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Jim Self

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Jim Self


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InnerPlay, The Big Stretch, Changing Colors, Children at Play, My America, New Stuff

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Jim Self (born 1943) is an American tubist and composer from Los Angeles. Self has performed extensively in Los Angeles and internationally as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral tubist, and, most notably, as a studio musician in the Los Angeles movie studios having appeared on over 1500 soundtracks.


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Childhood, education, and early career

James Self was born in 1943 in Franklin, Pennsylvania. Self grew up in neighboring Oil City, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Oil City High School he attended Indiana State College (now known as Indiana University of Pennsylvania) from 1961-1965. At Indiana State College Self studied with William Becker, earning a music education degree.

Self joined the United States Army Band in 1965. The concert band tuba section included Leo Hurst, Bob Pallansch, Dan Perantoni, Chester Schmitz, and Paul Scott. During his time with the US Army Band Self earned a Master's Degree in Tuba Performance from Catholic University and studied with Harvey Phillips.

Self left the Army Band in 1967. He was offered the position of Assistant Professor of Tuba and the University of Tennessee in 1969.

In 1971, while still working at the University of Tennessee, Self began working on a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Southern California. At USC he studied under Tommy Johnson.

Studio career

Self has performed on the Los Angeles studios since 1974. In this time he has recorded over 1500 soundtracks for motion pictures and television. One of Self's most notable soundtrack credits is his performance on Close Encounters of the Third Kind. His performance was featured as the "voice of the mothership." Self can be heard as a soloist in such films as Jurassic Park, Home Alone I&II, Casper, Batteries Not Included, Sleepless in Seattle, and Dennis the Menace. Jim Self has been the first call tubist for such notable film composers as John Williams, James Newton Howard, John Debney and James Horner.

Orchestral performances

Jim Self holds principal tuba positions with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (1991–present), Pasadena Symphony (1975-present), Pacific Symphony (1986–present), Los Angeles Opera (1986–present), and Opera Pacific (1987-2008). Self is a frequent substitute tubist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.


Jim Self has taught at the University of Southern California since 1976. At USC Self teaches tuba and coaches brass chamber music. Self taught at the University of Tennessee from 1969-1975. He has also taught at such festivals as Music Academy of the West and the Henry Mancini Institute.


Self has published over 50 solo, chamber, and symphonic works. In 2008 the Pacific Symphony performed his composition, Tour de Force: Episodes for Orchestra. The 13 minute work has also been transcribed for wind ensemble and was co-premiered by the USC Thornton Wind Ensemble under the direction of H. Robert Reynolds and the IUP Wind Ensemble under the direction of Jack Stamp.


Harvey Phillips Award (ITEA), 2010

Roger Bobo Award for Excellence in Recording (ITEA), 2008 - InnerPlay

Lifetime Achievement Award (ITEA), 2008

Distinguished Alumni Award, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2003

Most Valuable Player Award (Tuba), National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987

President, International Tuba Euphonium Association, 1979-1981


Jim Self Wikipedia