Mike Forbes

Mike Forbes


An artist of widely diverse musical talents, Mike Forbes (b. 1973, currently living near Madison, WI) “…is an outstanding tubist with a solid, colorful tone, terrific technical skills, and dramatic flair” (American Record Guide).  He can be heard on his solo album, Forbes Plays Koetsier (Summit Records) where he features all seven works for solo tuba by Dutch composer, Jan Koetsier.  Currently, he is recording his second solo album featuring his own compositions for tuba, “Forbes Plays Forbes.”  He has recently been a featured tubist with the Guy’s All Star Shoe band on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keiller and also gave the first ever solo tuba recital on Wisconsin Public Radio’s popular broadcast, Live from the Chazen.


Staff Sergeant Forbes began his career as a tubist with the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own” and subsequently served on the music faculties at universities along the East Coast and in the Midwest.  Recently, he has been in high demand in Iberia as the Guest Tuba Lecturer at the Superior Conservatories in Malaga (Spain), Porto (Portugal), at the international music festivals in Salceda (Spain) and Alcobaça (Portugal).  Adding to his Spanish-speaking residencies, he lectured at the “Wind & Song” brass festival at the San Juan Music Conservatory in Puerto Rico last summer.


An extremely prolific chamber musician, Forbes has founded the Isthmus Brass (Wisconsin’s leading large brass ensemble with a new Summit Records release:  “Isthmus Brass Christmas”) and SIX (a hip sextet of trumpets, sax, trombone, tuba and percussion).  He has also co-founded The Wild Trio with hornist Charles Tibbetts and is a co-founder of the Sotto Voce Quartet, America’s premiere tuba/euphonium quartet.  Sotto Voce enjoys an international touring schedule and has released a number of recordings also on Summit Records. Their latest CD, “Take This Hammer:  Works Composed for Sotto Voce” feature two of Forbes’s original works for quartet:  “Bridge:  A Mini-Requiem for Countertenor and Tuba Quartet” and “Four Miniatures,” a work Forbes was commissioned to write for the International Tuba/Euphonium Conference Tuba Quartet Competition held in Budapest, Hungary in 2004.  The other recordings also feature Forbes’s many compositions and arrangements for the quartet genre, many of which can be found in the Editions BIM catalog.  This year, the quartet has performed special concerts at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic and the Texas Music Educators Convention.  They will perform at the BrassWind Festival in Norway in the fall.


In addition to the works for Sotto Voce, Forbes is a regularly commissioned composer currently serving as a low brass specialist for Kendor Music and as a middle & high school band and orchestra composer for Carl Fischer and FJH Music publishing companies.  He has recently been commissioned by the National Band Association of Wisconsin to compose a new work for their 25th State Band Festival.  Forbes has repeatedly won the Dallas Wind Symphony Fanfare Composition Competition and his works have received numerous awards and accolades by  U.S. Army Band, Humboldt Brass Festival, and the International Tuba-Euphonium Association.


As the founder of the Isthmus Brass and SIX, Forbes regularly performs and records throughout the Midwest on both the tuba and the bass trombone.  He is the Principal Tubist with the La Crosse Symphony, and has recently performed with the Porto Symphony (Portugal), Madison Symphony, and Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.  He also has performed as principal tuba with the Milwaukee based Starry Nights Summer Festival Orchestra, as well as the Aspen, Chautauqua, and Hot Springs Music Festival orchestras.


Dr. Forbes studied at the University of Maryland (DMA), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (MM), and during his junior year at Penn State (BM) he took an exchange to Manchester, England where he continued his studies the University of Manchester and the Royal Northern College of Music.  His foremost teachers have included John Stevens, Toby Hanks, Gene Pokorny, Marty Erickson, and Mark Lusk.


Mike Forbes is a Miraphone Performing Artist.