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    Stevens, Milton (10 November 1942 – 30 July 2007)

    Trombonist who graduated from Oberlin Conservatory in 1964 and went on to work with the Boston Pops, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Trombone Quartet in the 1970s.


    In 1978, he joined the National Symphony Orchestra and sat on the Literature Committee of the International Trombone Association.


    He contributed the article “Winning an Orchestral Trombone Audition” to the ITA Journal’s Winter/January 1987 edition.  While his sage advice was still circulating, he was hand-picked as one of only five U.S. musicians to join the World Philharmonic Orchestra for a series of concerts in Japan.


    In 1992, he appeared on the album, Light’s Glittering Morn – A Musical Celebration.  He and Phil Snedecor co-founded the Washington Symphonic Brass in 1993.


    He compiled “Essential Orchestral Excerpts for Tenor Trombone” for the Winter/January 1995 issue of the ITA Journal.  His expertise came in handy at the 1995 Mary Graham Lasley Scholarship Competition at Northern Virginia Community College, where he served as an adjudicator.


    On 3rd and 4th February 1997, he performed in one of the NSO’s Kinderkonzerts entitled “Bravo, Brass!” at The Kennedy Center.  The other musicians included horn player Edwin Thayer, trumpeters Steven Hendrickson and Phil Snedecor, and tuba player David Bragunier.


    He was the guest recitalist at the 1998-1999 Illinois Honors Trombone Choir/Trombone Symposium in Urbana-Champaign.  It was the Illinois Honors Trombone Choir Final Concert, and featured conductors David Allen, Elliot Chasanov and Andrew Glendening, pianist Eric Dalheim, and the UI Trombone Choir and Trombone Ensemble.


    In January and March 1999, he conducted the Washington Symphonic Brass at the St. Luke Catholic Church in McLean, Virginia, for a recording titled Ancient Airs for Brass & Organ.  He recorded Melodius Accord in tandem with the Master Chorale of Washington on 14th November 1999 and it was released on CD in 2001.


    On 11th and 13th February 2000, he directed the United States Naval Academy Band Brass Ensemble in concerts at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts in Owings Mills, Maryland, and the Naval Academy Chapel in Maryland.  Their program comprised Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Passacaglia in C minor”, Leonard Bernstein’s “On the Town”, and Modest Mussorgky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.


    On 17th February 2000, he performed in a Faculty Spotlight Recital at Gildenliorn Recital Hall on the campus of The University of Maryland at College Park, where he was joined by horn player Martin Hackleman, pianist Kelly Ker Hackleman, and trumpeter Steven Hendrickson.  He and Chris Gekker performed a Faculty Brass Recital at Ulrich Recital Hall on 2nd November 2000.


    On 2nd March 2001, he was back at the Naval Academy Chapel to conduct the USNAB Brass Ensemble in concert with chapel organist, Monte Maxwell.  He conducted the Washington National Brass at the National Cathedral on 10th July 2001 in a concert that included Carl Nielsen’s “Aladdin Suite”, “Short Preludes for Organ”, with Douglas Major at the keys, and “Symphony No. 3” (“Sinfonia Espansiva”).


    He was recruited as Principal Trombone for the Super World Orchestra in 1999 and 2002 for a series of concerts in Tokyo, Japan.


    On 23rd April 2002, he led the University of Maryland Brass Ensemble in a concert entitled “The Planets and Beyond”, featuring Prism Brass Quintet musician, Matthew Bickel.  He and the rest of the NSO Brass Quintet reprised their “Bravo, Brass!” Kinderkonzert at the Kennedy Center Theater Lab on 4th and 5th October 2002. 


    On 11th February 2003, he returned to Gildenhorn Recital Hall for a Faculty Spotlight Recital with timpanist, John Tafoya.


    The NSO Principals Brass Quintet honoured its North Dakota Residency in April and May 2003.  Milton, horn player Martin Hackleman, trumpeters Steven Hendrickson and Adel Sanchez, and tuba player David Bragunier educated and entertained audiences at Beulah Middle School, Kenmare High School, North Dakota College of Science, Red River High School and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Grand Forks, the University of Mary in Bismarck, and West Fargo High School.  Their concerts included:  Morley Calvert’s “Suite from the Monteregian Hills”; Duke Ellington’s “Three American Jazz Classics”; Georg Frideric Handel’s “Hallelujah” and “Overture to Berenice”; W.C. Handy’s “Beale Street Blues”; Gustav Holst’s “Second Suite in F”; and, Peter Schickele’s “Fanfare to the Common Cold” and “Variations on a Joke”.


    In June 2003, Milton and Summit Brass appeared the Rafael Mendez Brass Institute, which was hosted by the University of Colorado in Boulder.  Summit Brass Live hit the shelves before the year was out.


    On 10th January 2004, the NSO Principals Brass Quintet reprised their popular “Bravo, Brass!” Kinderkonzert.  They gave a concert at the Alden Theatre in McLean, Virginia, on 7th March 2004.  In May 2004, the NSO performed “The Ring Without Words” by Richard Wagner, arranged by Maestro Lorin Maazel, at the Kennedy Center. 


    Milton and Anthony Plog took turns conducting Summit Brass at the International Trumpet Guild Conference Opening Concert on 15th June 2004.  Their program included:  Franz Biehl’s “Ave Maria”; Morton Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium”; Anthony Plog’s “Concerto for Trumpet, Brass Ensemble & Percussion” and “Summit Fanfare”; Maurice Ravel’s “Alborada del Gracioso”; Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Four Preludes”; and, Allen Vizzutti’s “Prism:  Shards of Color for Brass and Percussion”. 


    Before the winter of 2004 was over, Milton had performed with pianists Ted Guerrant and Rita Sloan and trumpeter Chris Gekker on the Eric Ewazen-David Snow album, Winter, and conducted the WSB on Dances with Brass.  Dances with Brass contained arrangements by Phil Snedecor of Leonard Bernstein’s “On the Town”, Bjork’s “Dancer in the Dark”, Manuel de Falla’s “La Vide Breve”, Alberto Ginastera’s “Estancia”, Louis Prima’s “Sing, Sing, Sing”, Richard Strauss’s “Dance of the Seven Veils” from Salome, and John Williams’ “Irish Wedding Dance”.


    On 28th September 2005, the WSB appeared at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in a swingin’ affair entitled “Rhythm and Brass” that featured the music of Bernstein, Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Harry James.


    Milton conducted members of the WSB on the 2006 CDs, Sinfonia Festiva and Voices of Brass.  On 26th March 2006, the NSO Principals Brass Quintet performed works by Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Handel, Franz Joseph Haydn and Scott Joplin at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Auditorium. 


    The WSB offered up “No Strings Attached”, a program of traditionally string works arranged for brass by Phil Snedecor, on 10th May 2006 at First Christian Church in Hagerstown, Maryland.  The evening included brass renditions of Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”, Holst’sSt. Paul’s Suite”, Shostakovich’s “Chamber Symphony”, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings”, and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis”. 


    Milton presented a workshop entitled “Tune it or Die!” at the International Women’s Brass Conference on 16th June 2006.  On 18th November 2006, The University of Maryland Brass Ensemble interpreted Leos Janacek’s “Sinfonietta”, Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture”, and George Walker’s “Concerto for Trombone”, with Milton as soloist.


    The WSB raised the curtain on “At the Movies” at the 2007 ITG Conference in Amherst, Massachusetts.  Before the closing credits, listeners had heard “Batman Returns” by Danny Elfman, “James Bond Medley” by John Barry, Monty Norman et al, “John Williams Medley”, “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, “Rocky” by Bill Conti, The Rite of Spring – Part I by Igor Stravinsky, and “West Side Story” by Bernstein.


    In July 2007, Milton and the Summit Brass attended the Rafael Mendez Brass Institute at the University of Denver.  Upon his arrival, he wasn’t feeling 100% and was taken to a local hospital.  Apparently, he had suffered a heart attack on the previous day and doctors inserted a stint.  They released him and he went about his business at the conference and took in that weekend’s concert by the Summit Brass.  On Monday, a member of the hotel staff discovered him lying still in bed.  He had died in his sleep. 


    A memorial service was held on Labor Day, 3rd September 2007 at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.  Fittingly, a trombone choir and the Washington Symphony Brass supplied the music.


    It was not the last memorial, however.  On 19th November 2007, the University of Maryland Student Brass Ensemble and Trombone Choir dedicated their concert to him.  The program included a piece of music penned by Josh Perry-Parrish specifically for the occasion.


    Summit Brass dedicated their 2008 album, A Summit Brass Night:  Live in Colorado to their long-time collaborator.  Milton is listed as an assistant producer in the credits.


    In March 2008, The Inter-Service Trombone Choir, which Milton started, performed a concert tribute to their founder at Brucker Hall in Fort Myer, Virginia, under their new name, The Milt Stevens Memorial Trombone Choir. 


    Paul Hill Chorale recordings

    O Come All Ye Faithful (Frederick Oakeley/John Francis Wade)

    Arranger – Jackson Berkey

    Conductor – Paul Hill

    Organist – Sondra Proctor

    National Capital Brass and Percussion Ensemble



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