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James Self



James Self

Jim Self is a Los Angeles based freelance and studio musician, a veteran of thousands of motion pictures, television shows and records and tuba soloist on many prominent movies. His tuba was the "Voice of the Mothership" in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Other solos can be heard in many of John Williams' sound tracks including "Home Alone" (I & II) and "Jurassic Park," James Horner's "Casper", Jerry Goldsmith's "Dennis the Menace" and Marc Shaiman's "Sleepless in Seattle." For many years he was first tuba for John Williams, James Horner, James Newton Howard, John Debney and others. Jim has recorded with hundreds of artists including Placid Domingo, Mel Torme, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Don Ellis. He is principle Tuba/Cimbasso with the Pacific and Pasadena symphonies, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra.

In the 2007-08 season, Pacific Symphony commissioned him to write a feature work called "Tour de Force." This 13-minute piece was premiered in April 2008 at the Symphony's home, the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Hall in Orange County. Born in 1943 in Franklin, Pennsylvania, Self holds degrees from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Catholic University and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California, where he is currently Adjunct Professor of tuba and chamber music. In March 2003, Self was given a Distinguished Alumni Award by Indiana University of Pennsylvania - a university-wide honor only given to only 290 of its more than 100,000 graduates. In addition, in June 2008 Self received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Tuba-Euphonium Association at the Cincinnati Conservatory. 

In the March 2019 issue of the AFM International Musician, Jim was on the cover and featured in an extensive story. Early in his career he was in the U.S. Army Band in Washington, D.C. and was the tuba professor at the University of Tennessee. Jim has produced 15 solo jazz and classical recordings that feature jazz greats like Gary Foster, Pete Christlieb, Francisco Torres, Ron Kalina and Warren Luening. Many feature his own unique instrument, the FLUBA (picture a tuba-sized Flugel Horn). His latest recording is "Flying Circus," Music for Brass Quintet - all original music by Jim Self. It features 25 of the top brass players in Los Angeles including 10 members of Pacific Symphony. The CD and music is available from and All of Jim's music and recordings are also available from: 

Jim and his wife Jamie are proud to endow many music scholarships at American universities.