TBJ108: Jim "Don't call me BB" Nova

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TBJ108: Jim "Don't call me BB" Nova on writing, driving and April Fooling

Pittsburgh Symphony trombonist Jim Nova puts up with more abuse from Andrew & Lance for no good reason. 

From his website:

My love for all musical things Star Wars began a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… As a six-year-old child, my father took my brother and me to see The Empire Strikes Back. Even at that age, I was overwhelmed with how important the music was to the storytelling, and thus began my lifelong love of the incredible scores of John Williams.

A few years later, at age nine, I began playing the trombone in my home state of Connecticut. As a child, I received my early musical exposure and training from my father, Anesti Nova. During high school, I studied with my first private trombone teacher, Assistant Principal/Second Trombonist of the Hartford Symphony, George Sanders.

After graduating high school I attended the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where I received my bachelor’s degree studying with Glenn Dodson, who was Philadelphia Orchestra’s Principal Trombonist at the time. This is where the seed of this album A Fall from Light to Dark first began to grow. When I was a student at Curtis, Mr. Dodson would hold epic trombone get-togethers called, “Bone Bashes” where the Curtis trombone students and the Philadelphia Orchestra trombone section would play through incredible arrangements and transcriptions of all kinds of pieces. This where I first started to create my own trombone ensemble arrangements and transcriptions. Mr. Dodson’s Han Solo-like swagger was contagious as we would tackle these pieces.

I then moved to Boston to pursue a Master’s Degree on a full scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music, studying with Norman Bolter who was Second Trombonist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Principal Trombone of the Boston Pops Orchestra at the time. It was during this time that Mr. Bolter fostered my “Start with what you can do” attitude that I still use today, in both my own artistic development as well as with my students. He truly was and still is, my master Yoda in so many ways.

After finishing my master’s degree, I freelanced in Boston for several years, substituting on a regular basis with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops Orchestra, making several recordings and television broadcasts with both groups as both principal and second trombone. It was here in Boston that my musical path first crossed with John Williams! I had the opportunity to perform with him on countless Boston Pops concerts and even performed on the world concert premiere of the concert suite from Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

In this fun and lively discussion, we cover:

  • The Bubble Butt Strikes Back

  • The joke is on...?

  • Parker soprano trombone mouthpiece

  • Juilliard gig with Joe Alessi

  • 40th "Trombone at the Movies" gig, featuring film music trombone choir arrangements at colleges and universities

  • Soundcloud page has passed 750,000 listens

  • ITF closing concert in summer of 2019 with full concert versions of the same music

  • A "Who's Who" of amazing players on the ITF

  • Christopher Bill crashing in his basement and an upcoming collaboration debuting May the Fourth

  • Context is everything

  • His evolving relationship with Joe Alessi

  • Boston Brass Fanfare Project

  • Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University, with a real-live Pappert Person

  • Cathy Heller's podcast, "Don't Keep Your Day Job"

  • Jim's cat is a coffee model

  • Jim's lead foot

  • Less horsepower than a horse

  • Play in a big orchestra, drive a fast car

  • He took off like a stabbed rat

  • Paying for a ticket with a ticket

  • Exhibition of speed

  • Driving at race tracks and in driving schools

  • Becoming a performance driving teacher

  • Taking possession of his BMW while on tour with the PSO

  • The Green Death

  • Parallels between learning driving and learning trombone

  • Jimmy James


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Expertly produced by Will Houchin with love, care, and enthusiasm.