Meet Jim Shearer

Jim Shearer holds a D. M. A. in Performance and Literature and a Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. He teaches tuba, euphonium, music history, and music appreciation to graduate, undergraduate, and honors students at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, where he holds the joint titles of Regents Professor of Music and Distinguished Achievement Professor.

In addition, he presents concerts, master classes, and lectures as a Yamaha Performing Artist. An active classical soloist, Dr. Shearer has appeared throughout the United States as a guest artist with various wind ensembles and orchestras and in solo and chamber recital performances in The Great American Tuba Show and The Great American Trio. In the early 1990s, he traveled to Switzerland as a participant in the 47th Concours International d’Exécution Musicale, the first time this prestigious competition included the tuba as a solo instrument. He has toured Japan as a member of the Eastman Wind Ensemble, playing concerts and recording a compact disc for the Sony Classical label. In 2006, Shearer toured Colombia with the NMSU Faculty Brass Quintet and Wind Ensemble for the United States Department of State. While in Colombia, he performed for over 25,000 people at the national band festival and gave educational classes in Bogotá and Paipa. He is a former Principal Tubist with the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, the current Principal Tubist for both the Roswell and Las Cruces Symphony Orchestras, and a former member of El Paso Brass, with whom he released three commercial recordings. His playing can also be heard on blues artist Eric Bibb’s CD Diamond Days on Telarc Records. During a regional broadcast on NPR, Saint Paul Sunday host Bill McGlaughlin referred to Shearer and his tuba playing as the “lowest of the low brass!” (We think he meant it as a compliment.)

Dr. Shearer is the author of two music appreciation textbooks, Music 101 and Jazz Basics, both published by Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co. These books have been positively received throughout the academic musical community and are currently being used by a number of colleges and universities. He also has six commercial CDs released on the Summit Records label including the jazz titles The Memphis Hang (with Charlie Wood), Secret Frets, and his most recent project, Cloud Bowling with Claude Bolling. This extensive new double-CD set features a complete performance of the seven-movement Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio by Claude Bolling (played on tuba, of course,) along with a new companion suite cleverly titled Cloud Bowling by pianist and composer Chris Reyman. There are also three classical titles including The Haunted America Suite (new music for horn, tuba, and piano, made in collaboration with his wife, Celeste), Music For Tuba and String Quartet (with the La Catrina String Quartet), and Sultry & Eccentric:  The Music of James Grant (a solo project featuring his wife, which he produced and on which he performed the Double Concerto for horn and tuba).

An active supporter of both the euphonium and tuba, Shearer spent 15 years working for the International Tuba and Euphonium Association, serving as the Advertising Coordinator for the ITEA Journal from 1993 to 2003. From 2003 – 2007 he served on the ITEA Executive Committee as Publications Coordinator. In that position, he helped coordinate publication of the ITEA Journal, the creation of the website, and worked with the Tuba-Euphonium Press, which, at the time, offered a catalog of over 600 works featuring the tuba and euphonium in solo and chamber music, many of which remain in print today offered by other publishers. He currently serves on the ITEA President’s Advisory Board.

Jim Shearer was born in Water Valley, Mississippi, in 1964. His family owned the local newspaper, The North Mississippi Herald, from 1943 – 2003, and his mother continued working there for 19 more years after the paper was sold to another newspaper family in the area. His father was an active musician on the side, playing jazz saxophone and serving as Minister of Music at the family church (but never at the same time!). Growing up in a musical household, it was almost inevitable that Jim would choose music as a career. He became a tubist because no one else in the band would play the instrument. Early success led to a position in the Memphis Youth Orchestra and a summer at the National Music Camp (Interlochen). Following high school, Shearer attended Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, where he was a member of the faculty brass quintet throughout most of his undergraduate career. He later attended New Mexico State University, where he earned a master’s degree in music theory and composition, and was then accepted into the performance program at Eastman. Upon completion of his doctorate, he taught briefly at Southern Arkansas University before moving back to Las Cruces to join the faculty at New Mexico State. His wife, Celeste, is also a music educator and performer (horn and piano). The couple currently divides their time between Las Cruces and Pittsburgh (Go Steelers!). (

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Meet Celeste Shearer

Celeste Shearer plays horn with the Roswell Symphony Orchestra, the San Juan Symphony in Durango, Colorado, and the Great American Trio.

She was a member of the El Paso Symphony from 1984 to 1991 under the baton of Maestro Abraham Chavez, and she continues her association with EPSO today serving as a regular substitute. Celeste has also performed with the Lubbock Symphony, Las Cruces Symphony, Amarillo Symphony, and the New Mexico Philharmonia. 

In 1989, she received a fellowship as a member of Bravado Brass to attend the prestigious Tanglewood Institute, where she studied with members of the Empire Brass Quintet. Over the past 25 years, she has helped commission and premiere a series of new works for horn, tuba, and piano, including the recently released Two Lovers Dream by composer Tom Clary, available now on YouTube. As a band director, she led the commission, premiere, and publication of Sailor Songs by the late Samuel Hollomon.

Along with her husband, Jim, she has recorded two CDs for the Summit Record label, Haunted America Suite (Music for Horn, Tuba, and Piano), released in January 2015 and her more recent solo project in 2021, Sultry & Eccentric:  The Music of James Grant. Continuing in her family’s long musical tradition, Mrs. Shearer is a third-generation music teacher. She taught middle school band for 20 years in the El Paso I.S.D. until 2011 and served as Director of Bands at Mesa Middle School in Las Cruces, New Mexico from the fall of 2011 until her retirement in 2023. She is currently devoting her time to a more active performing schedule, real estate projects, and doing volunteer work with various charitable organizations.

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