Arizona State University alumni David Earll, who graduated with a doctorate in musical arts in tuba performances in 2014 and is an assistant professor of tuba and euphonium at Ithaca College, was a prominent artist at the environmental film festival Finger Lakes -art, interdisciplinary, multimedia festival in Ithaca, New York, dedicated to showcasing global media projects focused on issues related to sustainability.
Now in its 24th year, the film festival is being held at Ithaca College and is led by faculty member Patrician Zimmerman, a pianist and tuba enthusiast.
“I was introduced to Zimmerman when I got to Ithaca and I performed a piece for tuba and trumpet at the festival,” Earll said. “When my album was released in October, Zimmerman contacted me to include the release of my album at the upcoming film festival as a major event.”
Deanna Swoboda, an associate professor at the ASU School of Music, Dance and Theater, conducted the live-filmed interview with Earll, which shows Earrll’s performances, his career and his first album release. “Winding Pathway”. The film also included a live Zoom performance with Earll and ASU student Joanna Hersey, a professor at the University of Pembroke and president of the International Women’s Brass Conference.
“One of the neat things that came out of his conversation was that Zimmerman also asked David to compose and record the main musical theme of the event,” Swoboda said. “Therefore, with each film that is screened, you can hear tuba music that is an original composition by David. The solo tuba piece that opens and closes the film was also his composition. “
Earll said tuba and euphonium albums might seem strange to casual music consumers, but recording albums has recently become part of a teacher or performer’s professional portfolio development.
Earll’s album features music by two Arizona composers and former ASU music teachers. “Tapestry III” was composed by Professor Emeritus James DeMars, and “Relentless Grooves Armenia” was composed by Professor Emeritus Sam Pilafian. Pilafian was also an Earll professor at ASU.
“Winding Pathway,” released on the Potenza Music label, was recorded in Arizona on Tempest Recording with sound engineer Clark Rigsby and produced by Swoboda. ASU student Gail Novak was the pianist. The album is available on Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon.
Earll initially began his record project in Arizona, recording pieces for job applications. After graduating, he consolidated his first teaching position in Wisconsin, but realized he had recorded enough work for almost half an album. He decided to complete the album and incorporated more current electronic media and tuba pieces that had become his specialty while touring with ensembles. As he became acquainted with the pieces of DeMars and the new English composer Andy Scott, he selected DeMars, Pilafian and Scott as the centerpiece of his record project.
When the completion of the album was delayed due to COVID-19, Earll took the time to focus on recording rights and selecting a title.
“Something good that came out of quarantine and COVID is harnessing our own creativity: having enough time for ideas to come in and enough time to really finish the projects we’ve started,” Swoboda said. “We move, pivot and find new forms. Boredom is the foundation of creativity and sometimes you need this quiet space. It was one of those significant and truly fantastic moments for David. ”
“One of the writers I follow online, Matt England, wrote about the idea that creativity is like breathing,” Earll said. “When you create something, you breathe. But if you breathe forever you will die. Therefore, to regain the ability to breathe, you must breathe. This is what COVID time has been for many people: an opportunity to inspire and nurture those who exhale with new energy and a different energy that you can find outside of the energy to create. “
In addition to teaching, Earll maintains an active soloist, chamber musician and clinician. He performs with the Northern Lights duo, the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Willson Low Brass International Quintet, Symphoria / Syracuse Symphony and Ithaca Brass. Willson’s international artist, Earll also makes regular appearances abroad and has performed in Hong Kong, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Norway and the Netherlands.