Historic Brass Society Board Member Honored with International Composition Award

Historic Brass Society Board Member Honored with International Composition Award

            Dr. Joanna Hersey, longtime HBS member and the organization’s Secretary, was honored at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference held May 29th-July 3rd, held at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. The International Tuba Euphonium Association (ITEA) celebrated the organization's 50th anniversary with a week of concerts, student competitions, masterclasses, and historical presentations. Participants gathered from across the world, joined by local educators, students, community members, and a variety of exhibitors showcasing instrument design and new music.

            Founded in 1973, the mission of the ITEA is to "foster bonds among all tuba and euphonium players, create enthusiasm for the instruments and its performers, celebrate diversity, support professional development, promote the sharing of resources, and encourage teaching and learning about the instruments." An additional goal of the organization is to provide support for new music composed for the tuba and euphonium, and it was this which inspired ITEA to launch a new prize in celebration of the 50th anniversary. 

            Dr. Hersey received the inaugural ITEA Mary Ann Craig Focus on Women Award, established to highlight projects which focus on achievements and creativity of women, named in honor of Dr. Mary Ann Craig, performer, educator, and Past-President of ITEA. "Our Focus on Women Award is a significant and important addition to the tuba euphonium community," notes Past-President and conference host Dr. Deanna Swoboda. "This new award highlights and showcases the exceptional artistic work of women in what has been a predominantly white male organization and community." Dr. Hersey, a veteran of the United States Coast Guard Band, attended the conference participating as a performer and presenter, and served as judge for the Tuba Military Band Competition, providing students with valuable feedback as they work toward their goals of service in our nation's military bands. "I was honored to receive this award," notes Hersey, "especially since I have worked with Dr. Craig for more years than we want to admit! The biggest honor of all was to perform in the ITEA President's Ensemble with her on the podium. I hope this award can inspire more creativity which centers women, and look forward to the projects which are considered for this prize in future."

            Dr. Mary Ann Craig was present as Dr. Hersey received the award, and remarked, "I am thrilled that Dr. Hersey won the inaugural Mary Ann Craig Focus on Women Award, she is building a stellar career in multiple areas including tuba performance, composition, research on women in music, and pedagogy. She is a role model for students and colleagues alike." 

            The winning project is her newest composition, Nanon,a work with a historical perspective, utilizing a graphic score composed for euphonium and tuba duo with electronic accompaniment. This work showcases the experience of the mother of 18th century musician Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and their life together in late eighteenth century Paris. "Expanding gender inclusion while presenting women role models," notes Dr. Swoboda, "this award is pushing the boundaries of what is possible, championing women in the tuba euphonium community, and most importantly - paving the way for others to go further."