Skip to main content

Notable graduates: Tom Curry — Double major toots his own horn with the tuba in the Wisconsin Brass Quintet

May 14, 2009

Though he can’t tell you exactly why he began playing the tuba, other than it was a challenge, Tom Curry can assure you of his passion for music and incorporating it into today’s culture.

“The reason I like music is because it’s a challenge. It’s always something that will push you forward,” Curry says. “You’re really preserving and cultivating something that I think is culturally, historically and socially important, even if people don’t essentially regard it as that today.”

For the past semester, Curry has been performing tuba as part of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet (WBQ) while his teacher, John Stevens, took sabbatical leave. The quintet performs for the Faculty Concert Series and Sunday Afternoon Live at the Chazen and has numerous other performances.

In addition to his involvement with the WBQ, Curry is involved with the symphony, the Wind Ensemble and numerous other student quintets. When asked where he performs with the quintets, Curry says, “Wherever anyone will let you play.”

Not only is Curry an esteemed musician on campus, but he also is a writer and communication arts major. He finds a way to combine his passion for music and writing by working for Emmie, a UW–Madison music magazine put out by the Wisconsin Union Directorate’s publications committee.

Although he doesn’t plan to go into a career in communication, it’s something he would like to keep part of his life. “With music, it’s something that’s good to be well-rounded because you never know what you’re going to do,” Curry says. “And I guess it’s always good to be good at writing.”

Curry says he was glad to attend UW–Madison because the tuba professor is someone he really wanted to work with. Additionally, he says the School of Music is surrounded by an aura of support and cooperation, rather than competition that he has seen in other music programs. In the end, he adds, he enjoyed the university simply because, “it’s Madison.”

In the future, Curry sees himself in Chicago, pursuing his musical career. He says it’s a metropolitan area with a lot of playing opportunities.

“It has a very vivid, vibrant music scene,” says Curry about Chicago. “That’s what you have to do as a musician: have a lot of opportunities, and hopefully some of them pan out if you’re lucky.”