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Accomplished tuba player and former music faculty member Jim Self—who performed the famous voice of the mother ship in Close Encounters of the Third Kind—is returning to UT for a residency February 19–23.

Jim SelfAfter teaching tuba at UT from 1969 to 1975, Self moved to Los Angeles and joined the faculty of the University of Southern California. He is freelance musician, composer, and arranger who has recorded music for nearly 1,600 motion pictures in addition to hundreds of television shows and recordings. He is principal tuba with the Pacific and Pasadena Symphonies, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Opera Orchestras.

Self has played solos in major films including John Williams’s scores to Jurassic Park, Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and Hook. His film credits also include Sleepless in Seattle, Dennis the Menace, Wall-E, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Legend of Zorro, War of the Worlds, King Kong, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Princess and the Frog, Valentine’s Day, Avatar, Tintin, Toy Story 3, Bridges of Spies, Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens, and Finding Dory.

During his career, Self has recorded with hundreds of artists including Placido Domingo, Mel Tormé, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Josh Groban, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Maynard Ferguson, Bette Midler, and Don Ellis.

Besides his work as a tubist, Self maintains an active doubling career performing on bass trombone, cimbasso, contra-bass trombone, and occasionally string and electric basses and the Steiner EVI (electronic valve instrument). His latest instrument is the FLUBA—an original design that resembles a tuba-sized flugelhorn.

Self and his wife, Jamie, have endowed tuba scholarships at several universities, including UT. They have also endowed five scholarships for the Volunteer Brass Quintet.

Here is a list of events that will take place during his UT residency: 

  • Monday, February 19—Tuba Solos, 8 p.m., Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall, Natalie L. Haslam Music Center

Former students of Self, now faculty members at universities across the country, will perform compositions inspired by Self. Performers will include Ronald Davis of the University of South Carolina, Zach Collins of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and UT Assistant Professor Alexander Lapins.

  • Tuesday, February 20—Chamber Music, 8 p.m., Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall Self’s chamber music will be performed by UT student ensembles including the Brass Choir, Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble, Saxophone Quartet, Woodwind Quintet, and Brass Quintet.
  • Thursday, February 22—Symphonic Band, Concert Band, and Wind Ensemble, 8 p.m., James R. Cox Auditorium, Alumni Memorial Building
    Program will include Self’s “Tour de Force.”
  • Friday, February 23—Jazz Recital, 6 p.m., Performance Hall 32, Alumni Memorial Building
    Faculty and guest artist recital with Self; Lee University faculty member Alan Wyatt, tenor saxophone; and UT faculty members Mark Boling, guitar; Donald Brown, piano; Keith Brown, drums; and Jon Hamar, bass.


Landin Lynd (865-974-8935,

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,