July 26, 2013

Remembering Ron Bishop

Ron Bishop, 2013 Faculty Emeritus

(1934 – 2013)

2013 Convocation Ceremony

Introductory Remarks by CIM Conservatory Dean Adrian Daly during the presentation of Mr. Bishop’s Emeritus distinction

Born in Rochester, NY, Ron Bishop spent his summers in Livonia, NY at the famous Tally-Ho Music Camp, where he met many faculty members from the Eastman School, including Frederick Fennell. In college, he excelled in both music and athletics, and as a New York state diving champion, he earned a Bachelor of Music degree and the Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music in 1956.

At the time of his graduation from Eastman, the draft was in effect. He auditioned for the U.S. Army Field Band and enlisted in the Second Army Division. Following basic training, he was active for three years, and with the band, he toured Asia, Europe and the United States. He subsequently enrolled at the University of Illinois and graduated with a Master of Science degree in Music Education. While in Illinois, he was able to study with the great Chicago Symphony Orchestra tubist Arnold Jacobs, with whom he frequently performed.  Mr. Bishop studied with Arnold Jacobs from 1959 until 1982, while winning auditions for (and performing with) the Buffalo Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and The Cleveland Orchestra.

In his audition for Cleveland, George Szell asked him why he had started tuba at the age of seven, to which Mr. Bishop replied, “I guess I didn’t know any better,” eliciting a “deep and sinister Szell laugh.”  What followed was a remarkable 38 years as principal tubist with The Cleveland Orchestra, culminating in a final concert at the Blossom Music Festival in a performance of Mahler 3 under the baton of Franz Welser-Most.

Mr. Bishop had an inexhaustible interest in performing contemporary music and championed new works. He premiered works from a multitude of performers and educated listeners to the tuba’s lyrical quality and special sound. He was an avid supporter of, and performer with, Performers and Artists for Nuclear Disarmament.

In 1988 he received the Alumni Achievement Award from the Eastman School of Music. He received Grammy Awards for his recording Antiphonal Music of Gabrielli, and for PDQ Bach’s An Awful Lot of Wind and Percussion Instruments. Additional faculty appointments include Baldwin Wallace University, the Eastman School of Music, Oberlin College, San Francisco State College and Youngstown State University.

He was appointed to the CIM faculty in 1968 and named Faculty Emeritus in 2013.

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CIM Mourns Beloved Faculty Member

VIDEO: Ronald T. Bishop receives a lifetime achievement award from the International Tuba Euphonium Association at the annual conference held in Tucson, Arizona in May 2010.