Aaron McCalla, Principal Tuba
Barbara and George Trees Chair
Aaron McCalla studied at Southern Methodist University, the Juilliard School and the New England Conservatory. Before joining the Naples Philharmonic, McCalla held the position of principal tuba for the Colorado (Denver) Symphony Orchestra. In addition, McCalla has performed with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston, Albany, Vermont, Rhode Island, Jacksonville symphonies and toured with the Boston Pops. McCalla was a Tanglewood Music Center Tuba Fellow in 2005. In addition to his orchestral duties, McCalla was a member of the band LNE, based in Antigua, Guatemala, and the Kate Priestley Band, based in Austin, Texas. McCalla has performed as a soloist in many capacities, including with the Naples Philharmonic, the Colorado Symphony, Musica Sacra and as a recitalist in many venues. This past November, McCalla was the featured soloist in Carnegie Hall with the Florida Gulf Coast University Wind Orchestra.
I am from Duncanville, Texas. I studied at The Juilliard School, New England Conservatory and Southern Methodist University. I joined the Naples Philharmonic in 2005.
What has been your most memorable moment with the orchestra?
That’s almost impossible to answer since every week is memorable. I love every second, from soloing, brass quintet or being the foundation of the orchestra. It’s a dream come true.
What inspired you to become a musician?
My school band program was top-notch and inspired excellence at every stage. Also, my best friend from childhood, who is a professional trombone player, was always an inspiration in how he went about achieving his dream.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
Making music with people I respect and love.
What’s challenging about playing your instrument?
You have to be ready for anything. Sometimes, with the tuba, you sit for long periods and are expected to come in on delicate passages that are not always easy when you are not warmed up.
What are your favorite compositions?
I always love when Prokofiev shows up in the program. He knew how to write for tuba and where it sounds best. Period. But I have to admit, I do love playing Pops and tunes from the Great American Songbook. Those nights fly by!
What have you been listening to recently?
Outside of the orchestra, I generally am listening to rock music or NPR. I feel like I need it to recalibrate.
Are there other musicians in your immediate family?
None. But you couldn’t ever imagine finding a more supportive family than my dad, mom and brother!
What do you like to do outside of work?
My wife and I have two boys, so that pretty much answers this! Though I also love sports (I play in the Collier County men’s soccer league), cooking, traveling, sunsets at the beach, building Legos with my sons and also the occasional video game!