Arnold Jacobs

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Arnold Jacobs (born June 11, 1915 in Philadelphia , † October 7, 1998 ) was an American musician.


Jacobs grew up in California. His mother, a gifted pianist, got him excited about music. In his youth he spent a lot of time making music, first on the French horn , trumpet , trombone and finally on the tuba . At the age of 15, he received a scholarship from Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music and majored in tuba.

After graduating from Curtis in 1936, he played two seasons with the Indianapolis Symphony under Fabien Sevitzky. From 1939 to 1944 he was employed as tuba player at the Pittsburgh Symphony under Fritz Reiner . In 1941 Arnold Jacobs toured the United States with Leopold Stokowski and the All-American Youth Orchestra.

Arnold Jacobs was a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) from 1944 until his retirement in 1988. During those 44 years he left the orchestra only briefly for a tour with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the spring of 1949 through Great Britain and Scotland.

In the early 1960s he was on the faculty of Western State College's Music Camp in Gunnison, Colorado. In June 1962 he was the first tuba player to be invited to play at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico . Arnold Jacobs, along with colleagues from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and members of the Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras, made the splendid recordings of Gabrieli's music.

Arnold Jacobs was a founding member of the Chicago Symphony Brass Quintet , performed as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and other various orchestras. Among other things, he recorded the Concerto for Bass Tuba and Orchestra by Ralph Vaughan Williams together with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim .

Arnold Jacobs is known all over the world as an excellent tuba player and music teacher. He taught tuba at Northwestern University School of Music and taught all wind instruments as a private tutor . He was one of the most sought-after teachers in the world, especially in the areas of breathing and motivation for brass and woodwind instruments and singing. His students included members of various orchestras and music colleges around the world.

Arnold Jacobs has given lectures all over the world. In January 1978 he gave a lecture at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago , he lectured on making music with wind instruments as a therapeutic treatment for children with asthma . Between 1980 and 1998 he offered master classes at Northwestern University every summer. In 1985 he received the Midwest Clinic's highest honor, the Medal of Honor . In 1994 the Chicago Federation of Musicians honored him with the Living Art of Music Award for his life's work .

Richard M. Daley, the mayor of Chicago, proclaimed June 25, 1995 Arnold Jacobs Day .

Arnold Jacobs received an honorary doctorate in music from the VanderCook School of Music in 1986 and later in June 1995 on the occasion of his eightieth birthday from DePaul University.

Arnold Jacobs died on October 7, 1998 at the age of 83.


  • M. Dee Stewart: Arnold Jacobs. The Legacy of a Master . Instrumentalist Pub., Northfield 1987 (English).
  • Brian Frederiksen: Arnold Jacobs: Song and Wind . Windsong Press, Gurnee 1996, ISBN 978-0965248907 (English).
  • Bruce Nelson: So spoke Arnold Jacobs: A Developmental Guide for Brass Wind Musicians . 3. Edition. Polymnia Press, 2006, ISBN 978-3981245622 (English).

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