When the opportunity to teach at the University of Memphis presented itself, Jarrett McCourt, incoming tuba-euphonium instructor for the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, found himself eager be part of an acclaimed faculty in a decidedly subtropical climate.
“It’s one of those situations that just sort of happened, and it seems like a great opportunity,” said McCourt. “I’m originally from Ontario, Canada, so I’m really looking forward to heading down there and enjoying some southern warmth.”
McCourt’ first big foray as a professional musician came when he earned the position of Tuba Fellow of the New World Symphony, an orchestra academy in Miami Beach, Florida. This eventually led to performing alongside the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for the span of two one-year contracts before taking up a more permanent position with the organization, as well as time with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
“Jarrett is a gifted tubist, chamber musician, and teacher and we are delighted to welcome him to his new role on the School of Music faculty.” said Dr. Kevin Sanders, Director of the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music and previous tuba-euphonium instructor.
In addition, McCourt has performed under a range of classical conductors like Michael Tilson Thomas, Valery Gergiev, Simon Rattle, Fabio Luisi, and Yannick Nezet-Seguin, as well as alongside jazz heavyweights Esperanza Spalding and Wayne Bergeron.
“Jarrett McCourt is the embodiment of what we think of when we use the term 21st century musician,” said Dr. David Spencer, head of the brass area with the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music. “He is not only a gifted Tubist fluent in multiple genres, but also embodies the understanding that mental and physical wellness play a vital role in artistic development. We look forward to the possibilities Jarrett brings to our program.”
He earned his Bachelor of Music with a concentration in Tuba Performance and Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, in 2013 and earned Masters degrees in Tuba Performance and Chamber Music from the University of Michigan in 2015. His principal teachers have been Brent Adams, Fritz Kaenzig, Craig Knox, Warren Deck and Gene Pokorny.
With a student-centric approach to teaching leading his list of classroom priorities, McCourt hopes to guide new generations of musicians through the myriad of branching and ever-evolving career paths in the industry.
“I am all about my students”, he said. “I try to listen to what each of my students need rather than attempting to place them in pre-designed career boxes. If a student doesn’t necessarily want to be something like a band director or a performer, they can still have a very colorful, fulfilling life in other roles.”
McCourt’s list of honors as a musician includes the top prize in the brass category of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal’s Standard Life Competition in 2014, becoming the first tubist to do so in the competition’s 75-year history, as well as the top prize in several international competitions such as the New World Symphony Concerto Competition and the Marta Hidy Competition for Brass in Toronto. In addition, Jarrett was a finalist in the XVI Tchaikovsky Competition (the inaugural year for brass participants) in St. Petersburg, Russia, and was the only North American tubist to participate in the live rounds.
Learn more about the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music’s degree programs.