The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Madison Symphony Orchestra’s principal tuba player Paul Haugan, of Madison and Milwaukee, dies at 57. | August 13, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

He was a big man with a big shock of white hair who played a big instrument – the tuba — and could be seen sitting in the back right side of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, with which he played for 30 seasons.

He was Paul William Haugan (below) of Milwaukee, and he died unexpectedly on July 28 in Milwaukee, apparently of heart disease. He was 57.

Haugan, originally from Madison, was a world-class tuba player with an extraordinary history of professional and personal experiences that included playing with four different symphonies and even recording with the rock groups Blood, Sweat and Tears, The Moody Blues, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Related by birth to J.S. Bach and Richard Wagner, Haugan also accompanied Frank Sinatra and Barbara Streisand.

Here is a link to the  obituary and death notice that ran in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

And here is a feature story about the colorful tuba player who loved nature and the circus:

John DeMain (below, in a photo by James Gill), music director and conductor of the Madison Symphony Orchestra for 19 years, lamented the loss of Haugan.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of Paul Haugan’s passing,” DeMain said in a prepared statement. “He was a fine musician, and a passionate advocate of his instrument, the tuba. Over the past 30 seasons, he turned in a host of extraordinarily fine performances as Principal Tuba of the Madison Symphony Orchestra. He was a serious collector of tubas from different periods of music and often provided a special degree of authenticity with his selection of instruments for both the symphony and the opera. He was a congenial colleague, and had a fine sense of humor. We will all miss him, greatly.”

Please leave any appreciation or condolences in the COMMENT section.


  1. Speaking of the high seats, one Sunday afternoon a few years ago I was in row O, all the way up there. (I enjoy that neighborhood — the sound is great and the atmosphere is relaxed.) Just prior to the concert, this big white-haired guy comes and sits next to me. At intermission he introduced himself: Paul Haugan. Something had come up and he had called a colleague from Whitewater to sit in for him. He stated he had wondered how the sound was up in the stratosphere and came up to check it out. He regaled me with stories of his exploits in Europe, with tales of both musical and decidedly non-musical accomplishments. He struck me as a great guy, friendly, approachable, humorous. Great news for the orchestra in the sky!

    Comment by geoff — February 10, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

  2. I’m very sorry to hear of Paul’s death. During the Madison Symphony concerts, he had a welcome and friendly presence that I could sense even from the very high seats in Overture Hall. I’ll miss that.

    Comment by Sandy Tabachnick — August 13, 2012 @ 10:27 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,262 other followers

    Blog Stats

    • 2,323,418 hits
%d bloggers like this: