In Memoriam: Gordon Mathie (1924–2019)

The International Trumpet Guild has learned of the passing of Gordon Mathie, Professor Emeritus at the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York College at Potsdam. Gordon was very active in the International Trumpet Guild, where he served as its first Treasurer, then Vice President and member of the Board of Directors. 

Mathie was born in Toronto, Ontario, in 1924 and moved to Detroit, Michian when he was five years old. He attended the University of Michigan for a year, playing solo cornet in the band (and studying that instrument) with William Ravelli. He joined the Navy in 1943 and played with various Navy bands until 1946. After his service he enrolled at Wayne State University where he studied music education, trumpet with Leonard B. Smith, and student teaching at Cass Technical high school under Harry Begian. While at Wayne State he met Clara, who was playing horn in the marching band, and they married in 1949.

In 1951, Mathie became the Third/Assistant Principal trumpet position in the Detroit Symphony and spent his summers as solo cornet in the Leonard Smith Concert Band. He continued performing in Detroit as a member of the orchestra, and maintained a significant role as a freelancer, until taking a public school band position in Oxford, MI; he remained there until 1959. At that time he joined the trumpet faculty at the National Music Camp, Interlochen, where he returned every summer until 1966.

In 1959 he and his family moved from Michigan to Potsdam, NY after being offered a position at the Crane School of Music by Dean Helen Hosmer. Although he began by teaching euphonium, tuba, instrumental music and conducting one of the college’s bands, his work duties soon became studio trumpet and music education. He obtained a sabbatical in 1966 to pursue his EdD degree at the University of Illinois and was one of the country’s first studio trumpet professors to hold a doctorate.

An active performer during his teaching career, Gordon was a founding member of the Potsdam Brass Quintet and also performed with the Vermont Symphony. He retired from Crane in 1982 as a Professor Emeritus and was given the Chancellor’s award for excellence in teaching. His former students number in the hundreds and are in teaching and playing positions throughout the world.

After his retirement he wrote the textbook The Trumpet Teacher’s Guide, now in its third edition, the method book My Trumpet Week, and numerous transcriptions and arrangements for trumpet and brass.

Mathie and Clara left Potsdam in 1999 to move to Waverly, OH. Mathie played the trumpet until a week before his death.

Mathie passed away on December 20, 2019 in Waverly, OH. He was 95 and was preceded in death by his wife Clara in 2013. 

Gordon Mathie

People wishing to make a contribution in honor of Gordon are asked to donate to:
The Clara Mathie Horn Scholarship
c/o Potsdam College Foundation, Inc.
SUNY Potsdam, 44 Pierrepont Ave.
Potsdam, NY 13676

(Source: WindSong Press, Crane School of Music Alumni)


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