Ralph T. Dudgeon, a well-known scholar and major researcher in trumpet performance who served SUNY Cortland for 27 years, will retire on Aug. 31. He has been designated professor emeritus of music.
Dudgeon is among the greatest authorities on the history and music of the keyed bugle. He led the 20th century revival of that instrument through his research and performances. He also is a recognized authority on historically informed musical performance practice and a member of prestigious organizations on two continents. In 2005, Dudgeon received a SUNY Chancellor’s Research Recognition Award, honoring him among SUNY’s most important and innovative scholars and scientists. In 2006, Dudgeon received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.
Dudgeon earned a B.A. in music education and an M.A. in trumpet performance from San Diego State University. He also completed graduate studies in performance at Aspen School of Music and received a Ph.D. in musicology from University of California, San Diego. He undertook post-graduate study in trumpet performance and conducted with noted performers John Clyman, former principal trumpet with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Film Studios; Gerard Schwarz, former principal trumpet with the New York Philharmonic; and studied conducting with Frederick Fennell, the emeritus director of the Eastman Wind Ensemble.
Dudgeon taught high school music for 11 years in California and then became an associate professor for five years at the University of Texas at Dallas.
He joined SUNY Cortland’s Music Department in 1985. Promoted to professor in 1994, he chaired the department from 1997 to 2000. Together with his colleague Thomas Hischak, Dudgeon authored the current musical theater major and reorganized the former theater and music departments into the current Performing Arts Department. He authored and developed courses in world music, jazz, the current music history sequence of courses and co-authored the new course, Influences on the American Musical.
From 1998 to 1999, Dudgeon was an affiliate artist at Syracuse University in the Early Music Ensemble. Since 2004, he has taught trumpet and served as principal trumpet with the Colgate University Orchestra.
From 1993 to 1994, while on a leave of absence, Dudgeon served as acting director and curator of the Streitwieser Foundation Trumpet Museum in Pottstown, Pa., with responsibilities for collection management, educational programming, publications and development of a concert series. He assisted in the relocation of the collection to Austria.
Each year since 1996, he has devoted two months as a research consultant to the Instrumentenmuseum, Schloss Kremsegg, in Kremsmunster, Upper Austria.
His published books include The Keyed Bugle (1993) and Das Flugelhorn (2003). He wrote two chapters for The Cambridge Companion to Brass Instruments (1997), “Keyed Brass” and “Learning and Teaching Brass.” The Keyed Bugle is considered the definitive research on that instrument. A second, expanded edition of The Keyed Bugle was released in 2004. Das Flugelhorn, published in German and English, provides a brief history of the flugelhorn and features more than 100 color photos of instruments housed in the Instrumentenmuseum, Schloss Kremsegg as examples of change in the instrument’s technology over the past 300 years. He contributed two chapters to the Cambridge Companion to Brass Instruments.
His refereed articles have appeared in key publications including The International Trumpet Guild Journal, Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, Historic Brass Society Journal; New Grove’s Dictionary of Music in the United States, Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World and Ovation.
A frequent reviewer of recordings and music, Dudgeon’s book reviews have appeared in juried publications such as The Journal of American History, Historic Brass Society Journal and International Trumpet Guild Journal.
His research has been supported by grants from the European Union and German governments, the Crystal Trust and the American Association of Museums.
He has appeared throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada, Mexico and China as a trumpet soloist and conductor. He founded the San Diego Brass Quintet and Sonare Early Music Ensemble. His debut solo album, “Music for the Keyed Bugle,” was the first full-length recording devoted to the keyed bugle. He has recorded for Musical Heritage Society, Music Masters, Newport Classic, Nimbus, Hyperion, Innova and Spring Tree labels.
Dudgeon is a member of the Society for New Music in Syracuse, N.Y., and has directed the Miss Lucy Long Social Orchestra and Quick Step Society since 1976. He also was a member of Syracuse Camerata, Utica Symphony and the London Gabrieli Brass Ensemble.
Dudgeon has been listed in Who’s Who in America, Men of Achievement, and the International Who’s Who in Music and Musician’s Directory. A member of the Phi Kappa Phi interdisciplinary honor society, he also served as a campus representative of the College Music Society, a charter and advisory board member of the Historic Brass Society, a charter member of the International Trumpet Guild, and member and former president of the Streitwieser Foundation.
He and his wife, Virginia Dudgeon, a SUNY Cortland lecturer III emerita of childhood/early childhood education, live in Homer, N.Y.