In memoriam: Sidney Mear

Sidney “Sid” Mear passed away at age 97 in March.

He is survived by his by his beloved wife of 75 years, Elizabeth Mear; daughter Karen Parker; sons Robert (Elizabeth) Mear, David (Deborah) Mear, Peter Mear; grandchildren David and Jeffrey Hurd, Christi Shannon, Tammy Fernandes, Christopher and Andrew Mear, Jacob Wilmer; 9 great-grandchildren; and sister-in-law Grace Fetter.

Mear was principal trumpet of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra from 1947 to 1968 after joining the orchestra in 1940. He was principal trumpet of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Mexico under Carlos Chavez from 1940 to 1942. He also played with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy on a North American transcontinental tour in 1946 following World War II. He was Professor of Trumpet at the Eastman School of Music, having taught from 1940 while still a student until 1980, and many of his many students went on to have exceptional careers as trumpeters and musicians. They include the likes of Phillip Collins, Vincent DiMartino, Charles Decker, George Foss, Stanley Friedman, Chris Dekker, Frank Hanson, Chuck Mangione, Lew Soloff, Byron Stripling, Jeff Tyzik, Allen Vizzutti, and George Vosburgh. 

Mear graduated from the Eastman School with a bachelor of music degree and Performer's Award in 1941 and a Master's Degree in1949. During his orchestral career he performed under some of the world's most esteemed conductors/composers including Igor Stravinsky, Howard Hanson, Erich Leinsdorf, Eugene Ormandy, Carlos Chavez, Jose Iturbi, Sir Thomas Beecham, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Dmitri Mitropoulos.

Mear studied cornet with his father as well as world-renowned cornet soloists Herbert L. Clarke and Bohumir Kryl. He later studied with Pattee Evenson at Eastman. Immediately upon graduating from high school, on the recommendation of Herbert L. Clarke, he joined the Horace Heidt big band. He was featured soloist on Heidt's 1937 recording of "Hot Lips" which reached #5 on US Billboard. During World War II, Mear served in the 184th Army Ground Forces Band and later with the First Combat Infantry Band which was the predecessor of the United States Army Field Band.


Source:, taken from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, March 17-18, 2016, and "The Students of Sidney Mear" internet archive

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