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An Interview with Tubist, Andrew Hitz (part 5)

Andrew Hitz and Susie Ahrens performing in Grass Valley, CA

My Interview with Tubist, Andrew Hitz from May 27, 2011 (continued).

Me: Share one of your most memorable teaching experiences.

Andrew: Any time that I have been working with a student no matter what age, when you’re working on a concept with them either in a lesson or a master class and then everything clicks and they absolutely nail what they’re trying to improve.  They get that look of amazement and pride and surprise on their face.  That’s kind of a broad answer to that question.  I had the privilege of doing a Master Class in France and that was the first time I did a Master class that was translated from English into another language.  Since then I’ve had that happen in Japan, Brazil, China, Mexico, and Germany.  It’s kind of a cool realization that music is of course, truly universal but the words that we use to describe it are different.

Me: Share one of your most memorable performing experiences.

Andrew: My favorite performance experience ever was getting to play the National Anthem at Fenway Park.  That was a day game in 2001, and my parents got to come see that.  Fenway was completely sold out.  Pedro Martinez was the starting pitcher that day for the Red Sox and that was at the absolute height of his ability.  The place was packed and it was electric.  I got to sit in for one tune with the Dirty Dozen brass band once.  That was a blast.  When I was a kid I got to play with the greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra.  We performed at the Schauspielhaus (which has since been renamed Konzerthaus) in Berlin, which is one of the best concert halls in the world.  We did Barber’s 1st symphony.

Me: What accomplishments are most satisfying to you at this point in your career?

Andrew: Probably the most satisfying thing for me is that for the last 11 1/2 years I’ve been able to exclusively make my living either playing or teaching music.  That would be the short answer to that and the various ways that ends up manifesting itself.

I was told at an early age by Sam Pilafian that it takes three things:  It takes a ton of talent, it takes a ton of hard work and it also takes being in the right place at the right time.  In that sense, meaning that I happen to be his TA when Mike Levine called to inquire about a tuba player for the Dallas Brass and Sam suggest they should hire me.  Then I was his TA when Boston Brass called him looking for a recommendation, which lead to me subbing with them for 20 some gigs that Spring.  That’s how I met them, which lead them to be able get to know who I was, to take their audition that Summer to win the position that way.  There’s definitely some chance to it as well, but it takes the first two as well.

Me: All that hard work and talent leading up to that moment.

Andrew: Yup, exactly.

Me: Do you have any goals left unfulfilled?

Andrew: To play with Phish.  Or to collaborate with Trey Anastasio, their guitar player.  I had a little bit of momentum but it didn’t work out, but I haven’t given up yet, I’m circling the wagons.    Befriending every single person he’s ever worked with.  I would love to play a concert with a major symphony.  A whole lot of my unrealized career goals are on the education side. Writing and that kind of stuff.  Not that I’ve played with everyone, that’s for sure.

I want to get a lot better at improvisation.  I want my improv to catch up with my bass line ability.  I think for a classical player, I’m very good at coming up with bass lines with chord progressions and that kind of stuff, with the proper articulation and note weight for jazz, but my improv I’ve never really attacked.

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