Carol Jantsch, principal tuba of The Philadelphia Orchestra, will perform a recital at Virginia Tech on Feb. 25 in the Squires Recital Salon and with the Virginia Tech Wind Ensemble on Feb. 26 at the Moss Arts Center.

Jantsch is a firm believer in hard work over innate talent. This fact has led to the world-class tubist playing for the past 11 years with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

“If you work intelligently and commit yourself to something, I think that you’re capable of a lot,” Jantsch said.

Jantsch began playing piano at the age of six. When the time came for her to be introduced to other instruments in elementary school, she wanted what she called “not a normal kid instrument.” She wanted something weird and different, and at the age of 9 she decided to learn the euphonium. By seventh grade, though, she took up the tuba and never looked back.

Her affinity for things that were big and different would ultimately lead Jantsch to become the youngest member of The Philadelphia Orchestra and the first woman to hold a principal tuba chair in a major orchestra in the United States. She attributes her position to her hard work.

It took auditioning three times for The Philadelphia Orchestra before winning the principal tuba position. She was a junior in college the first time she submitted her résumé, which was rejected. The second time she applied, she was recommended by trombonist Blair Bollinger, who had been playing with The Philadelphia Orchestra since 1986.

Despite failing to win the chair on her second attempt, Jantsch began regularly subbing with the orchestra. By her third attempt, she was offered principal chair, where she has continued to hone her craft over the past decade.

Jantsch’s tone has been praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer as  “clear and sure as it [is] luxurious,” and it is what ultimately led to her winning the position with the orchestra.

“It’s not about being able to play a lot of notes; it’s about having a great sound on the notes,” Jantsch said.

She credits growing up listening to The Philadelphia Orchestra as a driving force in developing her tone quality and articulation. She works to maximize the beauty of sound, which can be exceptionally difficult on the tuba.

“I’m obsessed with sound stuff,” Jantsch said. “Hard work beats talent every time. Play your scales and educate yourself, and cool stuff will happen.”

Jantsch will demonstrate her hard work when she comes to Virginia Tech for two performances and a masterclass with students. On Feb. 25 at 10 a.m., she will conduct a free masterclass open to the public. Later that evening, at 7:30 p.m., she will join Virginia Tech faculty member Jay Crone for a recital. Both events will be held in the Squires Recital Salon.

On Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. she will join the Virginia Tech Wind Ensemble, Virginia Tech faculty members Alan Weinstein on cello and Jason Crafton on trumpet;  Virginia Tech Symphony Band; and the Enloe High School Wind Ensemble for a special performance titled “Trading Fours” in the Anne and Ellen Theatre in the Moss Arts Center.

Support for Jantsch’s residency is provided by the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts, the Elizabeth A. “Betsy” Flanagan Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Endowed Lecture Fund, the Women and Minority Artists and Scholars Lecture Series, and Yamaha Corporation of America.


Written by Willie Caldwell, a graduate student studying arts leadership and higher education at Virginia Tech