The road which Chester Schmitz traveled enroute to becoming the principal tuba player with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops orchestras led him through the 1959 Rose Bowl as a member of the University of Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band and the United States Army Band of Washington, D. C., where he played tuba in notable events such as the funeral processions of presidents Kennedy and Hoover. He also was the string bass player of the U. S. Army White House Strolling Strings and the Swing Band.
In the 1971 season of the Boston Pops, he became the first Boston Pops member ever, to be a featured soloist in a nationally televised production, as Tubby the Tuba, with Julia Childs narrating and Arthur Fiedler conducting. Again, in 1982, he was then the “second” Pops soloist in a TV taping of Carnival of Venice, Theme and Variations, with John Williams conducting. Mr. Williams also cast Mr. Schmitz as “Jabba the Hutt” in the recorded Pops version of the Return of the Jedi. In John Williams special arrangement of The Rievers, he depicted the antique automobile, with an extended solo, written especially for him in Williams’ very first concert as conductor of the Boston Pops, in 1980.
For the 1985 celebration season of the 100th Anniversary of the Boston Pops, John Williams wrote and dedicated to Chester, his Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra, performing the world premiere of this composition on May 7th, conducting the Boston Pops.
Notable celebrities with whom Chester has appeared during his lengthy career with the symphony and pops, include, Charlton Heston, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Jack Benny, Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Chet Atkins, Reba McEntire, Glen Campbell, Steven Allen, Andy Williams, Celine Dion, and others. Chester Schmitz participated in thousands of concerts and dozens of recordings. Without a doubt, he is the most-recorded orchestral tuba player in the world.
Faculty positions included the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston University, and the Boston Conservatory, with master classes and performances at such notable institutions as The New England Conservatory, the Juilliard School of Music, Universities of, Iowa, Michigan, Texas, Harvard, Yale, and many others, both in the U. S., and abroad.
In 2001, he resigned his position with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops in response to a call from his Lord, Jesus Christ.