TBJ109: Richard A. White


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TBJ109: Richard A. White, RAW Tuba on his life, his gig and his upcoming documentary

Richard A. White is the subject of the upcoming documentary, "R.A.W. Tuba" and is one of our most inspirational guests. He spoke with us about his life, his career, and the upcoming film.

From his website:

With over two decades of performing on the world’s classical music stages, tubist Richard White has matured into a musician known for his clear sound and stylistic flexibility. He began his tuba studies with Ed. Goldstein at age twelve at The Baltimore School for the Performing Arts, where he graduated with honors. He then went to the Peabody Conservatory of Music to study with David Fedderly (Principal Tubist, Baltimore Symphony) where he received his Bachelor’s degree. On the advice of Mr. Fedderly, Richard traveled to Indiana University to study with the legendary Professor Daniel Perantoni. He continued his studies there receiving both his Master’s and Doctoral degrees. Richard Antoine White, also known as RawTuba, is the first African American, to receive a DM in Tuba!

Dr. White held the position of Principal Tubist with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra from 2004 until it’s untimely demise in 2011 and is currently in his seventh season as Principal Tubist of the New Mexico Philharmonic. Dr. White is also principal tubist with The Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus. Richard enjoys playing in the Duo, Diversity Matters, with pianist Pamela Viktoria Pyle, in addition to teaching at the University of New Mexico, where he is Associate Professor of tuba/euphonium, and Associate Director of the Spirit Marching Band. Dr. White has performed with the Canadian Brass Quintet, Indiana University Faculty Brass Quintet, New Mexico Symphony Brass Quintet, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic, Santa Fe Opera, Sphinx Symphony, Spoleto Music Festival U.S.A., Music in the Mountains, a summer festival located in beautiful Durango, CO, and many others. Dr. White is an Adams Artist and performs exclusively on these instruments.

Prior to moving to New Mexico, Dr. White was one of the top freelance musicians in the Indianapolis area, where he recorded with such greats as movie film composer John Williams, Cincinnati Pops conductor Eric Kunzel, and the late great wind ensemble conductor Frederik Fennell. Throughout his musical and educational career development, Dr. White has had a passionate interest in motivational speaking. That dream has recently materialized itself with the launching of his website rawtuba.com. Sharing inspirational thoughts and philosophies that have motivated Dr. White has taken him to Mexico, South America, Europe, South East Asia and across the United States of America – with more engagements on the horizon.

In this fun and lively discussion, we cover:

  • How the "R.A.W. Tuba" film came about

  • Bringing love to Baltimore

  • The filming process

  • Mr. P and his stool

  • Having a literary agent

  • Richard's story

  • The water fountain

  • The emotional toll it has taken on him

  • Sam Pilafian's influence

  • Building himself a gig at UNM by teaching football players respiratory function

  • A kid named King playing a young Richard in the film

  • Breaking into the filmmaker's car (with permission)

  • Screenings always open with some sort of act

  • Short intro followed by the film, a performance, a Q&A and performance of "We Are the World"

  • Ed Goldstein and Dave Fedderly

  • Meeting his natural father in Baltimore at a screening

  • R.A.W. Tuba t-shirts

  • Working with J.D. Shaw at UNM

  • Playing in Brass Theater

  • Breathing Gym

  • His gig at UNM

  • The importance of the hang

  • Three rules for his studio: have fun, sound good, make music

  • Motivational speaking

  • Hustle and Flow

  • Diversifying his professional portfolio

  • Losing 64 lbs. and reclaiming his health

  • Doing the right thing and behaving with integrity

  • Loyalty

  • Posting the rejection letters on his walls and ceiling


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