Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Advisor

Larry B. Campbell


The purpose of this monograph is to document the career of Allen Ostrander as an orchestral bass trombonist as well as an arranger and composer for the instrument. It also examines the significant contributions be made regarding performance skills, teaching, and improvements to the bass trombone. The research was accomplished primarily by conducting an interview with Ostrander. Additional information came from former colleagues, students, and orchestras that give insight into his life and career as performer, composer, and teacher. The monograph begins with a discussion of Ostrander's tenor trombone studies before he became a professional bass trombonist. He studied with some of the most prominent brass instrumentalists of his day including Ernest Williams, Gardell Simons, and Simone Mantia among others. Ostrander's professional career began in 1935 when he won an audition for the bass trombone position with the National Symphony Orchestra. It marked the first time he had ever played the bass trombone. He taught himself the skills needed to play it by applying what he already had learned from his previous teachers. He spent the next forty years as a professional bass trombonist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, NBC Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic. The twenty-nine years Ostrander performed with the New York Philharmonic are most significant because of the popularity he enjoyed while he was with it. More trombonists became interested in playing the bass trombone and he began teaching it. Ostrander composed the first bass trombone method book in the United States while teaching his first bass trombone student. He subsequently composed and arranged several bass trombone methods, etudes, and solos. He also contributed to the design of the double valve bass trombone. Ostrander's approach to teaching bass trombone performance is documented through his method books and the students he taught. He places special emphasis on tone quality, intonation, rhythmic accuracy, and proper phrasing. Ostrander passes on a great legacy for bass trombonists through his method books and teaching as well as his own performing ability.