In a concert inaugurating the Eugene Dowling Scholarship for Tuba and Euphonium, beloved UVIc instructor and brass player Eugene Dowling binds his friendships, musical life and greater community.
“I don’t like the term wrestling with my own mortality but let’s face it, I have stage four cancer,” he said. “I’ve spent 38 years in Victoria teaching these instruments and my students literally perform all over the world. … I’ve turned out so many music educators and so many people in the business.”
So while that leaves a legacy, a torch passing, he wanted to leave a “legacy of instruction.” The longtime faculty member officially retired last year but continues to teach, reducing his workload from 24 hours of instruction to four, and plans to keep doing so as long as possible.
“My teachers gave me a deep, beautiful gift: a love of music, an instinct for musical line and the desire to keep growing as a musician and person,” said Dowling. “By starting a scholarship fund in my primary teaching area, I wish to share with future students of the instruments that I play the same things that I have tried to pass on to my students for the past 38 years.”
It answers the question “What do you leave behind you?” he said. “You leave a community that you love, and UVIc is a newer university, older universities have a huge whack of scholarship money. We’ll build that over time, but I think we have something to offer that’s unique and wonderful.
“It’s the family and friends and the work you’ve done. I love the work that I’ve done. It was never a toil and trouble to go in to work,” he said. “It’s been a life filled the last couple of years with a series of standing ovations.”
A Musical Gift from One Generation to the Next is Sunday, Jan. 11 at 2:30 p.m. in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, MacLaurin Building, at UVic. Tickets are $18 or $14 for students, seniors and alumni, available at the door or through the UVic Ticket Centre at 250-721-8480 or tickets.uvic.ca online.
“It’s all the different chamber music, solos, friendships of my life and then students from the last 38 years will play under my direction,” he said. “It’s the joining of my friendships and my music. … It’s an all-star cast.”
Dowling will be joined on stage by some of his closest colleagues, two local bands that he regularly performs with – The Bastion Jazz Band and The Pinnacle Brass Quintet – as well as School of Music students and alumni. The program includes Scott MacInnes’ Quintet No. 1 – a piece he composed for his longtime mentor, colleague and friend in honour of his retirement.
“The piece is divided into three movements that each visits a wide-ranging spectrum of emotions,” said MacInnes. “Although saturated with sorrow, there is the ever-present sense of hope and even joviality that triumphs over all else.”
Joined by Ann Elliott-Goldschmid on violin and Charlotte Hall at the piano, Dowling will perform Yukiko Isomura’s Spring Suite.
“This isn’t the last concert dammit,” Dowling said. “I can’t say when the last concert’s going to be. This will be a snapshot of my life and we’ll start the scholarship right.”