The Modern Trombone and its Performers with Douglas Yeo

Doug Yeo, Clinical Associate Professor of Trombone

On February 9th Douglas Yeo, one of America’s most recognized bass trombonists who is serving as Clinical Associate Professor of Trombone at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for the 2022-2024 academic years, visited the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music to discuss the heritage of the modern trombone in America.

Arthur Pryor, Frank Holton, and Kauko Kahila were some of America’s extraordinary trombonists.  They catapulted their performances to center stage from the unassuming back rows of America’s ensembles throughout the 20th century.  The instruments that these leading trombonists played and often endorsed were manufactured by such companies as C.G. Conn, Frank Holton, Henry Lehnert, F.E. Olds, C.F. Schmidt and Davis Shuman.

Each company’s newest metallurgical enhancements, slide oils, water keys, mouthpieces, and finishes were proudly heralded in music advertisements and performances by these exceptional trombonists and their ensembles.  The collaborative interactions between manufacturers and these trombonists led the way to new designs for the trombone and their performance techniques.

Doug’s lecture performance using many of the Sousa Archives’ historical trombones was recorded.  For those interested in learning more about the development of the modern trombone, this hour-long video provides lively performances and spirited stories about past manufacturers, performers and composers who gave it its unique voice.

Doug’s newest article on one of the Sousa Band’s frequently overlooked sousaphone players has just been released in the Winter 2024 issue of the International Tuba Euphonium Association Journal.  This article thoughtfully unpacks the facts and fictions associated with the life and legacy of  John Kuhn, a member of the Assiniboine nation of the northern Plains.   For those wishing to read this exceptional scholarly work, you can access it here.

For further information about the Center’s historical trombone collection call 217-333-4577 or email

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