Voice your support for Master Trumpeter and Teacher Allen Vizzutti against unjust dismissal

allen vizzutti, master trumpeterI was contacted via Facebook regarding this situation. See Allen's letter below requesting your vocal support.

A quick search for Allen Vizzutti came up with dozens of links. Among them is this amazingly!!! virtuosic and beautiful performance of Carnival of Venice variations.

He's also on Wikipedia. And here is is official bio and website.

Though I don't know all the inside details, I am shocked at the treatment Vizzutti has received. It is particularly distasteful and ironic that the head of a music department (U. of Washington School of Music) would betray and coldly dismiss such an icon of trumpet culture.

Music is a liberal art. From Wikipedia: "The term liberal arts denotes a curriculum that imparts general knowledge and develops the student’s rational thought and intellectual capabilities. The contemporary liberal arts comprise studying literature, languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, and science. In classical antiquity, the liberal arts denoted the education proper to a free man." It doesn't sound like Richard Karpen, Dean of Arts and Sciences, has taken the rich implications of the liberal arts to heart.

Here is Allen's portrayal and request for support. Please consider jotting an email to one or all of the addresses he give in the following letter.

To all musicians and music teachers:

I am writing for your help. The University of Washington School of Music has a new director, Richard Karpen, appointed by the Dean of Arts and Sciences last fall. He is a computer music advocate and not very interested in any of the traditional ensembles. He does not seem to value experience, expertise, accomplishments, visibility, effectiveness or credibility in school of music faculty.

I returned from touring out of the US for a month on July 13th to find a form letter from the UW School of Music director’s office informing me that under the guise of budget considerations my 10 year Artist in Residency position as trumpet professor for the UW School of Music has been eliminated. I had no warning in which to prepare for the loss of salary and health care. Computer music advocate, Karpen did not have the backbone or courtesy to discuss his plan with me personally or by email. During the last year I initiated 2 meetings in person with him to discuss cuts and the future. His attitude was condescending and he offered no information. In my professional life I have never been treated so disrespectfully.

Under the direction of computer music advocate, Karpen, during the last academic year, the brass faculty at UW went through several days of auditions for admission and scholarships only to be informed after deliberations were completed that we would not be allowed to admit anyone on trumpet, trombone or tuba in spite of a very talented and needed crop of applicants. Students and parents had traveled at their expense to audition when it was known by the administration that they had no chance for admission.

One extremely gifted and academically strong trumpet student was awarded the largest scholarship the brass department had available. He was never told of his award and was wait listed indefinitely. When his very concerned parents finally contacted the director just before the deadline for university acceptances expired, Karpen said and I quote, “You will never study with Allen Vizzutti.” The student’s father told me about this exchange later.

I am deeply concerned by the disturbing trend at the UW School of Music to devalue musical fundamentals, impose narrow artistic vision and undermine the faculty. I am now asking you, if you are willing to do so, to voice your opinion about my teaching, playing and/or the value of traditional music education, (in addition to contemporary music), or anything else you wish to say, to the Interim President of UW, the Dean of Arts and the Director of the UW School of Music at the following email addresses.

Richard Karpen < karpen@u.washington.edu> (director)
Anna Mari Cause < cauce@u.washington.edu> (dean)
Phyllis M. Wise < pmwise@u.washington.edu> (Interim President)

After dedicating a major part of my life to music education I am now reaching out for your support. Please forward this letter to your music colleagues and friends. I would love to see the emails to UW go viral.

Thank you.

Allen Vizzutti

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16 comments for “Voice your support for Master Trumpeter and Teacher Allen Vizzutti against unjust dismissal

  1. August 28, 2010 at

    Perhaps he is over the hill in his playing. But that doesn't make him a bad teacher. I think it's fine that they wanted to retire him. But I believe it was not handled well. Why would they audition new students for him and suddenly dismiss him?

  2. gadfly88
    August 27, 2010 at

    It's interesting that a guy who's so internationally famous is a complete nonentity in the Seattle music scene. The best trumpet players in Seattle: Cuong Vu (UW faculty), Thomas Mariott, Jay Thomas. Vizzutti retired in place at the UW and thought his salary and benefits were a sinecure. He's a prima donna whiner who was dead wood on the UW staff. Good riddance!

  3. Bob
    August 14, 2010 at

    You do not fire one of the top 5 trumpet players in the history of mankind period.
    I heard that the very fine trombone prof at UW quite because of this outrage.
    The UW would not be on my list of places to go to school because of the nature of my
    playing desires. I am 57 years old and in years not to distant past would have chosen Central WA as my my choice, or North Texas State. But to study under The Master would be a drawing card for the finest classical trumpet players in the world. And that is not a slight on his amazing jazz abilities. Truly Allen and Arturo are my faves of all time.

    • August 14, 2010 at

      Wow. I have not been following this saga. But I can easily agree with you that he may be one of the greatest of all time. Thanks for your comment.

  4. August 3, 2010 at

    I don't know about his situation, but it sounds like typical campus politics. Just a note: I knew Allen when he was a kid in middle school. I was one of the band directors in the Missoula, Montana schools and still remember his amazing trumpet playing. The Carnival of Venice comes to mind.

  5. socal music teacher
    August 3, 2010 at

    I'm concerned about the tone of the letter. After reading the letter it honestly sounds like a lot of sour grapes on Allen's part. Yes, investing 10 years of your career as an instructor in a college setting is quite a lot, but on the other hand, there are probably a lot of other universities who could use Allen's expertise as an instructor. Unfortunately, with the tenor of this letter word does travel from institution to institution. The impression I get from it is he's just another "prima donna" horn player, which I know that he isn't. Students travel from college to college when their private instruction teacher leaves, so this really wouldn't be any different. Perhaps Allen really likes to live up in Washington and teach at the university, but I can imagine universities like USC, University of Michigan, Indiana University and other with outstanding instrumental programs would really like to have him teach at their school. I'd say he should get his agent to put out a notice to these music schools and see who would be interested in having him teach there.

    • August 3, 2010 at

      Very good points. Thanks for your comment. From what I could tell, it was not handled well by the Dean. There were several students who paid to audition to study with him, and then suddenly found out after auditioning that he would not be their teacher, implying that he was let go suddenly. Those students are not being refunded any of their fees for travel etc, even though the Univ. did not inform them Allen would not be teaching. It just seems a bit suspicious to me.

    • digitalboy
      October 29, 2010 at

      well i work at the school of music at UW and it is in no way vizzuttis fault. it is all the dean and the crappy politics here. everyone is pissed, not just vizzutti and i think it is great that him and a few others r speaking out against the horrible things happening here. it is a shame they treat valuable staff members like sh#t and keep tenured profs here that need to retire or get fired since they are the ones that are not inspiring students and are basically draining the budget. No one likes the old fogeys that r still here and their salaries are outrageous. Studnets complain about them all the time, and the way they have treated incoming students should be noticed and everyone should know NOT to come to the UW – unless you like being treated like pond scum. You might think I am being a little too harsh – but if you were here over the past decade and seen the BAD way the school is heading then maybe you would be mad too. they are – without thinking or planning – laying off people that have been here and made valuable contributions for years. no, i am not a friend of anyone here, do not know vizzutti or anyone laid off, but i see it and live it everyday and it is a very TOXIC environment. Do yourself a favor and stay away.

      • October 30, 2010 at

        Thanks for your comment. It sounds like the situation is pretty bad. It’s pitiful that politics ruins the integrity of a good school. That’s why I don’t want to teach at a university.

  6. July 30, 2010 at

    I sent them an email and they responsed!

    • Kevin
      August 2, 2010 at

      What did they say to you?
      I wrote them an email as well but they never responded!

  7. Yurie
    July 30, 2010 at

    I emailed the directorbecause I was one of the many who spent money to fly out to audition and in his reply, the director wrote, "The information in an open letter that is circulating around the internet and that you may have seen does not describe the actual events, nor the situation and direction of the School of Music." What a load of bullshit

    • July 30, 2010 at

      You mean you auditioned to study with him next year, and they pulled the rug out from under you? To me, their sudden action is unprofessional and should be punished. Did you get in?

      • Yurie
        August 2, 2010 at

        No, because they decided not to take in any new brass students after we all spent money no plane tickets to audition. I wouldn't have spent the time and money to audition if I'd known that they weren't going to take anybody and also if i'd known that they were giong to fire Allen Vizzuti. I'm not sure there is anything I could do about it. Please let me know if you have any ideas.

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