Sidney Mear

The son of a cornetist and bandmaster, Sidney Mear is a trumpet legend who studied and performed with legends such as Herbert L. Clarke, Bohumir Kryl, William Revelli, and Edwin Franko Goldman. He was well established as an outstanding musician with the Horace Heidt dance band before he came to Eastman in 1937. He began teaching in 1940, while he was still a student, and in the same year, aged only 21, was featured as “A Brilliant Young American Trumpeter” in a national ad for Selmer Trumpets.

Sidney Mear performed in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra from 1940 to 1968. Under esteemed conductors such as Erich Leinsdorf, Dmitri Mitropoulos, Sir Thomas Beecham, and David Zinman, he developed a reputation as “a player who never, ever missed a note.”  He also performed in orchestras in Mexico, in Philadelphia, and in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. But the continuing thread in his musical life was his teaching at Eastman, where he remained until his retirement in 1980. His artistry can still be heard on the many Mercury recordings of music by American composers conducted by Howard Hanson, which are now available on CDs – including classic solo performances in Barber’s Capricorn Concerto, Copland’s Quiet City, and Leroy Anderson’s Trumpeter’s Lullaby (recorded in a single take, without rehearsal).

But Sidney Mear’s most precious musical legacy is as a teacher. In more than 40 years at the School, he trained many of America’s outstanding band and orchestral trumpeters, teachers, and band directors. Many of them, in turn, are teachers whom Mear has continued to mentor and to advise, continuing a precious line of outstanding musicianship. For his long tenure and continuing influence as a teacher, the Eastman School proudly honors Sidney Mear with its Alumni Mentor Tribute.

Rochester, New York

October 22, 2006