Leonard Falcone International Tuba and Euphonium Festival

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For other uses, see Falcone (disambiguation).

The Leonard Falcone International Euphonium and Tuba Festival ("Falcone Festival" or simply "Falcone" for short) is an amateur tuba and euphonium festival and competition, held annually the second week in August at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp at Twin Lake, Michigan.

Origin and goals of the festival[edit]

Leonard Falcone (b. 1899 Roseto Valfortore, Italy, d. 1985 East Lansing Michigan) was a longtime director of bands and professor at Michigan State University who taught, performed and recorded as a master of the baritone horn and a pioneer of euphonium artistry. The festival was founded by former Falcone students in 1986, to honor his memory. Among its stated goals are to enhance the repertoire of the euphonium and tuba through the commissioning of new works, to promote outstanding artistry on these instruments, and to encourage young people to study them.

Over the years, the Festival has become highly competitive and visible; it is among the most prestigious amateur competitions for both the tuba and euphonium.

Presently, there are four divisions: Student Tuba and Student Euphonium, for players age 20 and younger, and Artist Tuba and Artist Euphonium, for amateur players of any age, though in reality this translates to college students, mostly at the graduate level.

The official rules of eligibility state that "[p]articipants must not be a [sic] full-time paid professional (trombone, euphonium, or tuba) in either a performance position or a college teaching position." [1]

Developments in the festival[edit]

The Falcone Festival has undergone several changes since its inception. Some prominent developments include:

  • In 1991, the Festival began inviting prominent guest artists to give masterclasses, lessons, and solo recitals, and over the years, numerous new works have been commissioned and premiered at the festival by these artists. It could be said that at this time it truly became a festival, rather than merely a competition. The first such euphonium artist was Brian Bowman.[1]
  • In 1996, the Festival added Student and Artist divisions for the tuba in addition to the euphonium.
  • In 2003, the number of players admitted to each Student division was lowered from ten to six.
  • As of 2007, the requirement that participants in the Student divisions still be in high school has been dropped; the only requirement is that they not have turned 20 by the December 1 following the Festival.

The competition process[edit]

For each Division, there is a specific set of repertoire that must be performed, including:

  • a preliminary audition piece with piano accompaniment
  • one or more semifinal-round unaccompanied pieces
  • one or more semifinal-round pieces with piano accompaniment
  • a final-round piece, often (in the Artist divisions) a major concerto with band or orchestral accompaniment

Repertoire for all divisions may be found and ordered off of the festival web site[2].

Players seeking to enter the festival must submit a recording via tape or CD of themselves, with piano accompaniment, performing the preliminary-round piece. Recordings must be submitted by March 31; following this, a panel of adjudicators listens to the recordings, which are anonymous, and selects 6 (Student) or 10 (Artist) players from each Division to invite to the competition, as well as anywhere from 0-3 alternates for each division.

Once at the competition, all the players must perform both the semifinal-round accompanied and unaccompanied pieces. The semifinal round is not open to public viewing. The judges at the festival, who are usually among the most prominent tuba and euphonium artists in the country, then select three players from each Division to advance to the final round, which is open to the public. After these players have performed the final-round piece, the judges announce first, second, and third place winners for each Division.

Prestige of the Festival and famous alumni[edit]

Many past winners of the Festival's various divisions have gone on to win major performing or teaching jobs. Some well-known Festival alumni include:


  • Angie Hunter, 1986 Artist winner, now instructor at the German Bible Institute in Koenigsfeld, Germany
  • Lance LaDuke, 1986 Student winner, now instructor at Duquesne University and former principal player with the River City Brass Band
  • Matthew Tropman, 1990 Student and 1993 Artist winner, former member of the U.S. Marine Band, now instructor at the University of the Pacific.
  • David Thornton, 1994 Student winner, now principal player with the Black Dyke Band
  • Adam Frey, 1997 Artist winner, now instructor at Emory University and Georgia State University and a freelance soloist
  • Dr. Benjamin Pierce, 1998 Artist winner, now professor at the University of Arkansas
  • Mark Jenkins, 1996 Student and 2000 Artist winner, currently euphoniumist with the "President's Own" Marine Band in Washington, D.C.
  • Matthew Murchison, 1997 Student and 2001 Artist winner, now acting principal euphonium of the River City Brass Band and a freelance soloist
  • Ryan McGeorge, 2003 Artist winner, currently euphoniumist with the "President's Own" Marine Band in Washington, D.C.



  1. ^ Eggers, Leah, Dr. Brian L. Bowman Faculty Biography, University of North Texas, http://music.unt.edu/euphonium/bowmanbio.html retrieved 4/15/2011