Raymond D. Crisara

  • Born: October 19, 1920
  • Died: May 25, 2014
  • Location: Austin, Texas

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705

info@wcfish.com
Tel. (512) 452-8811

Tribute & Message From The Family


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


Services


Condolence & Memory Journal

I had the pleasure of studying with Ray from 1979 to the end of 1984. Ray became my inspiration and mentor and taught me how to play trumpet the non-physical way. He changed my life for the better and I still use the techniques and approaches he taught me. Rest in God's house my friend.

Posted by Allan Gibson - Fayetteville, AR - Student   January 02, 2017

I miss having lunch with Ray,(at least four times a year), I was looking at a old picture of the City Service Band of America,with him sitting in the first chair, this was from the early fifties, what a musical career, he had for such a long time.
I remember my dear friend Harvey Phillips saying to me, that he never heard Ray ever make a mistake, he also told me many other wonderful stories about Ray.
Ray said that his teacher Ernest Williams told him, if you study with me, nothing will be hard.
Rip my dear friend, it was such pleasure to know and associate with you.

Rex

Posted by Rex Sagle - Houston, TX   January 05, 2016

And the Angels are surely singing....... Such a legend of a trumpet player and mentor on life. I studied classical performance on scholarship at U.T. and enjoyed every minute of that hour of my day. I had a very difficult time in my life during all of those years that I knew Mr. Crisara. He was such a positive, compassionate example of what a human being should strive to be. I wish I had known of his passing when it happened, I just heard The Walton's theme song and I couldn't help but think about him again ( MR. Crisara, himself, never appeared to be proud of that accolade:) And then the Google told me. ;(

Posted by Daniel Smith - Austin, TX - Student/Mentor   July 02, 2015

Sounds like a wonderful person who left the world a better place. He is very much missed on this Father's Day. RIP.

Posted by Donna Wood - Endicott, NY   June 15, 2014

We will miss seeing Ray's warm smile and his friendship.What a truly special man he was, we were so lucky to be his neighbors. We will miss him so much, and our hearts and prayers go out to Angela and family.

Posted by David and Diana Carr - Austin, TX   June 09, 2014

I only had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Crisara once, when my husband and former student, Jeff, brought me to the music building at UT. Jeff and I were either engaged or fairly newly married at the time (mid-late 90s). Mr. Crisara was in his office and was so gracious to us as he welcomed Jeff back. I truly felt like we were the only people who mattered to Mr. Crisara at that time as he asked us about our lives and how Jeff's playing was going. It felt to me like Jeff wanted his hero to approve of me. After meeting him, I understood why Jeff looked up to Mr. Crisara. He wasn't only a legendary trumpet player and instructor, but he was a great man, humble with a quiet fortitude and wit. He was the most influential man in Jeff's life and we are better for having known him.

We send our deepest condolences to the entire Crisara family. His celebration of life was the best funeral we've ever attended. Thank you for sharing him with us.

Posted by Jeanne King - Katy, TX   June 02, 2014

Every memory of Cortland, Westchester, watching Como, is filled with the familial kiss and hug from Ray. I hope I grow up to be like him.

Posted by Tom Biviano - Victor, NY   June 02, 2014

Posted by George Maniere    June 01, 2014

As one of Mr. Crisara's many trumpet students during his time at UT, I can attest to his greatness not only as a player and teacher, but also as a role model for pretty much anyone, in any walk of life. In his lessons, he always made you feel like you were the most important thing to him at that moment....I can't remember even one exception....he was consistently one of the nicest, caring people you could ever wish to meet. My condolences to the family.

Posted by Tom Strait - Moorhead, MN   June 01, 2014

I remember so many great lessons with Ray. I eventually got to work with him a bit (which was a thrill). Ray was my trumpet teacher but he taught me a much greater lesson than trumpet playing. He taught me how to live a life. Whenever things didn't go as nicely as I hoped I always thought of Ray and how he might have acted and tried to act as he would have.
My world is sadder for now but I take consolation in the fact that God has a new 1st trumpet player.

Posted by George Maniere - Sparkill, NY - Student / Colleague   May 31, 2014

Sending love and sympathy to Andrea, Ed, Lauren and Emily Snouffer. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Tom and Andrea Jaber

Posted by Thomas Jaber - Missouri City, TX - Friend   May 31, 2014

I remember so many great lessons with Ray. I eventually got to work with him a bit (which was a thrill). Ray was my trumpet teacher but he taught me a much greater lesson than trumpet playing. He taught me how to live a life. Whenever things didn't go as nicely as I hoped I always thought of Ray and how he might have acted and tried to act as he would have.
My world is sadder for now but I take consolation in the fact that God has a new 1st trumpet player.

George and Hanna Maniere

Posted by A friend   May 31, 2014

I had the privilege of studying with Mr. Crisara for three years in high school prior to working with him as a trumpet performance major at UT. To this day he is still the best teacher I have ever had . He was a task master, coach, cheerleader and friend. He will be missed be all those that knew him. My deepest condolences to Mrs. Crisara, his family and friends.

Jeff King

Posted by Jeff King - Katy, TX - Former student   May 30, 2014

Dear Cina, My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I have such wonderful memories of visiting the Crisara residence every week for trumpet lessons with your dad and especially the times when he would let me stay after to listen to a piece he was rehearsing with your sister. He was such an inspiration.

Posted by Connie Tomaino - Garrison, NY   May 29, 2014

My condolences to Mr. Crisara's wife and family. He was my trumpet professor at UT in the late 80's. He was an inspirational player and person. Always so kind. He will be missed.

Posted by Richard Flores - San Antonio, TX   May 29, 2014

Dear Angela,

I am so deeply saddened by the loss of a great trumpet artist, musician and human being. Ray was one the kindest men I have ever known, a true gentleman in every sense.

I will never forget the support he gave me during my first years of teaching at UT.

Ray called me often to to see how things were going, a true testament of how much he cared about about his students and how he cared about my transition
to UT. He definitely helped ease my concerns following the legend that he was.

Ray will forever be the greatest example of how to be a consummate professional and compassionate human being with highest standards of decency and integrity.

I miss him so much.

Ray Sasaki

Posted by Ray Sasaki - Austin, TX - Friend   May 28, 2014

My heart goes out to the members of Mr. Crisara's family at this time. What a wonderful legacy he has left behind in his students and family and the wonderful music they make! Lots of love and prayers coming your way, Cina, Andrea, Ed and all of you!

Posted by Mary Smith    May 28, 2014

Dear Angela and family: The sad news of Ray's passing comes to me here in Hong Kong where I am attending a few of the UT Wind Ensemble's concerts in Asia. I am terribly sorry that I will not be able to attend the memorial service for Ray this weekend.
Ray had a monumental influence on the trumpet, brass and band programs at the University of Texas. His students are working professionally all over the world. He is revered by those students and by his colleagues. And though I did not know him very well, I knew him to be a generous, warm person.
His legacy will live on, among many other places, right here in Hong Kong, tonight, when the Wind Ensemble performs.
Deepest sympathies to you and your family. The University of Texas honors Ray Crisara.

Douglas Dempster
Dean, College of Fine Arts
University of Texas

Posted by Douglas Dempster - Austin - Dean of the College of Fine Arts   May 28, 2014

A long time friend and neighbor. We'll miss you Ray!

Fred "Moe" Snyder

Posted by A friend   May 28, 2014

One of the highlights of my life was meeting Dr. Crisara at the final reunion of the Ernest Williams Alumni Association in Reading. A great man - a "one off"! He will be missed. Mark O'Keeffe

Posted by A friend   May 28, 2014

Cina, please accept my condolences on the loss of your dad. Reading his obituary, I wish I'd had the opportunity to know him! May the peace of Christ be with you in great abundance in the days ahead. I'll be thinking of you and your family.
Tom Brown

Posted by A friend   May 28, 2014

Ray was a great and gentle man. For those of us who were not his trumpet students, he gave lessons in living a joyful and grateful life. He saw wonder in all things and endless possibilities in all people.

Posted by Steve & Nancy Rooks - Austin, TX   May 27, 2014

Hello Angela,

Learning today of Ray's passing leaves me with both great sadness and wonderful memories of our New York years. I always felt good when Ray walked into the studio for whatever the musical situation was that we were called for. aI I knew I would walk out having learned something valuable.

Ray was a gentle man and a gentleman with the highest level of ethics and integrity as a friend, a colleague, and musician. He was a highlight in my musical life.

May he rest peacefully...
Al Stewart

Posted by Al Stewart - Sarasota, FL - colleague trumpet player   May 27, 2014

My heart is with you, Angela, and your children. As I look at Ray's beautiful
smile, it is easy to remember so many times
at 5 Paradise Drive for lessons and advice.
He had a gift for showing me the better path
when I was in need, and was my guide through
the tough years of being a free-lance player
in New York. Often I wonder how he would feel about the methods I teach the kids here
at home, and recall vividly his tone and
conventional approach to the trumpet. Thanks
for giving me encouragement during the rides back to the train station.

Posted by John McSpadden - College Station, TX   May 27, 2014

Mr. Crisara was a wonderful teacher. He was an amazing musician in the finest sense of the word. He could play in any style.
I took some lessons with Mr. Crisara as an elective while getting my masters degree at NYU. I'll never forget him demonstrating and playing duets with me.
Mr. Crisara was a true gentleman

Larry Malin

Posted by Lawrence Malin - New York, NY - Student   May 27, 2014

Ray such a special person, I called up on him to participate in the Tribute to Harvey Phillips in the year 2000, Harvey and Ray were great friends, and both were admired by everyone that they came in contact.
I so enjoyed having lunch a few times a year with Ray, I felt so much better as a person when the lunch was over, everything seemed better.
Well now the Lord has another source of entertainment by the greatest trumpet player ever, our loss was heaven's gain.
Rest in Peace Ray, I know the lights of heaven just got brighter, now that you are presentX2Eu2

Posted by Rex Sagle - Houston, VA - friend   May 27, 2014

We are saddened by the passing of Ray Crisara. As a member of the West Point Band in the late 1950s, I had the good fortune of meeting and studying with
this superb musician and wise counselor. My wife, Peggy and I will forever cherish the memories of evenings spent with Angela and Ray in Hartsdale, NY

Posted by Joe and Peggy Greco - Pawling, NY   May 27, 2014

Candle

Ray-
Thank you for being the best example of what a great musician, trumpet player, teacher and human being can be.
We should all strive to be like you.
Terry Sawchuk

Posted by Terry Sawchuk - Denver, CO - friend/fellow trumpeter   May 27, 2014

A remarkable teacher, musician, human being. I admired him greatly.
- Bryce Jordan

Posted by A friend   May 27, 2014

Our times with Ray the past 25 years will leave us with the fondest of memories anyone could ever ask for. He was the kindest, most thoughtful, and loving person our Lord ever created. We will miss his smiling face and friendship. Larry and Dottie

Posted by Larry and Dottie Shima - Mesa, AZ - Phil is our Son in Law   May 27, 2014

Ray and his family were long time friends of New England Music Camp, as well as personal friends to my family. Ray was the most wonderful person I ever met, and I will always remember his kindness and loving nature. The world has lost one of the best! My love to Angela, Phil, and all of the family.

Posted by Kim Wiggin - Suffield, CT, ME - family friend   May 27, 2014

My deepest condolences to Mr. Crisara's family and friends. He was a great man who, during the four years I studied with him at U.T., taught me the value of hard work and preparation, as well as life lessons that I carry with me to this day.

I can honestly say that I'm a better person because of Mr. Crisara. There will always be a special place in my heart for him.

Posted by Brandon Ginsburg - Oakton, VA   May 27, 2014

As a Horn player I learned more from Ray than any other teacher I had. I was a young player coming up in New York and these giants like Ray, Charlie Colin, Don Butterfield would take me in have lunch dinner and talk about craft, technique sound breathing. Most importantly from Ray was a love and light that is hard to describe but you feel. Its that feeling that a human being must have in order to perform as an artist. These things cannot be taught but experienced. I feel blessed to have known him and can pass along what he so freely gave. Chuck Ament.

Posted by A friend   May 27, 2014

I don't think I can even begin to list all the ways that my family loved Ray. My father always described him as his best friend, and he continued to call even during my father' s decline into dementia. And my father always knew it was Ray calling.
Most of the best memories of my childhood have the Crisara family in them. You all have made such a difference InThe lives of the Maxwells. I remember Ray and my father going upstairs to play duets and talk and talk.

I am currently in Argentina but sending you all my love and prayers. I will go to the National cathedral here in Buenos Aires and light a candle in memory of a wonderful
and man.
Much love from Annie

Posted by Annie Maxwell Megibow - Charlottesville, VA - Close friend   May 26, 2014