In Memoriam: Trailblazing trombonist Betty Glover, CCM alumna and former faculty member
Glover was one of the first female trombonists in the country; she passed away on Sept. 27
The University of Cincinnati is saddened to share news of the passing of CCM alumna and former faculty member Betty Glover. As one of the first female orchestral trombonists in the country, Glover made a significant impact in the world of music and enjoyed an incredible career. She passed away on Sept. 27, 2022, at the age of 99.
A recipient of UC’s 2020 Outstanding Alumni Award and CCM’s 2021 Dean’s Medal, Glover (BM, ’44; MM, ’48) taught at the college for 40 years from 1952-92 and served as principal bass trombone at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1952-1985. During her time at CCM, Glover led the CCM Brass Choir and inspired generations of young artists.
Former student and CCM faculty Marie Speziale (BM Trumpet, ’64) previously told the UC Alumni Association: “I first met Betty in 1960, my freshman year at CCM. As a young female brass player with no women as role models at the time, I found her immense presence in the Cincinnati community of musicians extremely inspiring and impactful.” Read the UC Alumni Association’s feature story on Glover from 2021. CCM DMA student Nathan Siler wrote an in-depth history of the CCM Brass Choir for his dissertation in 2012, which details Glover’s impact on the program; it is available online.
In 1940, Glover began studying trombone at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, which later merged with the College of Music and became part of the University of Cincinnati. A week after graduating, she auditioned and won the position of principal trombonist at the Kansas City Symphony, where she served from 1944-48. She returned to Cincinnati during the summers and taught young trombone players while also pursuing graduate studies at CCM.
Glover served as the principal trombonist with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra from 1948-49, until the orchestra ceased operations. She began working as a trombone instructor at Otterbein College in 1950, where she taught all brass instruments and conducted the band and brass choir.
In 1952, she subbed for Bill Wilkins (who was ill) as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s bass trombonist for the May Festival. According to the CSO, the festival’s intermission was stretched to allow time for Glover to arrive at the concert, and she then performed without a warm-up, sight-reading the second half of the performance. Wilkins passed away during the festival, and the CSO appointed Glover to the position of principal bass trombone — making her the first female bass trombonist in the country.
Early in her career, she also worked as an assistant in the hematology department at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, which offered her a flexible schedule so she could continue performing with the CSO and teaching at CCM, while also taking classes at UC in chemistry and microbiology.
Glover was also a member of Sigma Alpha Iota (S.A.I.), an international fraternity for professional women musicians. From 1956-59, she served as the Province Vice President and she performed as a featured soloist at the S.A.I. National Convention in 1959. The fraternity awarded her the highest honor possible, the Ring of Excellence, which is given for outstanding service to the organization or to an internationally renowned musician.
In 1969, Glover became the music director of the CCM Brass Choir, originally founded by former faculty member Ernest Glover. She worked with composers to premiere new works that were frequently performed alongside traditional works for brass, ranging from Giovanni Gabrieli to 20th-century standards. Under Glover’s leadership, the CCM Brass Choir performed on the first digital transatlantic broadcast from the United States to Europe in 1983. The concert was sponsored by radio station WGUC and also featured the CCM Chamber Choir, the Cincinnati Percussion Group and included a world premiere written for the CCM Brass Choir by composer and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra bassist Frank Proto. The CCM Brass Choir was also active at the annual Feast of Carols at CCM and at annual commencement ceremonies throughout her entire career.
Glover frequently collaborated with CCM Choral Studies during her time leading the CCM Brass Choir. She also began a series of concerts at St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Kentucky, with the former Director of CCM Choral Studies Earl Rivers and the CCM Motet Choir — presenting 13 concerts over the span of 11 years. The two ensembles also performed together at the 1986 American Choral Directors Association Central Division Convention in Indianapolis.
Glover presented her final concert with the CCM Brass Choir on May 2, 1992, at Hyde Park Community Methodist Church. In 1993, the first International Women’s Brass Conference honored Glover as a brass woman pioneer. After retiring from CCM, she moved to Ménerbes, France, where she stayed in touch with her former students, fellow musicians and fans of her work from around the world. Before she passed, she made arrangements to be cremated and for her ashes to be scattered in the cedar forest in Bonnieux, France.
Betty Glover’s 40 years of service to CCM helped shape the school’s widely acclaimed Brass Choir and inspired generations of young artists — especially women who sought to follow her example in shattering the glass ceiling to find success in the orchestral industry. Our thoughts and condolences are with Glover’s family and friends.
During times of grief, it is important to remember that UC Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers several opportunities for students to talk with someone.
Faculty and staff can also access counseling services through Impact Solutions and UC’s Employee Assistance Plan. Additional information is available by logging into Bearcats Landing.