Kent Eshelman is Professor of Music at Baylor University, where he joined the faculty in 2009. Previously he held full-time teaching positions at Northern Arizona University and Western Kentucky University, and he has also taught at Grand Valley State University and the Interlochen Arts Camp. A graduate of the University of Michigan in tuba performance (BM) and jazz piano (BFA), he earned a master’s degree in tuba performance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a doctorate in tuba performance at Michigan State University. At UW-Madison he held the Prize University Fellowship and at Michigan State University the University Distinguished Fellowship. His primary teachers were Fritz Kaenzig, John Stevens, Philip Sinder, Ellen Rowe, James Akins, and Gary Tirey.
A highly acclaimed soloist, he has won first place in numerous national and international competitions, including the Jeju (South Korea) International Brass Competition, the Leonard Falcone International Euphonium and Tuba Competition (Artist and Student divisions), and the Midland-Odessa Symphony National Young Artist Competition. He was a finalist in the Philip Jones International Brass Competition (France), and a Level One awardee from the National YoungArts Foundation. He has been featured at many euphonium-tuba conferences, including as soloist with the Ventoscala Symphony Orchestra at the International Tuba-Euphonium Conference (ITEC) in Budapest, and he has premiered solo works by Bruce Broughton, John Cheetham, Frank Lynn Payne, and Anthony Plog. His solo albums, Message in a Tuba (Soundset Recordings, 2020) and Flavors (Equilibrium Recordings, 2013), have received strong critical acclaim. Flavors won the Roger Bobo Award for Excellence in Recording, an award given biannually by the International Tuba-Euphonium Association (ITEA), and the American Record Guide commented, “Tubists are making fine recordings these days, but this one really stands out.”
In addition to solo performance, Dr. Eshelman is principal tubist of the Waco Symphony Orchestra and has performed as substitute or extra tubist with the Grand Rapids, San Antonio, and Toledo symphony orchestras as well as with the Sotto Voce Quartet on numerous concert tours. He is a member of Baylor’s faculty brass quintet, Baylor Brass, and with them has performed at many venues throughout the United States and released an album entitled Four American Stories (Soundset Recordings, 2015). As a jazz musician, he has won first place in the Rich Matteson International Jazz Tuba and Euphonium Competition, performed as soloist with the U.S. Army Blues Jazz Ensemble at the U.S. Army Tuba-Euphonium Workshop in Washington, D.C., and released an album entitled Life is Good (PKO Records). He is also a sponsored artist for Denis Wick Products.
A devoted educator, Dr. Eshelman received the Outstanding Professor Award in teaching from Baylor University in 2015. His students have had consistent success in competitions and auditions, and the Baylor Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble has performed under his direction at ITECs in Bloomington (IN) and Knoxville (TN), the U.S. Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Workshop in Washington, D.C., and regional tuba-euphonium conferences in Arkansas and Texas. He has served as adjudicator for the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest, selector of the Texas All-State euphonium and tuba etudes, sectional coach for the Texas All-State bands, and as a presenter at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention.
An active member of the international euphonium/tuba community, Dr. Eshelman has served on the board of directors of the ITEA as the Regional Conferences Coordinator. He has frequently performed and adjudicated at ITEA conferences, and he served as organizer and host of the 2011 ITEA South-Central Regional Conference at Baylor University. He has also served as an adjudicator for the Jeju International Brass Competition in South Korea (in both the euphonium and tuba divisions) and the Leonard Falcone International Euphonium/Tuba Competition, for which he is also serving as the guest artist in 2022.