Don Strand has been a fixture in the southeastern music scene for nearly forty years, performing with orchestras, chamber ensembles, Broadway shows, recording groups, and headliners like Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, James Brown, and Hans Zimmer.
He studied with the late David Randolph at the University of Georgia, graduating with a Bachelor’s in Music Education. Don’s other principal teachers include the legendary Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal tuba Arnold Jacobs, former Philadelphia Orchestra principal tuba Abe Torchinsky, and “Mr. Tuba” himself, the great Harvey Phillips.
Don currently holds principal tuba positions with the Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta Opera, Columbus (GA) Symphony, Greenville (SC) Symphony, and Georgia Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed regularly with the Atlanta Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Savannah Symphony, Augusta Symphony, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, and many others. A versatile multi-instrumentalist, Don also regularly performs on bass trombone, contrabass trombone and cimbasso.
Don began his teaching career just a few years after graduating from the University of Georgia, when he was hired to teach low brass at West Georgia College. Since then, he has taught at Georgia State University (also serving as coordinator of brass studies), Columbus State University, Reinhardt University, Gainesville State College (where he also directed the brass studies program), the University of North Georgia (also as director of brass studies), and Brenau University, where he also formed and conducted the wind ensemble. He currently teaches at Lee University. He also maintains a busy private studio, and several of his students are professional performers themselves.
As a recording artist, Don has appeared on four Atlanta Symphony recordings, as well as on the Atlanta Opera recording of The Golden Ticket by Peter Ash. He has also recorded music for CNN, Delta Air Lines, Cartoon Network, and on two albums by Bruce Springsteen. Don has also played tuba and bass trombone on over a dozen touring Broadway productions, including The Lion King, Mary Poppins, a nd Chicago.
An active chamber musician, Don performs regularly with Peachtree Brass, Atlanta Brassworks, and the Peach State Brass Quintet. As a soloist, he has presented recitals and masterclasses across the Southeast, in Seattle (Wash.) as well as Northwestern University in Chicago, Il. and Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.
A passionate advocate for the tuba, in 1987, Don founded the Atlanta Tuba Christmas, one of the largest such events in the country, attracting over 200 players of all ages and abilities each year.