Robert Clyde Gillespie, 78, of Amarillo, Texas, died Tuesday, June 13, 2017.
Robert was born in Amarillo, Texas, in 1938 to Roxie and Clyde Gillespie. His love of music began at a very early age when he was introduced to the trombone. Dr. Charles Emmonds, band and orchestra director at Amarillo High, encouraged Bob to attend Eastman School of Music. He continued his studies and graduated from Julliard School of Music with a Masters of Music degree. Throughout his career, Bob worked towards his PhD in Music from Julliard.
Early in his career Bob played with the New Orleans Symphony and the Oklahoma City Symphony. During this time he also taught trombone at Julliard, the University of Delaware, Loyola University in New Orleans, and the University of Oklahoma. He served in the US Army and was stationed at West Point where he played in the Army band. Upon completion of his tour of duty, Bob returned to New York City and joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as first and second trombonist. He played solo trombone with the Goldman Band and many other prominent orchestras including performances at Lincoln Center and with the London Philharmonic.
In 1974, Bob joined the National Symphony Orchestra of The South African Broadcasting Corporation in Johannesburg. He also performed as solo trombonist with the Symphony until 2000. There were many special concerts and tours over the years including Luciano Pavarotti’s Africa tour, the Three Tenors Africa tour, the Three Sopranos Africa tour, and the ABBA Africa tour. Bob was the only trombonist to receive the Artes Award for Best Radio Musical Performance.
Bob married Deleine in Johannesburg and had a wonderful life raising their sons, Derek, currently living with his wife, Reese, and their daughter, Andrea, in Taiwan, and Kevin, who with his wife, Pearl, lives in Brooklyn, NY.
His love of music will live on in his wonderful recordings and in the difference he has made in people’s lives.