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Music professor’s new album explores identities

January 10, 2024

Music professor Deanna Swoboda describes her newest album, “Identity,” as a soul-searching project.

“The title and inspiration for the album is a result of thinking more about my own identity — in life, relationships, music-making, where we come from, how we evolve and how we express ourselves,” said Swoboda, an associate professor of tuba and euphonium in Arizona State University's School of Music, Dance and Theatre.

“Identity” features new music for tuba with horn, euphonium, piano, electronic accompaniment and tuba/euphonium quartet, all personally commissioned by Swoboda in the past seven years.

Woman holding tuba
Deanna Swoboda, associate professor of tuba and euphonium and Eastman tuba artist.

The collaborative recording includes musicians, friends and colleagues of Swoboda: John Ericson, ASU professor of horn; Gail Robertson, euphonium/tuba professor at the University of Central Arkansas; Matt Tropman, euphonium/tuba professor at the University of Arizona; Ben Ordaz, euphonium/tuba professor at Northern Arizona University; and Gail Novak, ASU alum and freelance musician in the Phoenix community. 

The pieces were written by Aliyah Danielle, Jose Flores, Dorothy Gates, Gail Robertson and Amit Weiner.

“The composers are friends and people whom I have made a connection with and wanted to know more about their music and writing for the tuba,” said Swoboda, an Eastman tuba artist.

Swoboda said the title track for the album is a quartet piece composed by Mexican composer Flores. The piece is based on the questioning of one’s cultural origins and experiments with two instruments (euphonium and tuba) assimilating to each other's tendencies and ending with an acceptance of the combination of both.

“Flores describes that in a perfect world, diversity is accepted, cherished and championed rather than ostracized or tokenized,” Swoboda said. “The last movement of the quartet is a dream of a celebration in that ideal world.”

Swoboda has previously recorded four albums: “Table for Three” (2014), “Fanfare and Flourish” (2012), “Shamanic Journey” (2011) and “Deanna’s Wonderland” (2000). 

“Identity” was recorded at Tempest Recording with Clarke Rigsby and mastered with Nathan James at Vault Mastering. The album is published through Soundset Recordings and is also available on Amazon.

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