Douglas Yeo

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Douglas Yeo (born 1955) is an American bass trombonist who played in the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1985 to 2012, where he held the John Moors Cabot Bass Trombone Chair. He was also on the faculty of the New England Conservatory. In 2012 he retired from the BSO and accepted a position as professor of trombone at the Arizona State University School of Music.


Born in Monterey, California in 1955, Yeo holds a bachelor of music degree with honors from Wheaton College in Illinois and a master of arts degree from New York University. His principal teachers were Edward Kleinhammer and Keith Brown.

Before joining the Boston Symphony Orchestra/Boston Pops Orchestra in May 1985, Yeo was a member of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, (1981–1985), and was on the faculties of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, in Baltimore, and The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.. His background has included a four-year tenure with the Goldman Band, and performances with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, the Gerry Mulligan Big Band, and orchestras for numerous Broadway shows.

In 1998, he was named Music Director of the New England Brass Band,[1] which has released four compact disc recordings under his direction. In 2006, the New England Brass Band, under Mr. Yeo's direction, won first place in the Honors Section at the North American Brass Band Association [2] National Championship, held in Louisville, Kentucky.

He has announced his retirement from the BSO, effective "on August 27, 2012, at the conclusion of the Tanglewood 75th anniversary season." He moved to Arizona, where he has been appointed Professor of Trombone at Arizona State University (Tempe).[3]

Performance and recording highlights[edit]

  • He has been a soloist with the Boston and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras; on both occasions becoming the first bass trombonist to perform as soloist with either orchestra.
  • In 1991, he gave the premiere of Vaclav Nelhybel's Concerto for Bass Trombone with the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble.[4]
  • He performed John Williams' Tuba Concerto with the Boston Pops Orchestra under Mr. Williams, becoming the first bass trombonist to perform the piece.
  • He gave the first performance of Lawrence Wolfe's [5] Wildfire with the University of Washington Wind Ensemble in 1995.
  • He has premiered numerous compositions by Norman Bolter [6] including Temptation for serpent and string quartet, Ancestors for digeridoo, shofar and serpent, and La Grotte Cosquer for tenor and bass trombones.
  • His first solo recording, Proclamation, with The Black Dyke Mills Band, featured premieres of four newly commissioned works: Proclamation by Gordon Langford, Rainy Day In Rio by Goff Richards, Triptych by Lawrence Wolfe, and Tribute to George Roberts, arranged by Bill Geldard.
  • His second solo recording, Take 1, featured live solo performances given in concert from 1975-1997 including Alan Hovhannes' Symphony Number 34, Opus 310 for Bass Trombone and Strings.
  • His solo recording, Cornerstone, of arrangements of hymns and gospel songs for bass trombone and piano, was released in 2000.
  • In March 2002, he recorded Two Of A Mind, an album of solos and duets with British tenor trombonist Nick Hudson, accompanied by the Williams Fairey Band and pianist David Chapman.
  • In May 1997, he performed Simon Proctor's Concerto for Serpent and Orchestra with the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of John Williams.
  • An album released in 2003, Le Monde du Serpent, features his playing serpent in repertoire spanning over three centuries.
  • In 1999 and 2004 he was a featured guest artist and clinician at the International Trombone Festival.[7]
  • In 1999 he also performed the Christopher Brubeck [8] Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra with the Boston Pops Orchestra.
  • In 2000, his performance of the finale of the Brubeck Concerto, "James Brown in the Twilight Zone", was broadcast on television as part of the "Evening at Pops" series on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

Historic brass speciality[edit]

In addition to playing the bass trombone, Yeo plays bass trumpet, contrabass trombone, and has become a leading exponent of historical brasses such as the buccin, serpent, ophicleide and bass sackbut.

Other activities[edit]

Since coming to Boston, Yeo has been extensively involved in teaching. In addition to his position at the New England Conservatory, he has four times been on the faculty of the annual Hamamatsu (Japan) International Wind Academy and Seminar. Other residencies have included his participation in the 2003 University of Dayton (Ohio) Carillon Brass Festival and as the first "Visiting Artist" in residence at Lexington (Massachusetts) Christian Academy (2003).

A prolific writer, Mr. Yeo has written more than thirty articles on the trombone and orchestral playing for various publications, including International Musician,[16] The Instrumentalist,[17] The Brass Herald,[18] Christianity Today, the Historic Brass Society Journal,[19] the International Trombone Association Journal,[20] and the T.U.B.A. Journal.[21]

He has done extensive research in the Boston Symphony archives, resulting in the publication of four photo/historical articles on BSO brass players from 1881 to the present; he mounted an exhibit at Symphony Hall on the history and hobbies of members of the Boston Symphony from 1881 to the present during the 1993-94 season. In 2000, he wrote a trombone teaching curriculum for the University of Reading's (United Kingdom) Music Teaching in Private Practice Initiative of their Department of Arts and Humanities in Education.

He is the co-author, along with Edward Kleinhammer, of Mastering the Trombone. He is also actively involved in the work of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Youth Activities office.

Yeo was the plaintiff in a 1994 court case, Yeo vs. Lexington, that tested important issues in scholastic media law. In 1997 Yeo lost on appeal [22] and carried the case to the US Supreme court which declined to hear it.[23]


  1. ^ "New England Brass Band". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  2. ^ "NABBA". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  3. ^ Douglas Yeo (August 17, 2011). "Douglas Yeo announces his retirement". Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  4. ^ "New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble". Archived from the original on 12 January 2006. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  5. ^ "Lawrence Wolfe". Archived from the original on 7 June 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  6. ^ Viera, Carol. "Air-ev Productions: Music Web Site for Norman Bolter, Carol Viera and the Frequency Band". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  7. ^ "International Trombone Festival". Archived from the original on 21 March 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  8. ^ Christopher Brubeck Archived 2006-02-06 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Boston Baroque
  10. ^ "Chorus pro Musica". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  11. ^ "Great American Brass Band Festival - June 1-4, 2017 Danville, Kentucky". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Athena Brass Band". Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  13. ^ "Museum of Fine Arts, Boston". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  14. ^ "National Music Museum - USD". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  15. ^ New Grove II Dictionary of Music Archived September 29, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ "The Home Recording Handbook - International Musician". 1 November 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  17. ^ "The Instrumentalist". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  18. ^ "The Brass Herald - The Magazine for the Brass Musician". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  19. ^ Society, Historic Brass. "Historic Brass Society > Home". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  20. ^ "International Trombone Association Journal". Archived from the original on 22 October 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  21. ^ T.U.B.A. Journal
  22. ^ United States Court of Appeals For the First Circuit Archived June 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ Student Press Law Center Archived June 15, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]