Irvin L. Wagner

2013 ITA Humfeld Award Winner

Dr. Irvin L. Wagner is a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma where he is holds the distinguished titles of David Ross Boyd and Regents Professor of Music. At the University he teaches trombone as well as serves as Coordinator of Graduate Music Studies. His credits as a teacher of trombone at the University of Oklahoma are extensive. First, his University of Oklahoma Trombone Choir has been recognized often as an example of what can be accomplished with a Student Ensemble. For example, The Choir has performed at the International Trombone Festival 6 times and has two major CD recordings which are available world wide. One CD is a Jazz CD with Rodger Fox as the featured artist. A portion of this Jazz CD can be heard on all Air New Zealand flights around the world. The other CD consists of basically classical with Jacques Mauger of the Paris Conservatory of Music as the guest artist. This CD is now in the hands of thousands of trombonists all around the world as distributed by the International Trombone Association. A second illustration of the success of the Trombone Studio at the University of Oklahoma is evidenced in the number of graduates from the Trombone Studio who occupy such positions as trombonists in Orchestras, professors of trombone at various Universities in the USA, and as administrators of Schools of Music. Two former students have severed as President of the International Trombone Association while others have occupied major roles in the organization.

Complimentary to his regular duties at the University he is a trombonist in the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra. He also enjoys a successful conducting career having served frequently as a guest conductor of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, The Austin (Texas) Symphony Orchestra where he conducts ballet performances and children's concerts, and the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra. Other orchestras around the world that he has conducted include the Russian Imperial Orchestra in St., Petersburg, Russia, the Cannes Symphony Orchestra in France, and Orquesta Sinfonica de Santa Fe, Argentina.

Irv also composes and arranges a considerable amount of music. His compositions and arrangements for Trombone Choir enjoy the status of being a staple in the industry all over the world. And it is to be noted that his arrangements of standard tunes for Symphony Orchestra are frequently performed in the USA and around the world.

Irv served as President of the International Trombone Association from 1982-84, and during his tenure traveled completely around the world performing, teaching, and organizing national trombone chapters in such countries as Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Israel, Greece , and Great Britain. This activity around the world resulted in him being the Most Listened to Trombonist in the World in the 80's" as he was heard by more than a quarter of the population of the earth. This came about through his public performances in over 30 countries and especially through a Television Special in China viewed by over 600 million people and a radio recital in India listened to by 500 million people. Most recent global musical activities have included performances both as trombonist and conductor in China, Brazil, and Russia.

Before coming to Oklahoma Irv taught at Louisiana State University and performed in the Baton Rouge Symphony, and prior to that he was Director of Bands at McPherson College in Kansas and a member of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra.

Dr. Wagner holds a Bachelor's Degree from McPherson College, as well as Master's and Doctor's Degrees from the Eastman School of Music. At Eastman he was a student of the late master teacher of the trombone, Emory Remington.

"Irv" is positive, enthusiastic musician who enjoys making good music in all styles. He is constantly trying to provide musical situations where the public and the musician can come together to share a rewarding experience. He views music not as something to be observed as if in a museum but as something to be felt, experienced, enjoyed and shared. His constant goal is to have both the performer and the audience feel stimulated and fulfilled.

This concept of making music comes naturally for "Irv" because he grew up singing gospel and country music with his family, played classical solos on his trombone from a very early age, and started playing jazz while still in high school. These experiences lead him to be involved with audiences of every type, and he always strived to please the listeners and his fellow musicians in every situation. Is it any wonder then that he now is recognized in the nation and the world for his contributions as an "ambassador of good will."

Dr. Wagner has distinguished himself with many, many merits and has made a significant impact on trombone playing completely around the world. He performs in all styles of music be it classical or jazz, he composes, he arranges, he conducts, he teaches, and he serves. Even if you come to the most remote parts of this world: he has been there or they know about him and his trombone.

Major honors have come to Dr. Wagner because of his untiring efforts. In 1984 he was named to a Distinguished Professorship, a David Ross Boyd Professorship, at the University of Oklahoma. In 1988 Dr. Wagner was named "Oklahoma Musician of the Year" by the Federated Music Clubs of Oklahoma and the Governor of the State of Oklahoma. An in 1997 the International Trombone Association gave him its highest award for his significant contributions to the world of trombone playing.