Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Senior readies for recital


Tom Johnstone performs, composes and arranges music:

By Nat Edson


Tom Johnstone is a senior set to graduate in May next year. As part of his degree, he will perform a student recital, a program he put together and will perform on the trombone. Johnstone is returning to college and said he is excited to be pursuing his new career in music.

“I started messing around on the piano when I was about five years old,” Johnstone said. “I originally wanted to play tenor sax. But in fifth grade, a music teacher assessed my skills and thought I’d do best on trombone”

Johnstone also explained he drew inspiration from composers such as Mahler, Stravinsky and Ravel ever since he was young.

“I just couldn’t wrap my head around how these people sat in a little room somewhere with a piano and wrote down this brilliant music,” Johnstone said.

His family was always supportive of him, never forcing him to continue even when he wanted to quit his early study of piano. By fourth grade, he restarted piano lessons and shortly thereafter took up the trombone.

Johnstone has enjoyed the support of Dr. Michael Dugan, his professor and a man he says he has really clicked with. Dugan, for his part, also says he has a high appraisal of Johnstone.

“He is inquisitive,” Dugan said. “Soaks up every bit of information from every faculty member on campus. His maturity and work ethic for academic courses, student ensembles and individual trombone practice serves him well.”

The recital will involve a variety of pieces with a broad set of styles. The recital will start with three shorter unaccompanied pieces: a fanfare, a fantasy with some technical challenges and a jazzy piece by Leonard Bernstein.

Another piece, titled “Red Dragonfly,” was premiered last June by Megumi Kanda of the Milwaukee Symphony, who taught Johnstone for a few lessons over the summer and introduced him to the piece.

One of these pieces was even arranged by Johnstone himself, for piano and trombone.

“I should also mention that not only is Tom an outstanding trombone player,” Dugan said, “he composes and arranges music, and is a fantastic classical and jazz pianist.”

Johnstone said the idea of a recital scared him to death a year ago, but he’s now feeling relaxed about it.

“I’ve gotten more used to performing,” Johnstone said. “I’ve worked hard enough on this program to have some confidence. But I’m sure I’ll feel some jitters before I walk on stage.”

The performance is at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4, in Light Recital Hall.

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Founded 1901
Senior readies for recital