Allen Roy Trubitt was born on August 24, 1931 in Chicago, IL. He died on May 25, 2008, in Honolulu, from complications associated with Parkinson’s disease, which he battled for nearly 20 years. He received a master of music education from the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University and a doctor of music from Indiana University in Bloomington in 1964. A U.S. Army veteran, he played in the 7th Army Orchestra for two years prior to teaching music theory and cello at Indiana State College in Pennsylvania. Trubitt accepted a position with the Music Department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1964; he taught there for over thirty years, including two terms as department chair. In addition to composing, teaching and playing the cello, he was an active member of the campus community, including service on the Faculty Senate. Upon his retirement in 1997, he was granted the title of professor emeritus.
Trubitt was the recipient of many honors and awards, beginning quite early in his long and distinguished musical career. In 1962 when he was just 31 years old, a piece that was eventually named “Rice University Semi-Centennial Overture in D” was selected in a national competition as the piece to commemorate the institution’s 50th anniversary. Trubitt’s piece was chosen by Sir John Barbolli, a world-renowned conductor, who led the Houston Symphony Orchestra in a performance of the work in early 1964. This was a great honor for a young composer, although many others followed. After moving to Hawaii, his choral work “An American Letter” received first prize in a state competition commemorating the Bicentennial of American Independence. He also received the Presidential Citation for Excellence in Teaching in 1988. Trubitt’s extensive musical portfolio includes two symphonies, several piano, violin and trumpet sonatas, and numerous chamber works. His Nine Studies for Trumpet, composed around 1960, were published by the International Trumpet Guild in 2006. He co-authored several textbooks in music theory and ear training. He was a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
Trubitt was always very popular with his students, and had a reputation for being one of their strongest advocates. He was deeply invested in teaching and mentoring, and was never too busy to help someone in need of extra assistance. He was also known for his sharp wit, keen sense of humor, and a love of jokes and stories. His enduring commitment to his students, colleagues, his academic discipline and the institution made him a deeply respected member of the University community. He touched the lives of many people and was a significant presence at the Music Department throughout his long career.
Trubitt was a strong supporter of the Democratic Party beginning in the 1960’s and retained a life-long interest in politics all his life. In 1968, he was asked to run for Hawaii State Senator against incumbent Eureka Forbes. Although he didn’t win the election, he received a great deal of support in a strong Republican district. In addition to politics, he had an in-depth knowledge of world affairs, arts and literature, languages, and many other areas of personal curiosity.
Trubitt view the world through a lens touched by humor, and his ability to find the levity regardless of circumstance was one of his greatest strengths. Throughout his lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease, he looked for reasons to make light of his condition. He never missed an opportunity to make a joke or tell a funny story. One of the many things he will be remembered for was his love of laughter.
Trubitt is survived by wife Janice of Honolulu, former wife Anita (Arman Kitapci) of Kailua, son David “Rudy” (Robin Boyce-Trubitt) of Oakland, CA, daughters Lisa (Spiro Socaris) of Castleton, NY, and Julie of Honolulu, brother Hillard of Bloomington, IN, granddaughter Riley (Oakland, CA); three nephews, a niece and many cousins. He also leaves behind innumerable friends, colleagues and former students. He will be dearly missed by all.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to support music students in Allen's memory. Checks should be make out to "UH Foundation" with "Allen Trubitt Memorial" in the memo section and can be mailed to UH Foundation, P.O. Box 11270, Honolulu, HI 96828-0270.