Robert D. "Bob" Isele was born on
May 25, 1918 in Harrisburg, PA.
As a teen, he became the National
Scholastic Champion Trombone Soloist for 3 years
(1933-1935). He graduated from John Harris High School.
He attended Eastman School of Music and studied with
Emory Remington. In 1937, Robert joined the United
States Marine Band ("the President's Own") as principal
trombonist and was appointed trombone soloist in his
first year. With the band, he played at the White House
for Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and
Kennedy. Besides performing in the Washington DC area
with the band, Mr. Isele also played national radio
broadcasts and throughout the United States on the
band's annual tours.
He retired from the Marine Band in
1961. He freelanced in the D.C. area playing for the
ballet, ice capades, the Barnum and Bailey Circus and
many other events. In 1964, he joined the National
Symphony Orchestra (NSO) as second trombonist. He played
under conductors Howard Mitchell, Antal Dorati and
retired from the NSO in 1980 while it was under the
direction of Mstislav Rostropovich. In 1994, Mr. Isele
was given an award by the International Trombone
Association for his outstanding accomplishments on the
instrument. Those who knew him regarded him as a truly
humble gentleman and a living legend.