Richard Antoine White

Feb 3, 2022

I'm Possible

A Conversation with Tuba Professor Dr. Richard White

New Books Network 2022

Welcome to The Academic Life! In this episode you’ll hear about:

  • Dr. White’s journey to earn a PhD in tuba
  • The Baltimore School for the Arts
  • The importance of having a village
  • The hidden curriculum
  • Why teaching and mentoring are equally important for educators to do
  • A discussion of the book I’m Possible: A Story of Survival, A Tuba, and the Small Miracle of a Big Dream

Today’s book is: I'm Possible: A Story of Survival, a Tuba, and the Small Miracle of a Big Dream (Flatiron Books, 2021), a memoir by Dr. Richard Antoine White. When he and his mother didn’t have a key to a room or a house, they had each other. Richard believed he could look after his mother, even as she struggled with alcoholism and sometimes disappeared, sending Richard into loops of visiting familiar spots until he could find her again. One night, when he almost died searching for her in the snow, he was taken in by his adoptive grandparents. When Richard joined the school band, he discovered a talent and a sense of purpose. He was accepted to the Baltimore School for the Arts, then to the Peabody, where he navigated racial and socioeconomic disparities as one of few Black students in his programs. Richard secured a coveted spot in a symphony orchestra and became the first African American to earn a doctorate in music for tuba performance.

Our guest is: Dr. Richard Antoine White, a professor, mentor, and motivational speaker. He received his bachelor's degree at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and his master's and doctoral degrees at Indiana University. Dr. White was principal tubist of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra from 2004 until its untimely demise in 2011. He is now principal tubist of the Santa Fe Symphony and is in his tenth season as principal tubist of the New Mexico Philharmonic. He teaches at the University of Mexico, where he is associate professor of tuba/euphonium. He is the author of I’m Possible.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, a historian of women and gender.

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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