Thomas Stevens (1938-2018)
Thomas Stevens (born 1938, Atascadero, California) was appointed to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in 1965 by then music director, Zubin Mehta, who named him principal trumpet in 1972, a position he held through 1999. He was concurrently involved as an educator in the U.S. and various international venues, including stints as a member of the regular faculties of the University of Southern California, CalArts, and the Music Academy of the West. The list of those who studied with him during those years includes prominent soloists, members of major symphony orchestras, and faculty members at leading universities and schools of music.
In addition to his work as an orchestral musician and educator, Thomas Stevens has performed and recorded as a soloist and chamber musician with major organizations throughout the world. He is perhaps best known internationally for his activities in the promotion, performance, and premiere recordings of new music for solo trumpet, the main body of those efforts having taken place from 1969 to 1985, and which resulted in many works that eventually became staples of the genre, including the “Sequenza X” of Luciano Berio, which was written specifically for him.
Thomas Stevens is a published composer, arranger, and orchestrator whose works have been performed in major concert venues and on recordings. His original educational materials, published by Editions Bim, are used in music schools throughout the world.
Thomas Stevens is a graduate of the University of Southern California (Thornton) School of Music, where he was named outstanding alumnus of the year in 1996.
Thomas Stevens will be missed now, and forever, by all who loved and admired his exceptional musicianship.
Our friendship, our intense professional cooperation, and the exceptional spirit in our permanent exchanges of ideas, started spontaneously with our first meeting in Denver (1973) on the occasion of the 6th National Congress of American Trumpeters and lasted and remained alive and sustained for 47 years, until this fatal July 14, 2018.
He was a non-academic « wild » scholar, an exceptional musician with artistic integrity and curiosity and a very lucid observer of the musical world. As a virtuoso of his instrument he reached world fame with his vertiginous recordings of contemporary trumpet music. Star French trumpeter Maurice André was flabbergasted by his performances (https://www.cristalrecords.com). Not to speak about his wonderful orchestral performances during his long career with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
He worked with the Brass Bulletin (1973-2004) and with us at Editions Bim not only as a valued consultant, but also as a composer of study books and compositions. As well, he introduced us to the genius of James Stamp, which led to the Editions Bim publication of the worldwide famous and original James Stamp Warm-Ups.
Thomas Stevens, an essential personality in the history of brass instruments of the 20/21th centuries, has disappeared.
Let’s hope that his precious legacy remains in the collective memory.
Jean-Pierre, Jeremy and Gabi Mathez (Editions Bim)