Page 1 of 1

Keith Brown 1933-2018

Posted: Thu May 10, 2018 6:02 am
by Ellefson
We have lost one of our giants.

It is with sadness that I share the news of the death of Keith Brown.

Prof. Brown had been battling Parkinson's Disease for the last several years and yesterday he lost the battle.

His name will live on through his contributions to our world, including SO MANY important transcriptions. Through his excerpt books (The "Brown" Books), he enabled thousands of aspiring orchestral trombonists to study orchestral excerpts long before they were as readily available as today. He was a treasured musician and his students are performing worldwide.

Doug Yeo has posted a wonderful tribute here: ... 1933-2018/

Official obit:

Keith Brown was a Jacobs School of Music professor emeritus of music (trombone). As a member of the Jacobs faculty from 1971 to 1997, he helped establish numerous programs, which continue to flourish and contribute to the musical life of both the university and the community.

Keith was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on October 21, 1933, the son of Audrey and Kenneth Brown. In 1951, he went to Los Angeles to study music at the University of Southern California (USC). He was especially anxious to study trombone with legendary master teacher Robert Marsteller, principal trombonist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 1953, Keith’s studies at USC were interrupted by a call to military service in the U.S. Army. In 1956, he returned to USC, and, in August 1957, he graduated cum laude and received the USC School of Music Alumni Award.

After graduation, his music career developed impressively: Aspen Music Festival faculty (soloist and orchestra principal trombonist, 1957-69); New York Brass Quintet (1958-59); Symphony of the Air (principal trombonist, 1958-59); Casals Festival Orchestra, San Juan, Puerto Rico (principal trombonist, 1958-80); Philadelphia Orchestra (associate principal trombonist, 1959-62); Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (principal trombonist, 1962-65); Temple University (director of instrumental activities and professor of music, and conductor of the University Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, 1965-71).

Keith’s career continued to flourish, with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (solo trombonist, 1969-89); Marlboro Festival chamber music series (participant and soloist, 1970-73); New York Chamber Orchestra Mostly Mozart concerts (solo trombonist, 1970-74); Indiana University (orchestra conductor and professor of trombone, 1971-97); Bloomington Symphony Orchestra (artistic director and conductor, 1975-81); Music Academy of the West (conductor and chair of the brass department, 1978-82, 1985-87); and the Camerata Orchestra, Bloomington (artistic director and conductor, 1989-96).

His discography is also impressive. It includes all recordings made by the Philadelphia Orchestra during his tenure there (1959-62). Among the dozens of commercial recordings on Columbia, RCA, and other major labels, special mention must be made of several historic recordings: those with Casals and Stravinsky conducting their own works; The New York Brass Quintet in Concert; a solo recording in the Golden Crest Recital Series; three solo recordings in the Music Minus One Laureate Series; and Music for Organ, Brass, and Percussion with E. Power Biggs, among others.

In addition to his musical duties with the Philadelphia Orchestra, he co-organized (with concertmaster Anshel Brusilow) and pitched for the orchestra’s softball team. This team of musical artists (and superb athletes, as it turned out) gained considerable fame by defeating college and university intramural teams when they toured the United States. His trombone students often affectionately referred to him as “Coach,” and to enter his teaching studio at Indiana University one had to step across home plate.

During his three-year tenure with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (1962-65), he also served on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, teaching trombone, conducting the orchestral repertoire class, and completing, in 1964, a Master of Music degree he had begun in 1958. He also organized and pitched for the Met softball team.

Keith served as adviser to several music organizations. His international commitments included assignments as guest conductor, coach, and adviser to orchestras in Venezuela and Spain. In December 1982, he was invited by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China to give master classes, lectures, and recitals at the country's two major conservatories: the Central Conservatory in Beijing and the Shanghai Conservatory. He was the first American (and Western) trombonist invited in this capacity and only the second foreigner. In 1990, he was a special guest conductor of the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra at the International Tuba-Euphonium Conference in Japan, and, in 1991, he conducted a series of concerts with the Orquesta del Principado de Asturias (Spain).

Keith’s concern for the training of students in solo, chamber music, and orchestral repertoire prompted him to edit and publish with the International Music Company more than 80 editions of solo materials, works for brass ensemble, etudes, and study materials, including 10 volumes of orchestral studies for trombone and tuba.

Throughout his career, gifted young trombonists and other brass players sought him out for private lessons and career counseling. Among the legion of his devoted former students are winners of international solo competitions and holders of principal positions with leading professional orchestras throughout the world.

Peter Ellefson

Re: Keith Brown 1933-2018

Posted: Thu May 10, 2018 6:32 am
by Doug Elliott
Keith Brown contributed so much to the education of an entire generation of trombonists. At the time, his series of excerpt books was nearly the only source for aspiring players.

When I was in high school I was fortunate to meet him and play under his conducting for a few days in the Maryland All-State Orchestra.

Re: Keith Brown 1933-2018

Posted: Thu May 10, 2018 10:05 am
by yeodoug
Hello all.

Keith Brown was a remarkable person, teacher, and player, who influenced so many players over so many years.Thanks, Pete, for mentioning my blog post about Keith. When Carl Lenthe emailed me yesterday to say that Keith has breathed his last, I sat down and poured out some thoughts. ... 1933-2018/

Doug Elliott: You may remember we played together in All-Eastern Orchestra in 1973 in Boston; Keith Brown was the conductor. My blog post has the personnel page from that concert. A very nice, happy memory.

-Douglas Yeo

Re: Keith Brown 1933-2018

Posted: Thu May 10, 2018 8:45 pm
by Doug Elliott
Ah, I was probably remembering it wrong. Thanks for clarifying. I haven't looked at that program since you pointed out years ago that we played together there.

Re: Keith Brown 1933-2018

Posted: Fri May 11, 2018 10:00 am
by ebrenner
Doug Elliott wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 6:32 am
Keith Brown contributed so much to the education of an entire generation of trombonists. At the time, his series of excerpt books was nearly the only source for aspiring players.

When I was in high school I was fortunate to meet him and play under his conducting for a few days in the Maryland All-State Orchestra.
I believe it was 1971 (my junior year of high school) when Keith Brown conducted the All South Jersey Orchestra. I recall receiving a nice compliment from him after playing the trombone solo in Copland's Buckaroo Holiday.

My trombone teacher at the time informed me that he had taken some secret private lessons from Prof. Brown while he was at Curtis studying with Charles Gusikoff.