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John Caughman



Tubist John Caughman is a second-year Master’s student at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music, studying with Craig Knox. In addition to being a member of The Brass Roots he was recently appointed Principal Tuba of the Mansfield (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra. Born in Wisconsin, John grew up on the west coast in Portland, Oregon but also lived in Hamburg, Germany for a year. Musical studies began in the fifth grade for John with trumpet and composition, with pursuit of the latter eventually leading to performances of his works by the Portland Youth Philharmonic and the Oregon Symphony. In the summer after the seventh grade, entranced by the sway that bass instruments held in band, he asked to take home a tuba in order to retool and take over a more fundamental role in the ensemble the next fall. After making his solo debut with the Portland Youth Philharmonic, his tuba studies led him to the midwest to earn his Bachelor’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of Yasuhito Sugiyama and the late Ronald Bishop. There he met a cellist named Cecilia who would later become his wife.


John has performed all around the country including in Miami, as a sub with the New World Symphony; in Norfolk, Connecticut, as a brass quintet fellow at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival; and in Breckenridge, Colorado, as tubist with the National Repertory Orchestra in 2016. He can also be heard on the National Orchestral Institute’s 2015 Naxos release of Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1. John and his wife live in Pittsburgh’s Point Breeze neighborhood with their espresso machine, packed book shelves, and their clever and cuddly pet rats.​

Amanda Willard


Originally from Buffalo, New York, Amanda first pursued her professional goals by studying with Raymond Stewart of Meridian Arts Ensemble at the State University of New York at Fredonia. There, she co-founded the Fireside Brass Quintet, 1st runner up of the Calvin Smith Brass Festival and Competition in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Amanda now resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania after earning a Master of Music in Tuba Performance from Duquesne University in May 2015. There, she had the privilege of studying with Philip VanOuse, principal tuba of the Pittsburgh Opera and Ballet.
Currently, Amanda is principal tubist of the Butler Symphony and Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra. She is an active sub with The Pittsburgh Opera and Ballet, Westmoreland Symphony and Johnstown Symphony.  Amanda has also been the tuba professor for 3 consecutive years at the SUNY Fredonia Summer Music Festival and has spent 2 years as low brass   Through the school year, Amanda teaches K-8 general music at Propel Homestead.  Remaining current in the world of music education is very important to Amanda.  Additionally, Amanda is a coffee snob, enjoys running and spending time with her bear like dog, Teddy.

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