CRISARA, Raymond D.|
A shining example of love, integrity and virtue was called to Heaven on May 25, 2014. Raymond D. Crisara, of Austin, Texas, was a world-renowned trumpet player and beloved University of Texas professor who will always be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, mentor and friend. Trumpet professor Charles Decker from Tennessee Tech University wrote, "he was not only a musically sensitive and incredibly consistent performer, he also provided a great example in the way he interacted with his family, friends, and colleagues. I feel that there are a handful of individuals who can ultimately shape our destiny. Ray Crisara is one of these special few."
Mr. Crisara's illustrious career began with his education at the Ernest Williams School of Music in New York. He then matriculated to the University of Michigan as both a student and a teaching assistant under Dr. William Revelli. At 19, he was appointed principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He held that post until he was drafted into the United States Army Special Services Orchestra in New York that performed in films, records, VDiscs, symphony concerts and radio broadcasts. Upon returning to civilian life, Mr. Crisara played and toured with the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini, was solo cornetist with the Goldman Band and Paul LaValle's Band of America. He also played with the ABC Brass Quintet, and was on the music staff at both ABC and NBC for many years. Mr. Crisara was sought after for commercial work, jingles, concert work and solo performances, numerous recordings for television and radio, and played under virtually all of the notable conductors of that period. Mr. Crisara played for the Jack Parr Show, the Dick Cavett Show, the Perry Como Show and Sid Caesar programs, and for artists including Frank Sinatra and Liza Minelli. Popular commercial recordings include his work with Paul McCartney of the Beatles, and KISS, while he was particularly proud of his work with Robert Russell Bennett on "Victory at Sea" and "Wide, Wide World." Mr. Crisara was also a national clinician for the Selmer Corporation and worked closely with Mr. Vincent Bach to help develop the internationally acclaimed Bach Stradivarius trumpet.
In 1978, Professor Crisara was thrilled to come to the University of Texas to teach. He enjoyed 23 years of building an outstanding trumpet studio, mixing his love of the trumpet and his life lessons in his own, unique way. He touched and inspired the lives of many at UT and he was proud to be a Longhorn!
Throughout his life, Mr. Crisara was honored to receive many accolades including the Edwin Franko Goldman Memorial Citation from the American Bandmaster's Association, being inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at the University of Texas, being named a Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus, receiving the Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Professorship, and receiving an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York-Cortland. He also received the Herbert L. and Jean Schultz Mentor Ideal Award for Outstanding Teaching from the Association of Concert Bands, and an International Trumpet Guild Award of Merit for "lifetime achievement in teaching and performance throughout the world."
Born in Cortland, New York on October 19, 1920, Mr. Crisara was predeceased by his parents, Frank and Margaret Crisara, as well as his sister, Katherine Douglas.
Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife of 65 years, Angela, his brother and sister in law, Robert and Stella Crisara of Woodbury, CT, his 4 adoring children, Meg Houghton and her husband Dana, Cina Crisara, Andrea Snouffer and her husband Edward, and Philip Crisara and his wife Tina. Six beautiful grandchildren were the great joy of his life: Jenny Houghton, Lauren Snouffer, Amilyn Houghton, Emily Snouffer, Alex Crisara, and Matthew Crisara. Mr. Crisara also leaves behind several dear cousins, nieces and nephews as well as countless students, colleagues and friends whose lives he touched and for whom he cared deeply.
Ray loved his wife and his family. He felt that the trumpet was unquestionably the most important musical voice, and enjoyed a well-manicured front yard, great Italian food, and jelly beans. He was a superb gentleman, full of compassion, and a true inspiration. When asked about Mr. Crisara, John Ware, former member of the New York Philharmonic said, "There are no adjectives in my vocabulary -or anyone else's- to accurately describe Ray Crisara. He's one in a million." Mr. Crisara often said that he "would like people to say that this might be a better place for my having been here." Anyone who was lucky enough to know Mr. Crisara is certain that the world is better because of him.
Visitation: Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78705, Thursday, May 29, 5-7 pm and Friday, May 30, 5-7:30 pm, Rosary at 7:30
Celebration of Life Service: St. John's United Methodist Church, 2140 Allandale Rd., Austin, TX 78756, Saturday, May 31 at 11:00 am
Interment: Capital Parks Cemetery, immediately following the service, 14501 IH 35 North, Pflugerville, TX 78660
In honor of Mr. Crisara, contributions may be made to the International Trumpet Guild (ITG) Legacy Fund in Memory of Raymond Crisara. Please address to: D. Kim Dunnick, Legacy Fund Director, 10 Lagrande Ct., Ithaca, NY 14850
Obituary and guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com
Published in Austin American-Statesman from May 27 to May 29, 2014