It’s been a good run since I won that audition for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 1956 during freshman week at the Eastman school of Music at age of 18. It’s tempting to let this essay unfold like a biography ; my purpose is to extend it as a prospectus into the future. It needs to be pointed out that my life after Rochester has lead me to Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Italy, Holland again, Italy, Switzerland, Japan and finally, at least for the time being, Mexico.
Of course, I don’t play anymore but I have had the good fortune to be invited to teach, give masterclasses and occasionally conduct in almost all the world; this is the life I deeply enjoy and the opportunities are abundant. My fees for this work are generally reasonable, the only problem is that frequently those ‘reasonable’ fees are less than the travel costs. This is a situation that cannot sustain itself. Sometimes the travel fees are far greater than the income I receive.
This June and July I’ve booked myself what I consider a dream tour starting in Oaxaca to Los Angeles to Windsor, Canada, to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania to Aligante, Spain to Firenze, Italy, for the amazing Italian Brass Week. Airline costs are getting higher and the longer we wait the higher they get. Something has to happen, something has to give or I have to cancel, which would be the most painful aspect I’ve ever faced in this business that I love so much.
I am well; I’ve had 3 knee surgeries that have slowed my mobility and a pacemaker installed, which has stabilized the arrhythmia of my heart. I have great pride in the many students I’ve had who not only have become great brass players but also have become great teachers. But quickly I want to say I am still learning and I am becoming a better teacher. Moving to a new location for a week or more and experiencing new students and helping to solve their problems has become the pleasure of my life, the only problem I’m facing is the outrageous airfares.
Perhaps I need to reduce the expanse of my work but that would be a disappointing reality. In any case, this is what I do and I hope to find a way to continue doing it.
Roger Bobo, Firenze, Italia, April 8, 2018