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James Austin


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Have you heard of Jim Austin?
yes
43%
 43%  [ 26 ]
no
56%
 56%  [ 34 ]
Total Votes : 60

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jvand678
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:27 am    Post subject: James Austin Reply with quote

Hey everyone.

I'm looking at some of my trumpet lineage and researching one of our great teachers and players of the past. For those who aren't familiar, he was principal trumpet in the Houston Sympony for 17 years, taught at University of Houston, and is the cornet soloist on almost all of the old Eastman Wind Ensemble recordings from the late 50's. I'd love to hear some experiences from former students/colleagues of Mr. Austin in regards to:

1.Who you are
2.Where you are now
3.How he influenced you
4.Pedagogical pearls
5.When you studied/played with him
6.Stories are even cool

So, pretty much anything you can say would be super helpful. If you wouldn't mind being a part of the interview part, I'd love for you to pm your contact info to me as well.

thanks in advance!

Joe
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ecarroll
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joe,

I spent the 1975-1976 season as associate principal in Houston with Jim. He became a great friend and inspiration.

Best,
EC
www.edwardcarrollmusic.com
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textr
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a lot that I could say, one thing would be that if one is a young trumpet student who has set the goal of playing in an symphony orchestra and has already progressed quite a bit then Mr. Austin would be a good teacher for that student.
But if you are interestred in being a "commercial player" and developing yourself into a strong lead player for all types of commercial playing then Mr. Austin would not be the teacher for that student. I personally only know of maybe one former student of his that landed a full time job playing in an major orchestra,some of his former students freelance in Ballet orchestras and Opera orchestras but those are not full time contract jobs.
A lot of his former students are teaching school or selling insurance (nothing wrong with either one).
If you know of more of his former students that hold a position in a major orchestra please feel free to correct my statement.
Like I said , there is a lot more I could say ....


Last edited by textr on Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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fraserhutch
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just love it when people discover the poll function.
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crzytptman
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't he the Six Million Dollar Man?
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nah, he's that pro wrestler... stone cold Jim Austin.
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mcstock
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Off the top of my head the first Austin student I can think of is Russ Campbell -- Dallas Symphony http://dallassymphony.com/Bio.aspx?bID=93
Jan Roller in the San Antonio Symphony might have studied with Austin, but I'm not certain.

Matt
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textr
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcstock wrote:
Off the top of my head the first Austin student I can think of is Russ Campbell -- Dallas Symphony http://dallassymphony.com/Bio.aspx?bID=93
Jan Roller in the San Antonio Symphony might have studied with Austin, but I'm not certain.

Matt


Absolutely , Jan Roller I had forgotten about Jan. You are correct , he did study with Austin, and I was unaware of Mr. Campbell.
I was thinking of Howard Engstrom who won a job with the Calgary , Alberta Orchestra (Canada) in the early '70s, so that makes a total of 3.
I stand corrected, thank you mcstock for providing that info.
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sweet-ribs chamberlain
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

These guys studied with Jim Austin:

Jeff Patterson (formerly 3rd with the Rochester Philharmonic)
Scott Quackenbush (principal Omaha)
Jim Vassallo (Principal Houston Grand Opera)
Will Strieder (2nd hosaphone Big Springs Symphonic band)


Most people agree that the mark of a good teacher is to take someone with very little ability or talent (or both!) and make them into a fine musician. Jim Austin did this with nearly all of his students, as far as I know. I know that there are/were a number of his students that have careers in the Military Bands. I'm pretty sure that a guy named Eric Brown studied with Mr. Austin in High School and he now plays with the Navy Band in DC. I know Michael Sachs has spoken highly of Jim also as a colleague. Also, Roger Sherman went to school at Eastman with Mr. Austin. I'm sure there are some anecdotes there! You may try getting in touch with them, Joe!

Good luck on that doctorate and say hi to Cagle's steak house for me.

Sweet-ribs Chamberlain
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ghudson
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 2:10 pm    Post subject: James Austin Reply with quote

I want to commend jvand for taking this project up. I actually started down this same path about 11 years ago and got sidetracked, so I’ll happily forward along all of the information I had gathered. Jvand’s request has quickly turned into a discussion on whether or not the UH studio under Mr. Austin’s tutelage has ever been really successful. As a former student of Mr. Austin’s I would like to provide a clear response to some previous comments. Jim Austin was an amazing trumpet player by all accounts from his days at Eastman and beyond his tenure with the HSO. The sad reality is that the HSO was not a recording orchestra (aside from a few quirky recordings) until Eschenbach took over in the mid-80’s after Mr. Austin’s retirement in ‘77. Had he been in another market, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion. He has been, and still is a fantastic trumpet teacher for every kind of serious student of the instrument. He taught you (or planted the seeds for future growth): a) to play with a beautiful, centered sound, b) to be a musician, and c) to act and teach with integrity. It was unfortunate that the wanna-be “commercial players” in the studio usually washed out because they just wanted to: a) play high notes, b) play higher notes, and c) play higher and louder notes. They too could have taken advantage of all Mr. Austin could offer by just simply being more mature. “There is a lot more I could say….”

It has been suggested that he would be a good teacher for the student who has set the goal of playing in a professional orchestra, but then is quickly dismissed since only one student can be thought of in a nearly 50 year career that has been successful (or are we up to three?) in the orchestral profession. The following list is what I could come up with in just a couple of days of research. I include ballet and opera professionals because they work pretty heavy schedules (full-time contract) during the year, are very talented performers in their own right and deserve recognition. Many of you contributing to this forum don’t play in a Big 5 orchestra, but are professionals who play in smaller regional orchestras, ballet and opera companies, brass ensembles and the like. Are we any less committed to our profession or our playing quality? I would say no. To understand where the students have gone, you have to know a little bit about UH. It is mainly an undergraduate department and most of the students earned education degrees regardless of their goal. Performance majors went on the graduate studies at Eastman, Juilliard, Northwestern, Rice, Cincinnati Conservatory, Cleveland Institute and so on. Many have gone on to be successful public school band directors and college professors training and inspiring the next generation of players. These teachers are important! Did some people leave school and “sell insurance” or pharmaceuticals or become lawyers or engineers? YES. Every studio in the country has only a small percentage of students who actually go on to be full-time musicians. There are, I’m sure, graduates of the Northwestern, Juilliard, and Eastman studios who sell insurance and the like. It is not a reflection of the teacher’s abilities, but of the student’s choices in life. They still carry the lessons within themselves from their time with Mr. Austin.

What his colleagues say about him is also very enlightening. You can see Mr. Carroll’s response above. I have similar sentiments in letters from respected trumpeters such as Fred Mills, Anthony Plog, Roger Sherman, and Sidney Mear. The most insightful is from Charlie Geyer (dated May 2, 1997): “I observed Jim’s success at U. of H. and decided that was a great model. When Barbara Butler and I went to Eastman School of Music as professors in 1980, I was determined to develop a studio like his. I miss him as a friend and greatly respect him.” There is “a lot more I could say……” but I think that says it all.

Now, on with the list. There will be repetition from the above posts.
Howard Engstrom-Calgary Phil. & U. of Calgary
Jan Roller-San Antonio SO & UT-San Antonio
Jerome Amend-Louisville Orchestra & U of Louisville
Tom Parriot-Vancouver SO & U of British Columbia (as far as I can tell)
Jerry McCathern-Sao Paolo (Brazil) State Symphony , Founder of the (old) Texas Chamber Orchestra, and later Exec. Dir. Of Brooklyn Phil.
Ned Battista-Houston SO & now assoc. conductor of Houston Ballet
Dave Corder-Houston SO & Lee College
Jim Vassallo-Houston Ballet & Opera & U of Houston
Will Strieder-Houston Ballet & Opera, Lubbock SO, & Texas Tech U
Randy Adams-Houston Opera, interim HSO & Sam Houston State U
Russell Campbell-Dallas SO (previously Colorado, St. Louis SO as well)
Jeff Patterson-Rochester Phil.
Jenny Bales-(a Rice student who took lessons with Mr. Austin on the side)-USAF Heartland of America band and U of Nebraska-Omaha (credit not given on bio page, read into that as you will)
Adam Bruce-Houston Ballet and Opera
Gary Hudson-Lubbock SO and South Plains College
Scott Quackenbush-(high school student)-Omaha SO
Robert Chambers-(high school student)-played in Spain for a number of years, possibly still in Europe
Michael Samford-Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico
Randy Snyder-San Jacinto College
Dan Shipman-Houston Baptist U and Houston’s big professional musical theater orchestra (TUTS)
Eric Brown-(high school student)-US Navy Band (DC)
John Deverman-Orchestra Personnel Director for Chicago SO
Jeff Loud-listed as playing the Tulsa orchestra at various times (in what capacity, I don’t know)
Someone (whom no one can yet remember) played with the Israel Phil
I will certainly bring you more as the information keeps rolling in from other former students. And, of course,” there is a lot more I could say!”

By the way, no hiding behind screen names. I’m Gary Hudson….UH ’89-’94….I hold Mr. Austin in very high regard since he is one of the teachers directly responsible for any success that I have had in this business.
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tptfrbrains
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:32 pm    Post subject: Re: James Austin Reply with quote

ghudson wrote:
I want to commend jvand for taking this project up. I actually started down this same path about 11 years ago and got sidetracked, so I’ll happily forward along all of the information I had gathered. Jvand’s request has quickly turned into a discussion on whether or not the UH studio under Mr. Austin’s tutelage has ever been really successful. As a former student of Mr. Austin’s I would like to provide a clear response to some previous comments. Jim Austin was an amazing trumpet player by all accounts from his days at Eastman and beyond his tenure with the HSO. The sad reality is that the HSO was not a recording orchestra (aside from a few quirky recordings) until Eschenbach took over in the mid-80’s after Mr. Austin’s retirement in ‘77. Had he been in another market, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion. He has been, and still is a fantastic trumpet teacher for every kind of serious student of the instrument. He taught you (or planted the seeds for future growth): a) to play with a beautiful, centered sound, b) to be a musician, and c) to act and teach with integrity. It was unfortunate that the wanna-be “commercial players” in the studio usually washed out because they just wanted to: a) play high notes, b) play higher notes, and c) play higher and louder notes. They too could have taken advantage of all Mr. Austin could offer by just simply being more mature. “There is a lot more I could say….”

It has been suggested that he would be a good teacher for the student who has set the goal of playing in a professional orchestra, but then is quickly dismissed since only one student can be thought of in a nearly 50 year career that has been successful (or are we up to three?) in the orchestral profession. The following list is what I could come up with in just a couple of days of research. I include ballet and opera professionals because they work pretty heavy schedules (full-time contract) during the year, are very talented performers in their own right and deserve recognition. Many of you contributing to this forum don’t play in a Big 5 orchestra, but are professionals who play in smaller regional orchestras, ballet and opera companies, brass ensembles and the like. Are we any less committed to our profession or our playing quality? I would say no. To understand where the students have gone, you have to know a little bit about UH. It is mainly an undergraduate department and most of the students earned education degrees regardless of their goal. Performance majors went on the graduate studies at Eastman, Juilliard, Northwestern, Rice, Cincinnati Conservatory, Cleveland Institute and so on. Many have gone on to be successful public school band directors and college professors training and inspiring the next generation of players. These teachers are important! Did some people leave school and “sell insurance” or pharmaceuticals or become lawyers or engineers? YES. Every studio in the country has only a small percentage of students who actually go on to be full-time musicians. There are, I’m sure, graduates of the Northwestern, Juilliard, and Eastman studios who sell insurance and the like. It is not a reflection of the teacher’s abilities, but of the student’s choices in life. They still carry the lessons within themselves from their time with Mr. Austin.

What his colleagues say about him is also very enlightening. You can see Mr. Carroll’s response above. I have similar sentiments in letters from respected trumpeters such as Fred Mills, Anthony Plog, Roger Sherman, and Sidney Mear. The most insightful is from Charlie Geyer (dated May 2, 1997): “I observed Jim’s success at U. of H. and decided that was a great model. When Barbara Butler and I went to Eastman School of Music as professors in 1980, I was determined to develop a studio like his. I miss him as a friend and greatly respect him.” There is “a lot more I could say……” but I think that says it all.

Now, on with the list. There will be repetition from the above posts.
Howard Engstrom-Calgary Phil. & U. of Calgary
Jan Roller-San Antonio SO & UT-San Antonio
Jerome Amend-Louisville Orchestra & U of Louisville
Tom Parriot-Vancouver SO & U of British Columbia (as far as I can tell)
Jerry McCathern-Sao Paolo (Brazil) State Symphony , Founder of the (old) Texas Chamber Orchestra, and later Exec. Dir. Of Brooklyn Phil.
Ned Battista-Houston SO & now assoc. conductor of Houston Ballet
Dave Corder-Houston SO & Lee College
Jim Vassallo-Houston Ballet & Opera & U of Houston
Will Strieder-Houston Ballet & Opera, Lubbock SO, & Texas Tech U
Randy Adams-Houston Opera, interim HSO & Sam Houston State U
Russell Campbell-Dallas SO (previously Colorado, St. Louis SO as well)
Jeff Patterson-Rochester Phil.
Jenny Bales-(a Rice student who took lessons with Mr. Austin on the side)-USAF Heartland of America band and U of Nebraska-Omaha (credit not given on bio page, read into that as you will)
Adam Bruce-Houston Ballet and Opera
Gary Hudson-Lubbock SO and South Plains College
Scott Quackenbush-(high school student)-Omaha SO
Robert Chambers-(high school student)-played in Spain for a number of years, possibly still in Europe
Michael Samford-Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico
Randy Snyder-San Jacinto College
Dan Shipman-Houston Baptist U and Houston’s big professional musical theater orchestra (TUTS)
Eric Brown-(high school student)-US Navy Band (DC)
John Deverman-Orchestra Personnel Director for Chicago SO
Jeff Loud-listed as playing the Tulsa orchestra at various times (in what capacity, I don’t know)
Someone (whom no one can yet remember) played with the Israel Phil
I will certainly bring you more as the information keeps rolling in from other former students. And, of course,” there is a lot more I could say!”

By the way, no hiding behind screen names. I’m Gary Hudson….UH ’89-’94….I hold Mr. Austin in very high regard since he is one of the teachers directly responsible for any success that I have had in this business.


Grat post. I for one, am happy to see someone unselfishly give credit where credit is due. Although I never met Mr. Austin, I've heard great things about him from friends in the HSO, and the way Gary writes about him leaves no doubt about his integrity, and the fact that Mr. Austin touched people's lives.
What else is there?

r.
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textr
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ghudson,
You mentioned in your post that the Houston Symphony was "not a
recording orchestra (aside from a few quirky recordings)", well evidently you are not aware of the recordings made by the HSO with Leopold Stokowski conducting. Stokowski recorded a series of records
with the HSO in the late '50s. Are those the quirky recordings you were referring to?(do a little more research..can you say google?) As far as your comments about "commercial players"....
Well, it has been my experience that guys who make comments like that are usually the guys that couldn't play lead trumpet if you held a gun to their head, so it really doesn't mean much coming from guys that can't do it. But that attitude is typical... there is a lot more I could say.
Of the players you listed , very few of them actually play in a major orchestra , I will site one that is ridiculous...Dave Corder played in the HSO one year as an interim replacement before Richard Schaffer took over the third chair in '67, after that he taught at Lee college and rarely played trumpet any more. Although he did show up on a dance job once (many many years ago ) with his "C" Trumpet (how lame is that).Also, Jerry McCathern played in South America for one year and came back to Houston and taught private lessons in SBISD for years .
So, it is quite obvious that you are very fond of Mr. Austin and that is quite normal ,but all of that doesn't elevate Mr. Austin to the status of world class pedagogue.
BTW , is the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra a recording orchestra?
If so , I would like to purchase some of their recordings.
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ghudson
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:13 am    Post subject: James Austin Reply with quote

Apologies everyone...it looks like this thread has been hijacked for personal axe grinding!

1. I would hardly call the Stokowski recordings a "series" in comparison with the output of other orchestras of the period. I AM evidently aware of them and didn't even need a google search. I simply looked in my personal cd library. The "quirky" ones come from the '70's. They were more like Pops recordings...marches and the like. Then Commissiona made a couple (Schumann, Franck) which many feel are pretty forgettable. So.....from Barbarolli, Previn, and Foster (Ausitn's tenure), basically nothing, but I'll check wikipedia to be sure (the most reliable, mistake-free research tool on the planet for sure).

2. Please don't misquote me. I said "wanna-be commercial players" from my personal experience. It would be pretty ridiculous to lump an entire group together and say that they are all just like this, wouldn't it?

3. If you want to disqualify Dave and Jerry.....ok. I simply posted where people had gone on to. I'm pretty sure that I didn't elevate everyone to the status of Bud Herseth and Phil Smith. Who knows, though, some of the younger ones may be at that level in the future. Time will tell. (BTW-the correct word was "cite" not "site."

4. "BTW , is the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra a recording orchestra?
If so , I would like to purchase some of their recordings."

"Well, it has been my experience that guys who make comments like that are usually the guys that couldn't play lead trumpet if you held a gun to their head, so it really doesn't mean much coming from guys that can't do it. But that attitude is typical... there is a lot more I could say."

This is the best you have? How do you know I can't play lead? Is that the only measure of a musician? Sure, Lubbock is not a big major orchestra, but what do you know of the quality of the Lubbock trumpet section? Come on over sometime and hang out with us. We'll even give you some recordings free of charge! Now, I know I haven't posted over 1200 comments on this site, but I seem to remember that this site was created to promote constructive dialouge. Veiled personal attacks, negativity and sarcasm are no substitute for substantive discussion and learning. They are simply the tools of the sad, bitter and frustrated. I'm sorry that your experience with Mr. Austin didn't work out, but it might be time to let it go.

Is Mr. Austin a world class pedagouge? I'm hardly the judge. I just teach and play trumpet for a living. The Performing Arts Major's College Guide, 3rd Edition, was published in 1998. It was put together by the former Dir. of Admissions at Juilliard and was composed by pollings members of NASM, performing professionals, and students. Here is the list of the "Most Highly Recommended Programs" for trumpet:
Arizona State
Cleveland Institute
Curtis Institute
Eastman
Edward Tarr
Indiana U
Juilliard
Mannes College
New England Cons.
Northwestern U.
Pierre Thibault (France)
University of Houston
University of Michigan
Yale University

That list puts him in very cool company.

"textr": if you want to rail on me, fine. Do it through PM and stop wasting this discussion space. If you want to have civil, constructive dialouge.....see you next time. BTW, I didn't catch your name.

Sincerely,

Gary Hudson


Last edited by ghudson on Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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textr
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are a little off base with the "sad, bitter " nonsense. But it was a good try.
And I personally never was a student of Austin's , so you are on the wrong page there.
And you're right, I don't know anything about your lead playing nor am I interested, I was just responding to your little snotty remarks and relating my experiences with guys that make those kind of remarks(guess I struck a nerve there huh?)
And finally, don't lecture me about when and where I should post things
if you don't like what I post don't read it . I also play the trumpet and teach for a living, so what, so do tons of guys .And BTW I didn't hijack any thread, I was just responding to your remarks which were obviously directed at me. So there you go...........

Lubbock..........ROFLMAO
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ghudson
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:08 pm    Post subject: James Austin Reply with quote

OK...OK

textr...ROFLMAOUIHATABMLAHTGTTH.

Best wishes to all, even textr.

GH (aka Mr. Snottypants)
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dasloan
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow... someone needs to put down the hate-orade (not ghudson).

Mr. Austin is a great teacher and a great human being. He makes everyone around him a better person.

For some people, that's enough.
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one_trumpet
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

who are you textr? too busy being a bitter forum troll on the topic to be brave enough to tell us who you are behind your undermining comments?

whether or not he is a world class pedagogue or whatever else you want to compare him to, he has obviously been more successful than you have so learn some manners or pack up and shut up.

I agree with mr sloan. more importantly than the trumpet or music is integrity in every aspect of your life which is something he exudes. maybe you should have studied with him, it seems like something you are lacking.
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dasloan
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There it is...
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tptfrbrains
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a sad day when it's necessary to write a post in defense of a fine musician and pedagogue on a forum dedicated to both. This thread is about James Austin, and was at no point meant to be about textr.
When we grow up, we learn that testamonials are about one person, and not the people that relate their experiences about that person.
Grow up and move on, textr.
You actually posess the nerve to laugh at someone because of the city in which he lives and works? I'm sure many of us could laugh about the places you've lived in and the quality of the venues you've played at. It's all a matter of degree, isn't it?
The fact is, James Austin has enriched the lives of many, many people in his time here on earth. I know this, although I don't know James Austin personally. This alone puts me in his corner any day of the week. You, textr, may start a thread about yourself if you'd like - I'm sure many former students and colleagues would like to contribute, but maybe you should let this thread go...

r.
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textr
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="tptfrbrains"]It's a sad day when it's necessary to write a post in defense of a fine musician and pedagogue on a forum dedicated to both. This thread is about James Austin, and was at no point meant to be about textr.
When we grow up, we learn that testamonials are about one person, and not the people that relate their experiences about that person.
Grow up and move on, textr.
You actually posess the nerve to laugh at someone because of the city in which he lives and works? I'm sure many of us could laugh about the places you've lived in and the quality of the venues you've played at. It's all a matter of degree, isn't it?
The fact is, James Austin has enriched the lives of many, many people in his time here on earth. I know this, although I don't know James Austin personally. This alone puts me in his corner any day of the week. You, textr, may start a thread about yourself if you'd like - I'm sure many former students and colleagues would like to contribute, but maybe you should let this thread go...


trptfrbrains,
I stand by what I said in my original post, that Mr. Austin is a good teacher for a student that is working towards the goal of playing in a symphony orchestra, I would also add that he hand picks his students
at UH for that very reason. Any students that lean towards "commercial "
playing usually do not study with Austin because he looks down on those kinds of players, the other trumpet students study with adjunct teachers. Sure, I took issue with ghudsons snotty remarks about "wanna be lead players " and I stand by what I said on that issue also. I know for a fact that in recent years UH has hired other adunct trumpet teachers to handle the students who are interested in lead playing and jazz improv.
One of the guys that has done that happens to be a friend of mine.
So , you see trptfrbrains , this thread was not hijacked nor is it about me , it is indeed about Austin, you and ghudson just don't happen to like the input that I had to offer. You say you don't even know Austin , well I do, and I know lots of guys that have gone through the music school at UH over a period of many years. I might also add that hudson
thought that the recordings of Stokowski and the HSO were not worthy of mention because they were way before his time(and Austin's), so who needs to do some growing up. Yeah, everyone knows that Stokowski was a flyweight.(ROFLMAO...again)
I know that I have upset you guys because I didn't come on here with glowing accolades about Austin, well, so be it.
And finally, what makes you think that I have any concern for which side you come down on, everyone is entitled to their opinion.
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