Davis Shuman: a biography
This dissertation documents the life and work of the pioneering trombone soloist, Davis Shuman (1912-1966). An early champion of the solo trombone, he was active in numerous areas of music, including teaching at Juilliard and the Music Academy of the West, principal trombone with the American Symphony Orchestra, regular recitals at new York's Town hall, and premieres of works by dozen of composers, all of which contributed to his reputation and influence on twentieth century trombone literature.While the history of the trombone stretches back more than 500 years, its role as a solo instrument has only recently bloomed. With few exceptions, it was not until the mid-twentieth century that trombonists were able to establish a career as a soloist. When Davis Shuman gave a solo trombone recital in 1947 at Town Hall in New York City, the repertoire available to perform was limited. In the next twenty years of his career, he would commission and premiere works by Ernest Bloch, Vincent Persichetti, Darius Milhaud, Tibor Serly, and Henry Cowell, to name but a few. He is credited with giving the first solo trombone recital (1947) and making first recordings of many important works in the repertoire. He edited and published editions of trombone works by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Vladislav Blazhevich, and Domenico Gabrieli. A degree in engineering from Northeastern University (1935) enabled him to create a number of inventions related to the trombone, including an ergonomically-correct "angular" trombone. Suffering from a declining ability to use his right arm, Shuman was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor that ended his life at the age of 54.Shuman was a pioneer in developing the literature for trombone through his activities in recordings and as a soloist. To date, no comprehensive examination of his life and work has been compiled. As a result of this dissertation, more deserved attention will be given to Davis Shuman and his impact on trombone literature.
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