TUBA U: BASSO PROFUNDO follows the story of an unusual 22-piece ensemble into the studio, across four decades, and into renowned Carnegie Hall.
Featuring tuba maestro R. Winston Morris, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gunther Schuller, German tuba makers, and the 100-piece Tubas of Mass Destruction, this is an anatomy of one instrument that speaks to the dedication in players of every instrument.

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When Tennessee Tech’s tuba maestro R. Winston Morris was invited to perform a solo recital in 1976 at Carnegie Hall, he said, “You know what? Anybody can do that! I’m taking twenty-two tuba players up there to perform with me.” And he did. Not once, not twice but a remarkable seven times. It not only validated the existence of a tuba ensemble – it proved that the Tennessee Tech. ensemble was world class!
“Anybody can do that” seems to have been the mantra that has taken Winston Morris to icon status in the music and tuba world. He is responsible for more music being written for the instrument than anyone. Ever. “We are always looking to do something above and beyond what anyone else is doing,” he says. “The status quo is not acceptable.
Winston Morris and TTU’s Tuba Ensemble are featured in TUBA U: Basso Profundo, a new collaboration by Emmy-winning writer, director and producer Todd Jarrell and WCTE-TV. The show follows the 22-piece tuba ensemble into the studio, across the country and into Carnegie Hall. It takes you to a German tuba factory, shows you the “guts” of the instrument with the help of a surgical scope, and explores the tuba dynasty, from Bill Bell to Harvey Phillips to his protégé, Winston Morris.

What inspired Tuba U?
“It seemed like a fresh idea,” said Todd. “Twenty-two tubas playing together is different and that attracted me.” However, Todd really fell in love with the story when Winston played him a 1933 song by Bob Bell. The song was called, “When Yuba Played The Rhumba On His Tuba Down In Cuba,” and the piece helped inspire Winston’s career.
“The dedication and the energy that Winston puts into his work is amazing,” said Todd, “but the fact that his life work was inspired by a needle drop on an LP and by that song, that wacky, goofy, wonderful song, is just cool! People find inspiration anyplace and this shows that inspiration comes in all forms and sizes and sounds.”

TUBA U is not just a show about the tuba – it is also about prejudice.
“What struck me,” said Todd, “was that when people asked me what I was working on, and I said a show about tubas, nine out of ten people would say, ‘oh, oompapa’. This is what Winston has been hearing his whole life. Nobody was writing for the tuba because it’s all about oompapa. But really, the tuba is an amazing instrument. Just because it is large and cumbersome and has big bass tones, it is not used strictly for elephant soundtracks. It is a marvelous, agile instrument capable of making beautiful music.”
“The program assures us that some unusual things are worthy of a lifetime of commitment, dispelling assumptions of size, value and ability and addressing prejudice—even if a very quirky one.”

TUBA U: BASSO PROFUNDO is a co-production of TWO SIX, Inc. & WCTE Upper Cumberland Public Television.

Director/Writer/Producer Todd Jarrell
Project Coordinator Becky Magura - Narrator Chris Andrews
Very Special Thanks to
Funding provided by: The Clark Charitable Trust; the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee; Premier Diagnostic Imaging; Carl & Judy Sandlin; Baron USA; the Tennessee Arts Commission; ExxonMobil Foundation; and by Damon Chu
© 2008 WCTE & TWO SIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Distributed by WCTE Upper Cumberland Public Television
© 2009 Copyright Artwork WCTE & TWO SIX, Inc.

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