The Big 12 Trombone Conference


The Fourteenth Annual Big 12 Area Trombone Conference was held January 20th – 22nd at Texas Tech University. The Conference’s Featured Guest Artist was Joseph Alessi, Principal Trombonist of the New York Philharmonic.

Mr. Alessi’s guest artist recital and master class were both inspiring. His playing was beautiful, sensitive and virtuosic. With every selection, Mr. Alessi kept raising the musical bar to a higher and higher level. The enthusiastic audience encouraged him to play two encores, both received with standing ovations! The teaching involved work with both a tenor and bass trombonist. Many profound, practical and effective comments were shared with both students and the large audience.

Additional highlights included the Yamaha/Xeno Tenor Trombone Solo Competition, the Bach Bass Trombone Solo Competition, an exciting faculty showcase recital, great choir performances and many inspiring clinics and presentations.

The Solo Competitions finals featured fine student musicians from all over the country, including Baylor University, the State University of New York at Potsdam, The University of Texas – Austin, University of Houston, Texas State University and the University of New Mexico. After prolonged deliberations from our adjudication panel, the winners were: Bach Bass Trombone Solo Competition: Carter Jackson, University of New Mexico; Yamaha/Xeno Tenor Trombone Solo Competition: Steven Vogel, University of Texas-Austin. Congratulations to all finalists and their Professors.

Featured performers and clinicians included Dr. Christopher Buckholz of the University of New Mexico, Jimmy Clark of Texas A&M University-Commerce, Dr. Oscar Diaz of Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Dr. William Haugeberg of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, David Jackson of the University of Michigan, Dr. Samantha Keehn of Augustana College, Dr. Li Kuang of Southwestern University, Nathaniel Lee of the University of Virginia, Dr. William Mann of Georgia State University, Dr. Jeremy Marks of the University of Louisiana-Monroe, Dr. Pedro Martinez of the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Andrew Mitchell of Ball State University, Scott Nguyen of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Brent Phillips of Baylor University, Dr. Donny Pinson of Del Mar College, Dr. Brian Plitnik of West Virginia University, Dr. Jemmie Robertson of Eastern Illinois University, John Romero of the Fort Worth Symphony, Dr. Aric Schneller of Sam Houston State University, Dr. Deb Scott of Stephen F. Austin State University and Dr. Zsolt Szabo of Western Carolina University. Attendees were enthused by the performances and presentations by these well renowned educators.

Great choir performances took place during the conference. Congratulations to the Baylor University Trombone Choir, led by Brent Phillips, The Round Rock Trombone Choir, led by Zach Shoepe, the UT-Rio Grande Valley Trombone Choir, directed by Dr. Pedro Martinez, the Texas State University Trombone Octet, coached by

Dr. Martin McCain, and the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Trombone Choir, under the direction of Dr. Oscar Diaz, Jr., for their exciting performances.

Other great ensembles performed at the conference as well. Audiences were treated to the fine performances of the Texas Select Trombone Quartet, the American Trombone Quartet, the Somos Trombone Quartet, and the Truman State Trombone Quartet.

Overall, the conference was a stirring assembly of fine students, performers and educators. Many thanks to all who attended, presented and performed so well, and our principal sponsors: Yamaha International Corporation, Conn-Selmer Corporation the Music of Ken Friedrich, Edwards Instrument Company, Tarpley Music Company, and Iota Tau Alpha, the Trombone Service Fraternity of Texas Tech University.

Next year’s conference is scheduled for January 12th – 14th, 2018 and feature Charles Vernon, Bass Trombonist of the Chicago Symphony. More details will be forthcoming. Please visit our website,, for updates.

Jim Decker, Associate Professor of Trombone, Texas Tech University.