About Joanna

A native Vermonter, Dr. Joanna Ross Hersey is a performing artist and composer with twenty years of experience as a leader in higher education. She serves as Associate Dean of Student Success and Curriculum, for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Beginning her career as Principal Tubist with the United States Coast Guard Band, Dr. Hersey performed throughout the country as a soloist and clinician after winning the position at the age of nineteen. Dr. Hersey performed at numerous state functions for visiting dignitaries and royalty, and has appeared in uniform on The Today Show and Good Morning America. She has performed for three U.S. Presidents, and participated in events to commemorate the allied efforts of World War II, including special joint performances across southern England with British military musicians.

Joanna Hersey

Dr. Hersey has released two solo albums, O quam mirabilis, and Zigzags, featuring music by diverse female composers, in combination with her own works. She appears on five brass chamber music albums, and performs as Principal Tubist with the Carolina Philharmonic. Joanna studied with Dan Perantoni at Arizona State University, received a Master of Music in Tuba Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music studying with Chester Schmitz, and earned her Doctor of Musical Arts in Tuba Performance from the Hartt School.

As a composer, her works have been chosen by the International Tuba Euphonium Association for their 2021 Tuba and Euphonium Solo Competitions. Her music has been premiered at the 2019 International Women’s Brass Conference and the 2021 Northwest Horn Symposium, and recently heard at universities including the Eastman School of Music, the University of Kentucky, Georgia State University, the University of North Texas, and the Royal Northern College of Music. The state of Texas has added three of her arrangements to their student 2021-2022 Solo and Ensemble list for euphonium.

Dr. Hersey also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Connecticut, and serves as Secretary of the Historic Brass Society and is Past President of the International Women’s Brass Conference. Dr. Hersey’s research interests focus on brass history and women in 20th Century American music, and her work has been published in the International Tuba Euphonium Journal, the International Women’s Brass Conference Newsletter, the Historic Brass Society Journal, the North Carolina Music Educator’s Journal and the Journal of Historical Research in Music Education. She has contributed chapters to three books, Bands of Sisters: U.S. Military Bands During World War II, Women’s Bands in America: Performing Music and Gender, and An Early History of Music Education in Universities: The Normal School Years.

Joanna Announcement Smile
Joanna Announcement Smile

Dr. Hersey’s experience leading teams began in the United States Coast Guard. There, in addition to performing, she sought leadership responsibility in administration. Through collaboration with military officers, enlisted personnel, and community leaders, their work coordinated people, funding, communications, facilities, and technology in support of the unit’s mission. It was during this time she learned that strong strategic planning would result in beautiful music and joyful inspiration, and this became her life’s work. As Coordinator of Instrumental Music Faculty, and now in the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Hersey’s collegiate career reflects her dedication to supporting the creativity of our students and faculty, for the benefit of our wider community.

What people are saying about Joanna

It is quite fascinating to hear the swirling textures, tuba riffs and pedal notes, as well as blending of analog and digital sounds… it has something of everything including extreme range, tricky rhythms and intervals, multiphonics, and other extended techniques. The entire album (ZigZags)is quite different from what we would call mainstream tuba recordings. The original tuba and electronics work, a major unaccompanied tuba work all juxtaposed with Hildegard von Bingen, herself a musical visionary, sets this recording apart from anything else. Brava!

Dr. Mark Nelson

International Tuba Euphonium Journal, Summer 2015

With a grinning smile and a boisterous personality, Hersey was a delight as she took over the room…Solo tuba made for an eccentric concert – the instrument vibrated like a subwoofer, resonating through the floor underneath your chair – but Hersey’s playing was quite wonderful, often recalling a trumpet. Her selections by wives of (more) famous composers, such as Clara Schumann and Alma Mahler, was clever programming, but also beautiful music. It was like the compelling exhibition of an unusual and endangered bird.

Austin Statesman Newspaper