Tom Plsek

Chair

"I believe in doing simple things as perfectly as possible. If you can do simple things really well, the difficult things will develop. I'm big on fundamental technique, the basics of breathing, embouchure, articulation, and slide/valve control. Mastery of these basics needs to be as subconscious as possible. You don’t want to have to think about them when making music."

"I’ve always been drawn to experimentation. Even as a young child I was experimenting—with chemistry sets, in my dad’s auto repair shop, with my first cars, with different styles of music. I had a great band director who tried to expose me to all kinds of music without being judgmental. I played in concert bands, GB [general business] bands doing polkas and country-western and top 40 music, rodeo bands, big bands, symphony orchestras, Dixieland groups, etc."

"In college I majored in music theory so that I could learn what had already been done in music, so that I would not duplicate things. After moving to Boston in 1972, I discovered what was then known as “free jazz.” This really got me into the experimenting mode. I got positive feedback and support. Since 1989 I’ve been part of the Mobius Artists Group, a very diverse collection of artists from all different types of media."

"As chair of the Brass Department, I've tried to hire the best performers available, to expand the diversity of the department. Berklee, because it is so large, is able to have a relatively large Brass Department. We have faculty that cover virtually all aspects of professional brass playing."

"The students are what I like best about teaching at Berklee. They come with so much enthusiasm, so many different backgrounds and cultures, and such a range of abilities and experiences. Each one is a challenge to teach."

 

Career Highlights

  • B.M., Texas Christian University
  • M.M., University of Houston
  • Trombone studies with Al Lube
  • Performances with Jerry Hunt, the Phil Wilson Trombone Ensemble, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Experimental Intermedia Foundation, and New Music America
  • Featured soloist on the CD Jump or Die, performed by the groups Splatter Trio and Debris and devoted to the compositions of Anthony Braxton, and Firehouse Futurities with drummer Gino Robair and woodwind performer Steve Norton
  • Presenter at the International Trombone Workshop, the New York Brass Conference, and the New England Brass Convention
  • Member, the Mobius Artists Group