The FLUBA Bear – Playing Petrushka’s “Bear” on the FLUBA.


Last  week  I  played  a  week  of  Stravinsky’s  Petrushka  with  the  Pacific  Symphony.  Ever  since  I  got  my  FLUBA  in  2000  I  knew  it  could  be  a  great  classical  instrument.  My main use of it  since then has been as a jazz instrument. But playing certain  high tuba solos was a piece of cake on it so I always wanted to  try it on the Bear Solo or other orchestral parts. Convincing a  conductor might be a problem however. My chance came last  week. We had a last minute substitute conductor, Christian  Knapp, who is young and adventuresome. It’s been a few years  since I played Petrushka but after many performances and  teaching it forever I thought I knew it cold. During the first two  rehearsals I had my Yamaha 822 F and stumbled through the solo. I found out later that they were new parts and there was a  missing 8th note at the beginning. (My memory for orchestral  trivia is very short). Frustrated that I didn’t “nail’ it on Sunday I  was practicing it at home and tried it on the FLUBA. It was so  easy I decided to present it to the maestro. He said “try it” so  on the 3rd rehearsal I did. It turned out just wonderful. I used it  on those two rehearsals and the three concerts  and nailed it!  The surprising thing is how well it worked. The sound  projected out to the audience and it was a distinctive sound. I  got many compliments from my colleagues, audience members,  the conductor and even the Executive Director of the PSO, John  Forsyte was blown away. It was also mentioned on the live  KUSC Radio broadcast by Rich Capparela.

Like Pokorny, Pearson and others, I have kind of retired  from playing Bydlo, (there is always a trombonist happy to  have the euphonium double), but the FLUBA would be a neat  sound and good choice for that solo too. Should I ever do  Vaughan Williams again I might try it on the FLUBA.


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