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Cowan, Robert "Bob" Eugene (February 4, 1926-July 4, 2021)



  • Existence: February 4, 1926 - July 4, 2021


Robert “Bob” Cowan was born on February 4, 1926, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to parents Dwight Cowan and Ethel Keller. He began his musical studies at an early age with piano lessons, though his interests later shifted to the trombone, which would become his primary instrument. He played trombone in a number of ensembles in high school, and he went on to play the bugle and the trumpet with the U.S. Army during World War II. Enjoying a wide range of musical genres, Bob Cowan went on to play in the Tulsa Philharmonic as well as in numerous jazz and other popular music groups. During the Korean conflict, Cowan was director of and a soloist with both the 330th Army Band and the 330th Army Jazz Ensemble.

After his military service and more time living in Tulsa, Bob Cowan relocated to the Kansas City area, where he has continued his musical endeavors. He has directed and performed in ensembles of varying genres and sizes, and he has been an active teacher, giving private lessons for more than fifty years. He and his wife Shirley purchased the Toon Shop (now called the Tune Shop), a music lesson store in Leavenworth, Kansas, where they continue to teach part-time, after having sold the sore in 2003.

Cowan received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Tulsa, and he received additional graduate education at Kansas State University, Pittsburg State University, the University of St. Mary, and the University of Minnesota. He is associated with the International Trombone Association, Phi Mu Alpha, the International Musicians Local 34 and 94 (retired), Kansas Music Educators Assn., Music Educators National Conference, National Education Assn., and the Kiwanis Club.

Information taken from:

Accessed June 29, 2016.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Bob Cowan Collection

Identifier: MS-0296
Scope and Contents The Robert Cowan Collection was donated to the LaBudde Special Collections at UMKC Miller Nichols Library by Cowan himself in June of 2016. Cowan was an avid performer of the jazz trombone, and this collection chiefly consists of scores and parts to arrangements of jazz standards. There are twenty five pencil manuscript full scores in the collection, and sets of parts (although some are incomplete) to around sixty pieces. The works are not Cowan’s own, but included in the collection are,...
Dates: c. 1940s