With his trusted tuba (affectionately referred to as “Isolde”) by his side, Tristan Whalen-Hughes intends to drag the mighty grunt iron ever closer to the limelight of today’s music scene.
Tristan graduated summa cum laude from the University of Ottawa’s Bachelor of Music degree program. There, he studied tuba performance with Martin Labrosse. Tristan went on to earn a Master of Music degree in performance from Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), where he was awarded both the F.A. Aldrich Fellowship and the JUNO Legacy Graduate Scholarship in Music. At MUN, he was a student of Doctors Karen Bulmer (tuba) and Dale Sorensen (trombone). Tristan has also attended the Domaine Forget Summer Music Academy several times where he studied with Lance Nagels and Norwegian tuba virtuoso Øystein Baadsvik. In addition to being a skilled tuba player, Tristan is a proficient pianist, having earned the level of Grade 10 Piano from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto).
Tristan has performed with many ensembles ranging from funk bands to symphony orchestras. He founded and plays sousaphone in the Ottawa funk/rock band The Wailin’ Hues and has been a guest performer with the Newfoundland-based funk band Cabot Power. Tristan’s wind ensemble experience includes having been the principal tubist of the National Youth Band of Canada as well as serving as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. In this capacity, he has performed with the bands of The Ceremonial Guard, The Royal Newfoundland Regiment, and The Governor General’s Foot Guards. As an orchestral musician, Tristan has held the position of Substitute Tuba with both the Newfoundland and Ottawa Symphony Orchestras.
Tristan has teaching experience in a wide variety of settings including private lessons, clinics, and lectures at a post-secondary level. He is the founder and director of The Ottawa Brass Initiative (TOBI), a collective of brass musicians dedicated to high quality performance and music education. As a clinician, Tristan has led a number of brass and band clinics for intermediate and secondary school students located in and visiting the Ottawa area. He has also been a sessional instructor of music theory at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Additionally, Tristan has served as private tuba instructor for the arts-based De La Salle Secondary School in Ottawa.
Tristan currently resides in west-end Ottawa where he teaches piano, brass, and music theory privately, in addition to planning performances and clinics for The Wailin’ Hues and TOBI.