not just other trombone players—there is much we can bring to our artistic/musical expression. If we try every option for every decision we face as musicians—where to breathe, what slide position to use, etc.—we can benefit from the improvement we make each day and not become fossilized with ideas that we implemented when we first laid our eyes on a piece of music. And from the Chicago Bears, I brought “chase greatness.” You must first know what greatness IS and when you see it, run after it, hunt it down, embrace it, and make it yours. My students bought into this and worked very hard. All of them —ALL of them!—had major breakthroughs in their playing at each lesson. I cannot remember ever seeing this happen. But this class was special. Very, very special.


Another nice aspect of this event was the fact that my translator was Nozomi Kasano (on the right in the photo above). I  first met Nozomi at the 10th Hamamatsu Academy and Festival in 2005. She subsequently came to Boston to study with me at New England Conservatory of Music where she earned a graduate diploma and Master’s degree. The then returned to Japan where she won the position of bass trombonist with the Japan Century Orchestra in Osaka. I am so proud of her. This was the third time Nozomi had been my translator in Japan (she did this six years ago at the 20th Academy, and two years ago when I was the guest artist at the Nagoya Trombone Festival). She knows me so well, and translates more than just my words—she translates ME. Also, our class pianist was Hitomi Takara (in the middle in the photo above), a superb artist with whom I had worked with at the Academy in the past. She was my accompanist five years ago at the 21st Academy, both for my class and for me when I gave a recital at the Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments. Having them with me again made the trombone class room a very, very happy place.


Speaking of the Musical Instrument Museum, I enjoyed another visit before the Academy started. I was surprised and delighted to find video screens installed throughout the museum where visitors can both hear and see several instruments being played. This is a great addition to the musical instrument museum, and my surprise was even greater when I went to look at the museum’s serpent collection and found a video there of me playing serpent during my recital.


The Academy also features a concert of student performers. Each class holds an audition of all of its students and one player from each studio is chosen by the professor to represent the class on the student concert. The winner that I chose to represent the trombone class on the concert was Miho Ogose, a University senior. She played the first movement of Eric Ewazen’s Concerto for Bass Trombone. Like all of my students, she played with exceptional musicality. All of us in the trombone class were so proud of her and her performance was absolutely great. Look at the photo above, taken right after the concert. The look on Miho’s face—surrounded by other trombone players from our class who were congratulating her on her performance—reflects the joy of music and music making. It was a special moment for all of us.


The Academy and Festival concluded with a farewell party at Mein Schloss, a German beer hall near the ACT City Hamamatsu complex where all of our concerts and teaching took place (we also stayed at the Okura Hotel ACT City). This is always a fun event, with plenty of food and drink, and performances by each class. Some are silly, some are more serious, and when we drew lots to determine the order in which classes would play at the party, the trombone class drew last! So we wrapped up the festivities with performances of my friend Stephen Bulla’s arrangement of Londonderry Air and an arrangement of 76 Trombones that I commissioned from my friend Ken Amis, tubist of the Empire Brass. Fun times.


As my plane took off from Tokyo and I watched the Pacific Ocean come into view, I reflected on my days in Japan. I have so many memories from my trips to that fascinating country. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with so many Japanese students over the years. I have friendships with many players and teachers, as well as many employees of YAMAHA Corporation, with whom I have collaborated for many years to make the bass trombone (YBL822G) and mouthpiece (Douglas Yeo Signature Series Mouthpiece) that I have played for so long. Wonderful food, interesting experiences, deep friendships, students who are eager to learn. It all combined to make for an especially satisfying trip. While it is true that “there’s no place like home,” traveling around the world has opened my eyes to many things and has made a deep imprint on how I think and live. Thank you, Hamamatsu International Wind Instrument Academy and Festival, its organizers (especially Naoki Suzuki of YAMAHA), faculty, translators, pianists, and students. All of you are a big part of my life. Thank you for this time we shared together. I hope to see all of you again soon.


[Photo above: Sunset at 38,000 feet, above the clouds, over the Pacific Ocean. August 11, 2019.]

[Featured photo at the top of this article: Several faculty members of the 25th Hamamatsu International Wind Instrument Academy and Festival after the Opening Concert. Left to right: Otis Murphy, Jean-Yves Fourmeau, Nobuya Sugawa, Anthony Caillet, Gene Pokorny, Douglas Yeo.]


Rewarded: a new book

Rewarded: a new book

I love to write. Ever since I was a young boy, I have been passionate about writing. Give me a 2,000 word essay on a school exam any day over three math problems. My love of writing was birthed from my love of reading, something imparted to me by my parents. My father was Chairman of our local public library while I was going up, and every week, my brothers and I trekked to the the library to take out another stack of books to read. I was fortunate to attend schools that emphasized reading, whether contemporary literature (a little), the classics (a lot), and the ancients (Edith Hamilton’s Mythology remains a favorite).

I’m at work writing several books at the moment. In the introduction to The Trombone Book, a planned 500 page book I’m writing for Oxford University Press that will cover the history, use, performance, teaching, and care of the instrument (for trombone players who are reading this, think of this book as the successor to the long out of print Trombone Technique by Denis Wick), I’ve written these words:

In a sense, I have been writing this book since I first picked up the trombone in 1964. My parents, Alan and Jeannine Yeo, now gone from this world to the next, taught me to pay attention. From them I received the gift of a disciplined work ethic and the understanding that it was required to succeed in anything. They instilled in me a love of books and reading, and from that it was not a far walk to a love of writing. I grew to appreciate words and how they were put together, and I particularly thank Alfred, Lord Tennyson (Enoch Arden), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Evangeline), Herman Melville (Moby Dick), Thomas Hardy (Under the Greenwood Tree and The Choirmaster’s Burial), J. D. Salinger (Catcher in the Rye), William Buckley (The Right Word) and Jacques Barzun (many books, but especially Berlioz and the Romantic Century, From Dawn to Decadence, The Use and Abuse of Art, The Culture We Deserve, and Darwin, Marx, Wagner: Critique of a Heritage) for their exceptional modeling of the possibilities of the English language. An exasperated Abigail Adams was known to say to her husband, John, whose predilection for long narrative introductions before getting to the main point used to annoy her to no end, “John! Do you always have to start at Genesis?” Like our Second President, I confess to being guilty as charged, and also to finding solace in the writing of the Apostle Paul, whose first sentence of his letter to the Romans contains 132 words before the insertion of the punctuation mark we call the period. Stopping a thought is sometimes hard to do.

I love well crafted sentences, the putting together of words, how they flow past the eye and off the lips.

As much as I like writing, I also like what happens before writing: research. I don’t write fiction; I write about music and music making, musical instruments and real people and history. I love the chase, the tracking down of facts both obscure and well known, the hunt for needles in haystacks. It is intense, patient, time-consuming, frustrating, and rewarding work. And I never tire of it.

So, today is a particularly happy day for me, as my mailman brought me a most welcome package: several copies of my newest book, Serpents, Bass Horns and Ophicleides at the Bate Collection, just published by the University of Oxford in Oxford, England.


The Bate Collection in Oxford has a superb collection of musical instruments. I visited there in 2009 and had the opportunity to play several instruments under the watchful eye of my friend, curator Andrew Lamb.


The Collection is a veritable “Ali Baba’s cave” of musical instruments, as you can see from this snapshot of one of the many display cases:


In 2011, Andrew Lamb asked if I would be interested in writing a book about The Bate’s collection of serpents and related instruments. It took me all of one second to agree, although the project was delayed for many reasons. It was not as simple as sitting down and getting to work; a great deal of groundwork needed to be laid. And I also needed time to research and write. In 2012, I retired from the Boston Symphony and promptly flunked retirement and took the full time position of Professor of Trombone at Arizona State University. That job, as wonderful as it was, was all-consuming, and with many other writing projects going at the same time, the Bate book had to wait. But there was much to do as well, including collecting detailed information about all of The Bate’s instruments, arranging for high quality photos to be taken of each instrument, as well as research into the instruments themselves. I devised a plan for the structure of the book and last year, I began discussions with Bryn Walls, a superb designer who had been engaged to lay out and put the book together.

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As you can see from the first page of table of contents above, the book is divided into two primary sections. After a Foreward by Craig Kridel (not a Forward – remember that this book is published in England and England and the USA are two countries separated by a common language – my text needed to undergo “Anglicization” so its spelling and punctuation conformed to British publishing style), five chapters of Historical Context appear. In this section, I wrote a brief history of the instruments as seen through those at The Bate.

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The second section of the book is a detailed discussion of the instruments at The Bate. My commentary is greatly enhanced by superb photos of the instruments by Gary Ombler. Following the discussion of the instruments is a brief section of back matter, including a checklist of the instruments, a bibliography so readers and learn more, a bio and photo of moi, and a page with the index and acknowledgements.



Each instrument is afforded its own two page spread, with at least two full views of the instrument (sometimes there are three or four – front, back, and sides), many photographs of detailed elements of the instruments, as well as my commentary.

With this book, serpents, bass horns, and ophicleides at The Bate come alive in a new way. Visitors to the Collection can walk through the gallery with the book in hand as they look at the instruments and learn more than the identifying label next to the instrument itself can tell them. Those who can’t get to The Bate can enjoy the instruments while sitting at home in their favorite (whoops – favourite) chair. 80 pages of photos and commentary about some of the most interesting musical instruments ever conceived and manufactured.

The book is now available through the Bate Collection’s online publications store; click HERE to go there in a new browser window. Or, of course, you can stop by the Bate Collection yourself and pick one up there. I am delighted that this book, the subject a long period of research, writing, layout, and proofreading, is now available. Holding copies in my hand today is a great reward at the end of a long process. I will enjoy this moment, but tomorrow I’ll be happily back to my other writing projects. More on them soon!



An Easter reflection

An Easter reflection

Today is Easter. It is a day that remembers an event of monumental importance: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The story has been told countless times, and Christians around the world celebrated Easter with song, sermons, and the reading of Scripture. Today, my wife and I sang in the choir at our church, College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, where we brought the Credothe Nicene Creed — to our congregation in the monumental setting by Johann Sebastian Bach as found in his Mass in B-minor.

There are four accounts of the death and resurrection of Jesus in the Gospel accounts in the Bible – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Each highlights particular moments in those world-changing days nearly 2000 years ago. In 2016, my wife and I traveled to Israel with a tour group sponsored by our undergraduate alma mater, Wheaton College. The trip was life changing, as we visited many of the traditional sites where pivotal events in the Bible took place. One such site was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built over the traditional sites of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. The photo at the top of this blog entry on The Last Trombone is one I took of the tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Do we know for sure that he was actually buried there? No, but since at least around 400 AD, Christian pilgrims have venerated this particular place as being the site. I do not engage in debates over whether this or that site is THE site. It enough that I was in the neighborhood.

Artists over the centuries have depicted the resurrection of Jesus as a cataclysmic event, replete with angels and earthquakes, and the moving away of the stone that covered the entrance of the tomb. The Bible tells of this (Matthew 28:1-4):

And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.

Typical of such artistic representations is the one below that I saw a few days ago at the Art Institute of Chicago.


The painting is by Cecco del Caravaggio, whose real name was Francesco Buoneri, and it was painted in 1619-1620. Christ appears on top of his tomb, and an angel is dispatching Roman soldiers who were guarding the tomb. Cecco’s use of light and dark is exceptional, and I spent a long time sitting in the museum’s gallery and contemplating the event that it depicts.

But in 2017, when my wife and I traveled to Italy on another Wheaton College alumni tour — a tour that took us to Florence and Rome — I saw another painting of the resurrection that has stuck in my mind ever since. This painting was in the Galleria dell’ Accademia in Florence, in the same museum that houses Michelangelo’s iconic statue of David. The painting, by Andrea del Sarto, was painted in the early sixteenth century and presents a very different view of the resurrection of Christ.


Here is a moment before the the earthquake; we see no guards, no angel. It shows Jesus in His tomb at the moment of his resurrection. The wounds from his crucifixion are visible, as are some of his burial cloths. The image is one of quiet contemplation. I am sure I was not alone, when standing before this painting, in asking the question: What was Jesus thinking at this moment?

What I find interesting in all of this is that the Bible is silent about what actually happened inside the tomb at the moment when Christ was raised from the dead. He was dead, buried in the tomb. Then at some point over the next two days, Christ was resurrected, and somehow, in some way, he left the tomb. Two days after his agonizing death on the cross, the tomb was empty. Mary Magdeline was shocked to see the tomb empty when she came to visit it two days after the crucifixion of Jesus, but an angel spoke to her with these earth-shattering words (Matthew 28:6):

He is not here, for he has risen.

I like to meditate on both of these paintings which depict two moments surrounding the resurrection of Jesus. Both speak to the same thing: Jesus was dead, buried, and was raised from the dead. In the days and weeks that followed, He appeared in physical form — not as some kind of ghost or apparition — before hundreds of people. This is documented not only by the Bible, but by other, independent writers. The resurrection of Jesus happened. It was and is true, and it changed the world and the life of every person in it. As the Apostle Paul reminds us (1 Corinthians 15:17-20):

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead.

C. S. Lewis spoke to this fact in his book, Mere Christianity. I have previously quoted him in my article on The Last Trombone about Christmas, but his words are worth repeating here:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about [Jesus]: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.”

That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.

Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

The death of Jesus Christ. His burial. His resurrection. It happened. And it matters. Happy Easter.


Symphony Hall: Boston’s proud temple of music since 1900

Symphony Hall: Boston’s proud temple of music since 1900

From 1985-2012, I was bass trombonist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra’s home is Symphony Hall, on the corner of Huntington and Massachusetts Avenues in Boston’s Back Bay section (301 Massachusetts Avenue). Opened in 1900 after the orchestra left the Boston Music Hall where it had played concerts since it was founded in 1881, Symphony Hall is considered to be one of the three finest concert halls in the world, with its acclaimed acoustics putting it in the company of the Musikvereinsaal (Vienna) and Concertgebouw (Amsterdam). Before it was destroyed in World War II, the old (alte) Gewandhaus in Leipzig was also similarly acclaimed. Having played concerts in the halls in Vienna and Amsterdam, I can say that in my view, Symphony Hall is simply the finest concert hall in which I have ever performed.

When I joined the Boston Symphony, I was aware of the rich history of both the orchestra itself and its storied home. I’ve read everything I could find about the BSO and Symphony Hall, spent countless hours in the orchestra’s archives (with which I had a hand in formally establishing in 1987), and have been fascinated at all I have found and learned.

Two important books have informed my quest for information about Symphony Hall.


Published in 1950 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the opening of Symphony Hall, H. Earle Johnson’s Symphony Hall, Boston (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1950)  surveys the orchestra’s first 50 years, discusses programming and personnel, and features commentary on the building and opening of Symphony Hall. Now out of print (but copies can be found on through used book outlets such a, it unfortunately has no illustrations. 



Richard Poate Stebbins’ book, The Making of Symphony Hall: A History with Documents (Boston: Boston Symphony Orchestra, 2000) is a superb volume that documents, in fascinating detail, the planning, construction, and opening of Symphony Hall. It was published on Symphony Hall’s centennial, a year I remember with great fondness for the many historical exhibits in the Hall’s corridors and the many celebrations of the Hall throughout the year. The cover of the book features an early, color rendering of the original design of the hall, with many statues, inscriptions, and decorative cornices. Ultimately, none of these items were incorporated in hall when it was finished. Money ran out, and to this day, even there is no external decoration to the hall. Even the Hall’s  name is not found on its exterior. Yet it is this austerity that is part of Symphony Hall’s charm; somehow it fits in with the Boston way.

Symphony Hall was designed by  the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White and an early photo of the completed Hall appeared in A Monograph of the Work of McKim, Mead & White, 1879-1915 (New York: Architectural Book Publishing Co, 1915), below. The publication was a massive four volume set with nearly 400 photographs; each had a simple caption without commentary. It details the breadth of the buildings designed by McKim, Mead & White and it includes three plates that feature Symphony Hall, plates 141, 142, and 143. Several years ago, I was able to obtain original copies of these plates, which are also contained in a modern reproduction of the original four volume set that is still readily and affordably available (McKim, Mead & White, The Architecture of McKim, Mead & White in Photographs, Plans and Elevations (New York: Dover Publications, 1990).  While McKim, Mead & White’s portfolio was published in 1915, the caption reflects the original name for Symphony Hall, The Boston Symphony Music Hall, which was changed to Symphony Hall just before its opening in October, 1900.


The other two plates feature some interior and exterior cross sections of Symphony Hall (the aisles on the main floor were changed to a different configuration in the final design), plate 142:


And plate 143, that features details of exterior design for the Hall:


Over the years, I have collected many postcards of Symphony Hall; I usually paid only one or two dollars apiece for a piece of Boston Symphony history. I was fascinated at how many different images of the facade of the Hall had been made over nearly 100 years. In all, I found dozens of different postcards with nearly 30 images of the exterior of the hall. Many were crisp and clean, but the ones that were most interesting were the ones that had been used, with writing, stamps, and postmarks. It is these postcards that helped to document the approximate time when the photo or image of Symphony Hall was made. Early postcards were black and white; later ones were hand tinted before reproduction, and later ones are faithful photographic reproductions. Most postcards do not have copyright dates; I am not an expert at automobile models which could help further pinpoint years photos were taken. Still, these cards tell the story of Symphony Hall in a unique way. I’m presenting them here in rough chronological order with only light commentary; captions appear beneath each card. The images speak for themselves and are a reminder of a very important part of my life and the lives of thousands upon thousands of lovers of music who have walked through the doors of Symphony Hall, Boston’s proud Temple of Music. 


01. Music Hall, Boston, Mass. c. 1900. Card produced by National Art Views Co., N. Y. City. One of the earliest photos of the exterior of Symphony Hall, the view is of the original front entrance of Symphony Hall on Huntington Avenue; the Huntington Avenue trolly line power lines have been removed from this image. The Hall’s original name, Music Hall, which was changed to Symphony Hall before the first Boston Symphony concert was performed there on October 15, 1900, is featured in the caption.


02. Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. c. 1900. Card produced by The Metropolitan News Co., Boston. This is the identical photo seen in the previous card except the trolley power lines have not been removed. Note the name of the Hall has now been changed from Music Hall to Symphony Hall.


03. Symphony Hall. c. 1902. This collage of buildings are from Boston’s Back Bay area, including the Horticultural Hall, which is across the street from Symphony Hall on Massachusetts Avenue. The Art Museum on the card is the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which moved from its original location in Copley Square (shown on the card) to its present location on Huntington Avenue in 1907.


03a. Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. c. 1904. Card produced by Detroit Photographic Co. The card is used and is postmarked October 7, 1908, addressed to Miss Mary Merkins, Winsted, Connecticut. The copyright date of the image is given as 1904. Note the woman in the bottom right corner who is holding on to her hat in the gusting wind.


04. Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. c. 1905. Produced by F. von Bardelben, New York & Germany. Made in Germany. Note the presence of a single horse-drawn carriage.


05. Symphony Hall, c. 1905. Card produced by Chisholm Bros., Portland, Maine. The card is used and is postmarked September 4, 1905, addressed to Miss Myrtle Kiefer, Homer, Michigan. The view is similar to the card above but several pedestrians are seen standing against the building.


06. Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. c. 1905. Card produced by The New England News Company, Boston, Mass. – Leipzig — Berlin. The card is used and is postmarked June 29, 1905, addressed to Mrs. K. B. Keene of Washington, D.C. In this view, one can see one of the rising-sun  shaped windows in the clerestory; these were boarded up during World War II (a blackout precaution) and were only reopened in the early 2000s at which time natural light once again could shine into the Hall.


07. Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. c. 1905. Card produced by Souvenir Post Card Co., New York. The card is used and is postmarked November 11, 1906, addressed to Mrs. A. L. Turner of Atlantic, Massachusetts. The photo is identical to the one in the card above although it is cropped differently and you can see many people along the Massachusetts Avenue side of Symphony Hall who had been removed in the previous card. I own a second copy of this card that was also used, postmarked March 7, 1907, addressed to Mr. George A. Ohlmsted, Barre, Vermont (c/o Ladd’s Grocery).


07a. Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. c. 1907. Card produced by Reichner Bros., Boston, München, Prag., Leipzig. Made in Austria. This curious card appears in version with no text on the image side and also as shown here, with the imprint of an event – Welcome to Boston, Old Home Week, July 28-Aug. 3, 1907 – that was probably held in Symphony Hall that had nothing to do with the Boston Symphony. Organizations sometimes issued commemorative cards with their own imprint to celebrate their events. Note the Boston bean pots in the four corners. The photo of Symphony Hall is centered in an artist’s palate. 


08. Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. c. 1908. Card produced by Robbins Bros., Boston, Mass. Made in Germany. The card is used and is postmarked April 6, 1908, addressed to Mrs. Robert Skillings, Danville, Quebec. This card is the earliest I have seen that shows an automobile – on Huntington Avenue around the corner from a horse drawn carriage on Massachusetts Avenue.


09. Boston, Mass., Symphony Hall. c. 1911. Card produced by  The Hugh C. Leighton Co., Portland, ME, USA. Made in Germany. The card is used and is postmarked November 10, 1911, addressed to Mr. Georgie Worren, Wilton, New Hampshire. Two things are notable: The card was sold by Poole Piano Company (established in Boston in 1893) which inserted its company name and the hot air balloon with a piano hovering above the hall. This was a common advertising tool in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Also, note the sign that says “POPS” above the right pair of columns. This sign indicates that the photo was taken during the Boston Pops season. Pops concerts – originally “Promenade concerts” – began in 1885 and continue to this day. Today, this lighted sign is installed each year over the Massachusetts Avenue side of Symphony Hall (see card 24, below).


10. Symphony Hall and Horticultural Society Building, Huntington Ave., Boston, Mass. c. 1912. The card is used and is postmarked  December 10, 1912, addressed to Mrs. C. E. Palmer, Bath, Maine. This card looks down Huntington Avenue and shows the proximity of Symphony Hall and the Horticultural Hall (built in 1901); note, too, the three modes of transportation: horse-drawn carriage, automobile, and trolley.


11. Boston, Mass., Symphony Hall. c. 1913. Card produced by Raphael Tuck & Sons, Art Publishers to Their Majesties the King & Queen. Printed in Holland.  The card’s caption on the back reads, “SYMPHONY HALL, successor of the old Music Hall, is the home of the Symphony Orchestra, and here the oratorios of Handel and Hayden Society are even. The Hall has a seating capacity of 2,500, and the interior decorations, lighting, etc., are up-to-date as it was erected recently.”


12. Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. c. 1914. Card produced by The Leighton & Valentine Co., N. Y. City. Printed in United States. The card is used, postmarked 1914, addressed to Mrs. C. H. Gateo, Petersham, Massachusetts. The lighted POPS sign is seen again in this card, as are two trollies and a horse-drawn carriage. Notice, too, the large three-sheet advertisements for Boston Pops concerts in the niches on the corners of the building as well as one standing against the Huntington Avenue columns.


13. Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. c. 1914. Published by Tichnor Bros., Inc., Cambridge, Mass. Huntington Avenue is bustling with activity; many signs lean up against the Huntington Avenue columns to advertise upcoming concerts and events. Two styles of automobiles are seen as well as the wheel of a horse-drawn carriage on the far left. Crossing Massachusetts Avenue on the right side of the card is someone with a long case or parcel. Could it be a member of the Boston Symphony heading to a rehearsal?


14. Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. c. 1915. Card produced by  E. H. & F. A. Rugg, Medford, Mass. Visible in this card is one of the shutters — standing open — that could be raised to cover   the rising-sun clerestory windows. 


14a. Symphony Hall and Horticultural Hall, Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Mass. c. 1927. Card produced by  Tichnor Bros., Inc., at Cambridge, Mass, USA. The postcard is used and is postmarked 1927, addressed to Mrs. Wilber Tasker, Etna, Maine. This view shows Symphony Hall and the Horticultural Hall, with the dome of the mother church of First Church, Christ Scientist (built in 1906) rising in the background. The caption on the back of the postcard refers to Symphony Hall as “Boston’s Temple of Music.”


15. Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. c. 1930s? Card produced by C. T. American Art. 


16. Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. c. 1930s? Card produced by The New England News Company, Boston, Mass. 


17. Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. c. 1930s? Card produced by The Process Photo Studios, Troy at 21st St., Chicago, Ill. The presence of a kiosk in the intersection of Huntington and Massachusetts Avenues with an traffic officer from the Boston Police Department adds a certain kind of frightening charm to this image. I would not have wanted to be in his position.


18. Huntington Avenue Showing Y.M.C.A. and Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. Before 1941. Card produced by M. Abrams, Roxbury, Massachusetts. This view is down Huntington Avenue and shows Symphony Hall on the right (with the POPS lighted sign in place), and the Boston Y.M.C.A. building in the center. To the left of the Y.M.C.A. is New England Conservatory of Music where I taught from 1985-2012; many Boston Symphony musicians teach at NEC owing to its close proximity to Symphony Hall.


19. Symphony Hall, Y.M.C.A. and Junction, Mass. Ave. and Huntington Ave., Boston, Mass. Before 1941. Card produced by The New England News Company, Boston, Mass. Similar to the view above, this postcard features later style automobiles, the absence of the POPS advertising, and large American flags on top of the Y.M.C.A.


20. Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. c. 1941. Card produced by United Art Co., Boston, Mass. I do not know if the large American flag on the roof of Symphony Hall was actually a feature of the hall for a time or if it is an artistic addition from around the time of World War II. I have been on the roof of Symphony Hall and do not recall seeing a stand for a flag of that size although it’s quite possible it was there at one time.


21. Huntington Avenue at Massachusetts Avenue Showing Symphony Hall, Horticultural Hall and Dome of Christian Science Church. Boston, Mass. c. 1949. Card produced by “COLOURPICTURE” Publications, Cambridge, Mass. USA. The card is used and is postmarked September 7, 1949, addressed to Mrs. Harry Monroe, Fitchburg, Massachusetts. In 1941, the Tremont Street Subway (now the Green Line E spur) was moved from surface level to underground to avoid traffic on Massachusetts Avenue. This made using the original Huntington Avenue entrance of Symphony Hall more difficult since the road was necessarily more narrow. The main entrance of the Hall was switched to the Massachusetts Avenue side. This was a practical decision but it has disrupted the original flow of concert goers into the Hall; they now enter the auditorium from the side rather than from the rear.


22. Symphony Hall, Massachusetts and Huntington Avenue, Boston, Mass. c. 1954. Card Produced by United Art Co., 89 Bedford St., Boston, Mass. The postcard is used and is postmarked July 21, 1954, addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Harry Davidson, Lakewood, Ohio. This interesting view shows a long building to the left of Symphony Hall (a sign for a bowling alley is visible). This building, which stretches for the whole block, is now owned by the Boston Symphony which has plans to redevelop the block with a new building. Currently it houses the Orchestra’s Cohen Wing which includes the Symphony Hall gift shop, BSO archives, management offices, the Casadesus Collection of Musical Instruments, and various other businesses that rent space from the Boston Symphony.


23. Symphony Hall. c. 1990. Card photo by Lincoln Russell, Stockbridge, MA. Symphony Hall at dusk, in a time-lapse photograph. 


24. Symphony Hall. c. 1995. Card photo by Helen Eddy, Cambridge, Massachusetts. This view is of the canopy over the Massachusetts avenue entrance to Symphony Hall, shopping decorative bunting and the lighted POPS sign celebrating the spring season of the Boston Pops Orchestra.


25. Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Hall. c. 2000. Card photo by Christian Steiner, New York, New York. This photo shows a view of the stage of Symphony Hall near the end of the tenure of Music Director Seiji Ozawa (music director 1973-2002). The trumpets and trombones are seated in the back row of the orchestra in front of librarians and personnel mangers and stage managers who are standing in the center: Thomas Rolfs, Peter Chapman and Charles Schlueter, trumpets; Ronald Barron, Norman Bolter, Douglas Yeo, trombones; Chester Schmitz, tuba. The story of the interior of Symphony Hall is one for another time!