John Stevens (b. 1951) is Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also a member of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, a UW-Madison faculty ensemble-in residence. Professor Stevens has enjoyed a distinguished career as a teacher, orchestral, chamber music, solo and jazz performer and recording artist, composer/arranger, conductor and administrator. Following the completion of degrees in Tuba Performance at the Eastman School of Music (BM, 1973) and Yale University (MM, 1975), he was a free lance performer based in New York City for many years. He performed with every major orchestra in New York, was a member of the New York Tuba Quartet and many other chamber groups, principal tubist in the Aspen Festival Orchestra, toured and recorded with a wide variety of groups including Chuck Mangione, the American Brass Quintet and the San Francisco Ballet, and was the tuba soloist in the original Broadway production of BARNUM. He has released two solo recordings; an LP of his own compositions titled POWER (Mark Records, 1985) and a CD titled REVERIE (Summit Records, 2006). Stevens was on the faculty of the University of Miami (FL) School of Music for four years, while also performing as principal tubist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Florida and the Miami Opera. He joined the UW-Madison faculty in 1985 and, in addition to his other duties, was the Director of the School of Music from 1991 to 1996 and 2011 to 2013.
As a composer and arranger with over 50 original compositions and almost as many arrangements to his credit, Stevens is internationally renowned for his works for brass, particularly for solo tuba, euphonium and trombone, tuba/euphonium ensemble, brass quintet and other brass chamber combinations. He is the winner of numerous ASCAP awards and has received many composition grants and commissions. In 1997 he was commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to compose a tuba concerto. This work, entitled JOURNEY, was premiered by the CSO, with tubist Gene Pokorny as soloist in June, 2000, and performed by them again in December, 2003. In addition to being performed regularly by ensembles and soloists worldwide, Stevens’ works have been commissioned and/or recorded by (among others) the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, Symphonia, the International Trumpet Guild, the International Tuba Euphonium Association, the Madison Symphony Orchestra, The Ohio State University Wind Symphony, the Denver Brass, soloists Roger Bobo, Brian Bowman, Toby Hanks, Demondrae Thurman, James Jenkins and Mark Fisher, and many of the world’s finest tuba quartets (Sotto Voce, New York, Summit Brass, Melton, Dutch, Swiss, etc.). The Sotto Voce Quartet has released a CD recording of all of Stevens’ tuba quartets. Recent compositions include the CONCERTO FOR EUPHONIUM AND ORCHESTRA composed for Brian Bowman, SYMPHONY IN THREE MOVEMENTS, a composition for wind band commissioned by a consortium of 14 American universities, and MONUMENT for Solo Tuba and Strings. commissioned by tuba icon Roger Bobo in memory of the great LA studio tubist, the late Tommy Johnson.
Stevens has been a member of the International Tuba Euphonium Association (ITEA) Executive Committee and its Board of Directors. In 2008, he was awarded the ITEA’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor in his field. He has been featured as a composer/arranger, conductor, performer and competition judge at many of the international tuba euphonium conferences that have taken place in the past two decades, including thirteen years at the U.S. Army Band Tuba Euphonium Conference in Washington, DC. In recent years he has been a performer, teacher, composer and competition judge at festivals in Italy, Spain, Finland, France, Germany and England.
Professor Stevens is an ASCAP composer and has been sponsored as a performer by Willson Instruments.