TULL, JR., FISHER AUBREY (1934~1994) Fisher Aubrey "Mickey" Tull, Jr., renowned composer and educator, was born September 24, 1934, in Waco, Texas, to Fisher Aubrey and Lucille (Miller) Tull. The youngest of three children, he graduated from Waco High School in 1952, and, before enrolling in The University of North Texas (UNT), played trumpet with a traveling dance band.
During his college years, Tull performed with the UNT orchestra, concert band, and jazz lab band and studied trumpet with John Haynie and music composition with Samuel Adler, both renowned music educators. An equally gifted composer, Tull wrote over 100 arrangements for dance bands, radio and television productions and recordings and was the first staff arranger for the UNT Lab Bands. Also, while at UNT, he met fellow music student, Charlotte Dorsey, and the two were married in 1956.
After receiving a Bachelor of Music in Music Education in 1956, and a Master of Music in Music Theory and Trumpet Performance in 1957, Tull joined the music faculty at Sam Houston State University (SHSU). In the 36 years he taught there, "he became a beloved professor, mentor, and colleague to many." However, in 1964, he returned to UNT work on a Ph.D. in Music Composition, but returned to SHSU the next year, where he was appointed chairman of the music department. During the 17 years he served in that capacity, Tull created an award winning music school and served as president of the Texas Association of Music Schools and as a member of the Board of Directors and the Commission on Undergraduate Standards of the National Association of Schools of Music.
In 1984, Tull was recognized by his colleagues in Texas and at SHSU for his excellence in teaching when he was named a Piper Professor and was promoted to the rank of Distinguished Professor of Music. Both of these recognitions illustrated that his accomplishments went far beyond his musical abilities, and focused on "his exceptional teaching, his receptive temperament, his creative genius, and his constant desire to see his students succeed."
Aside from his distinguished teaching career, Tull was, according to his colleagues "A composer of international renown . . . [and] a legitimate minor American master." While his first "serious compositions were for brass ensembles . . ." they were "followed by several works for symphonic band, one of which, Toccata, was the winner of the 1970 American Bandmasters Association Ostwald Award." With a diverse musical style that ranged from neo-classical, to romantic, to the more experimental, Tull's career as a composer flourished. By his death in 1994, he had published more than 80 compositions, received numerous commissions, some of which have been recorded by London Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Brass Society, the Philharmonic Brass, the Millar Brass Ensemble, Doc Severinsen, and many other prestigious performers.
Throughout his career, Tull was the recipient of many awards and recognitions, which include: Texas Composers Guild, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), National Flute Association, Willamette Arts Festival, the Friends of Harvey Gaul, the Ostwald Award from the University of Maryland, Artists Advisory Council of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Arthur Fraser Memorial. He also received the Distinguished Men of Music medal from Kappa Kappa Psi, and was awarded the Orpheus Award by Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. In 1993, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the UNT College of Music, and, each year, a scholarship is awarded in his name to a student in the SHSU School of Music.
After a long and distinguished career, Dr. Fisher Aubrey "Mickey" Tull, Jr., passed away on August 23, 1994, and was given special permission by fellow Waco High School graduate, Governor Ann Richards, to be buried at the Texas State Cemetery. Dr. Tull is survived by his wife, Charlotte, a son, Tim, and a daughter, Jennifer.
Information taken from: Murphy-Manley, Sheryl K. "Fisher Tull (1934 - 94)," accessed from the SHSU Contemporary Music Festival, hosted by the SHSU School of Music website, http://www.shsu.edu/~music/events/contmusfest/tull.html. "Renowned composer Fisher Tull dies." The Huntsville Item, Wednesday, August 24, 1994. Van Asperen, Aimee. "Tull remembered as talented, modest." The Huntsville Item, Thursday, August 25, 1994. "Fisher Tull," accessed from the American Band Masters website, http://americanbandmasters.org/FTULL.HTM. Additional information provided by the Tull family.