David Ostwald, AB’77, fell in love with the big brass tuba in sixth grade, when he lived in suburban Philadelphia. He was so enthralled with its sound that when his parents asked what he wanted for his bar mitzvah, he requested one. They said they’d honor his wish, provided he prove his dedication.
So Ostwald found a teacher—the tubaist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, who steeped him in the classics. After two years his parents, Lore Ostwald, AM’47, and Martin Ostwald, AM’48, gave him his belated gift—the same instrument he still plays 33 years later. “My tuba has been a magic carpet,” he says one evening at Manhattan’s Birdland Jazz Club, where David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Centennial Band has performed Tuesday nights since May 2000. “It’s taken me to places I might never have gone, and I’ve met literally hundreds of people I wouldn’t otherwise have met.”