Byron Lee Autrey
DECEMBER 10, 1924 – JULY 20, 2018
Byron Lee Autrey, age 93 of East Lansing, Michigan, was born December 10, 1924 in Mexia, Texas to Robert and Harriet Autrey.
He served in the Navy V-12 Program during World War II. After discharge from the Navy, Byron had a 38-year career in the Music Department at Michigan State University, where he was Chairman of the Brass Department. He was an internationally known performer, clinician and designer. Byron also authored the Basic Guide Trumpet Playing.
From the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) website:
Byron Autrey loved to tell you everything you needed to know about how a trumpet works, and I mean everything! Byron studied the craft of trumpet design for decades, having been a player all of his life. The mathematical approach he took in understanding the flow of air and the vibration of the mouthpiece led him on many capers, including one in which he designed a trumpet with Doc Severinsen. As a symphonic musician, Byron related to all levels of players and he used that knowledge in every horn he developed. His passion was apparent in every conversation he had about the trumpet.
Here's a video of Byron talking about how he approached improving the trumpet:
From the Kanstul website (https://www.kanstul.com/byron-autrey-1924-2018/):
It is with great sadness that we share the news of the loss of a great friend and master of both the artistic and scientific sides of brasswinds, Byron Autrey, who passed on July 20, 2018 in East Lansing, Michigan.
Byron taught trumpet at Michigan State University for almost 40 years, and has studied the craft of trumpet design for decades. A long time symphonic player, Byron was Elden Benge’s first salesman and clinician, and has since consulted for some of the top names in the brass world. The mathematical approach he takes in understanding the flow of air and the vibration of the mouthpiece led him on, in his words, “many capers”.
Byron’s expertise has been invaluable to Kanstul for many years. Zig has referred to him as “the finest in the world for mating a mouthpipe to a horn to make it play its best.” Our Signature Piccolo and Eb trumpets, the Chicago series and Alto Horn have all received Byron’s personal attention. He has helped us develop and perfect other designs for special projects involving major performing artists and world-renown musical organizations. Byron’s touches have allowed Kanstul to provide players with some of the finest playing brass instruments available.
Survivors include his wife, two sons, two grandsons and a nephew.
The family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Home in East Lansing, Michigan.
Memories and condolences may be shared at www.greastlansing.com