Stephen Shoop

NYPO- Circa 1910!

Thoughts about Playing in the New York Philharmonic
Orchestra in 1910!

I often contemplate being the Principal Tuba with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1910!  (That was the year Fred Geib joined the orchestra).  Mahler's Symphony No. 1 "Titan" was completed the previous year.  The New York Philharmonic gave the American premier using Mahler's own handwritten manuscript parts.  

In the first decade of the twentieth century, recordings were in their infancy.  Commercial radio had not yet been invented.  The only opportunity to hear an orchestra would be to attend a live concert.  NYPO rehearsals were conducted in German!  All orchestra members were male.  High quality brass instruments (especially tubas) were in very short supply... almost non-existent.  There were very, very few low brass teachers.  Method books and solos for low brass instruments were virtually not existent. 

Despite these issues, it must have been an exciting time!  Imagine playing the tuba solo in the "Titan" under the baton of the composer! 

Fred Geib was a pioneer.  He became one of the first to hold an orchestral tuba position.  He was one of the first applied college/university tuba teachers.  Countless tuba players have derived benefit from his celebrated tuba method book (published by Carl Fischer in 1942) as well as his tuba solos with piano accompaniment.  Fred Geib is one of a few early low brass artists who paved the way for those of us who came along later.  Present day low brass players and teachers owe a great debt to Fred Geib!

In addition to being a noted tuba artist, teacher, composer/arranger, and method book author, Mr. Geib had a wonderful personality and was a dedicated family man.  In the book Me and My Piccolo, Meredith Willson (The Music Man) mentions that while the NYPO traveled by train, Mr. Geib would often provide "lunch" for the entire orchestra!

New York Philharmonic Orchestra (1926)
Henry Hadley, Conductor
Fred Geib, Tuba
Tannheiser Overture (Wagner)

Early NYPO Photo (Date Unknown)

Same photo cropped.

Last update- March 18, 2012

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