Milwaukee Symphony hires 19-year-old Rice University tuba player

Posted on: March 8, 2021

“If Robert Black drops out of college, and that day could be coming soon, his professor and his parents aren’t going to cry or scold. Black, 19, beat out dozens of older musicians to win the job of tuba player in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra,” writes Jim Higgins in Tuesday’s (3/2) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He’s the orchestra’s youngest musician…. He signed his contract in early 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted chances to play last spring. So Black will make his MSO subscription debut March 6, playing Paul Hindemith’s ‘Morgenmusik.’ … Black’s mother was a middle school and high school band teacher, and both his mom and his older sister played horns, so brass music was a regular part of family life … Black played in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra…. After finishing his college auditions and choosing Rice University in Houston, Black took part in the 2019 auditions for the Milwaukee Symphony’s open tuba position…. The MSO didn’t hire a player … [After] his second audition in January 2020, … the panel of musicians and music director Ken-David Masur … welcomed him to the orchestra. When he called … his parents, … ‘both started screaming basically. They’re super excited.’ ”