On July 15, 2001, the music world
lost one of its most significant Brass Legends and
teachers of 20th century Brazil. Meanwhile, the rest of
the world was generally unaware of Professor Gilberto
Gagliardiís existence, much less his profound
contribution. Yet in his homeland, the mere reference of
íProfessorí was enough for any brass player to know that
the subject was Professor Gagliardi. He was often
referred to as the Emory Remington of Brazil.
Gilberto Gagliardi was born to
Italian parents in Sao Paolo, Brazil on December 5,
1922, and spent his early years in Rio de Janeiro. His
father was a trombonist, and he had three brothers,
Fausto, Raul and Roberto, who were also trombone
players. Gilberto, the only son to build a music career
for himself, worked in a variety of musical styles in
both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo all his life.
His career began at age 18,
playing at the Urca Casino in Rio de Janeiro. In 1946 he
took part in the first Brazilian orchestra,
Os Copacabanas, and in 1965,
entered the symphonic world, becoming the principal
trombonist in the Municipal Symphony Orchestra. He
performed with personalities such as Heitor Villa-Lobos,
Camargo Guarnieri and Eleazar de Carvalho.
His honesty, integrity and
organizational skills earned him the position of vice
president and treasurer of the Brazilian Musicianís
Union, one of the largest in the world.
Gagliardiís granddaughter Katrina
described him as a very fair person.
It didnít matter if you were a man or a woman�if youíre
wrong, youíre wrong. And if youíre right, youíre right.
He was the most generous and honest man I have ever met.
Once, after he hit a parked car, he left a note that
said, �I�m sorry I hit your car, but I�m going to pay
for it.í And he did! He was always very serious, but
would somehow find a way to joke as well.
Regardless of whether a student
preferred classical music or Brazilian popular music, he
insisted that one must first develop a good sound, and
because Gagliardi was a successful performer in both
fields, he was able to guide a broad spectrum of
Brazilian Brass Legends. He also insisted that classical
players should study popular music.
Gagliardi continually composed
music - solos, etudes and ensemble pieces - for
studentsí lessons, filling the musical void of brass
music and study materials in his country. There are
estimates of more than 1000 compositions by Professor
Gagliardi, now scattered all across South America. He
once told a student, Iíll never know
where all my music is. How did Professor Gagliardi
become such a legend? The late Radegundis Feitosa Nunes
offered several ideas to this question.
"Gagliardi was one of the most
active trombonists of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo in
both the classical and popular music fields for more
than six decades. During this time players tended to
withhold their "trade secrets" of how to play, leaving a
void in the teaching field. Gagliardi, because of his
generosity, enthusiasm and outstanding performance
abilities, was eager to share his experience and help
others. By stepping into this educational void, he was
quickly recognized as the premiere teacher, eventually
receiving the respected title of "Professor. " He was
also known for recognizing musical talent in young Brass Legends, not only teaching them, but also loaning them
money to attend music festivals throughout the country.
Brazilian musicians speak of their
beloved Professor with the reverence and pride of a
national shrine. Gilberto Gagliardi is gone but surely
not forgotten, as he almost single-handedly molded
Brazilian brass playing for the 21st century and beyond.