With the great help of Andrey Kharlamov, In 2009, I presented a master class and taught private lessons to the tuba students at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. Russia’s second oldest conservatory, it was co-founded by Nikolai Rubinstein (brother of the famous Russian pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein) and a Russian prince. When it opened in 1866, Tchaikovsky was appointed as a professor of theory and harmony, and the conservatory has born his name since 1940.
Despite—or perhaps because of—the conservatory’s impressive pedigree, there are not enough practice rooms to accommodate the students. I was reminded of this every time I used the restroom, where I would be serenaded by more than one musician simultaneously.
While I was there, I taught private lessons in the room where Alexy Lebedev (composer of Concerto in One Movement) taught from 1950 – 1993. Beyond the well known concerto, he composed several etudes and exercises for tuba. I had been excited to meet him briefly before, in this very room. During the 1973 SFS tour in Russia we performed a concert at the Conservatory. After the curtain fell, I changed from my tails and headed back to the studio to pack my tuba. I found him in bib overalls inspecting my horn. All we could say to each other was “Lebedev-Cooley.”