The University of Kentucky Tuba/Euphonium Studio consists of students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in music as well as talented non-majors throughout the university.
The UK Tuba/Euphonium Studio was founded by Rex Conner, the first full-time Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at any university in the world, in the Fall of 1960. Professor Conner led the UK Tuba/Euphonium Studio from 1960 to 1980. From 1980 to 2018, Dr. Skip Gray led the studio. The studio is currently under the direction of Dr. Matt Hightower. There are currently 19 tuba and euphonium students in the studio. Past guests include Beth Mitchell, Daniel Perantoni, Chris Olka, Shoichiro Hokazono, Andrew Doub, Kevin Wass, Andy Smith, Adam Frey, Mike Dunn, Clint McCanless, Alex Lapins, Will Sutton, Charles Guy, Chris Combest, Sergio Joel Collier, Thomas Leleu, Blake Cooper, Hiram Diaz, Mike Roylance, Gail Robertson, Beth Weiss, and Sergio Carolino.
The University of Kentucky Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble has achieved national acclaim, appearing in major cities such as New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Minneapolis. Among these concerts, the group has given four performances as part of the International Tuba/Euphonium Conference and appeared at the United States Army Tuba/Euphonium Workshop with guest soloist Phillip Franke, formerly of the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band. The UK Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble’s compact disc, “The University of Kentucky Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble – LIVE at the United States Army Tuba/Euphonium Conference,” has received high acclaim from Tuba and Euphonium artists worldwide. Additionally, Dr. Matt Hightower and the UK Tuba/Euphonium Studio hosted the 2022 Midwest Regional Tuba/Euphonium Conference, Dr. Skip Gray, and the UK Tuba/Euphonium Studio hosted the 1999 Southeast Regional Tuba/Euphonium Conference as well as the 1992 International Tuba/Euphonium Conference and Rex Conner hosted the 1979 Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference. Former members of the studio have included winners, finalists, and semifinalists of various competitive music festivals, including the Leonard Falcone International Euphonium and Tuba Competition, ITEC Tuba and Euphonium Solo Competitions, ITEC Tuba and Euphonium Quartet Competition, the ITEC Mock Orchestral Auditions, the SERTEC Tuba and Euphonium Solo Competition, the Potomac Music Festival Solo Contest, the Susan Slaughter International Solo Competition, the “Pershing’s Own” National Collegiate Solo Competition, the Aspen Music Festival Concerto Competition, and the Yamaha Young Performing Artist Competition, among others. Alumni of the UK Tuba/Euphonium Studio hold major positions at colleges and universities across the country as well as in some of the world’s leading musical ensembles.