Meet The Performers

Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Brass - Tuba

Gene Pokorny

Principal Tuba
The Arnold Jacobs Principal Tuba Chair, endowed by Christine Querfeld

Gene Pokorny has been a tuba player in the Chicago Symphony since 1989. He has previously also been a tuba player in the Israel Philharmonic, Utah Symphony, St. Louis Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic. In addition to playing film scores in Hollywood such as Jurassic Park and The Fugitive, he has played in chamber music, opera orchestras and orchestra festivals worldwide.

He grew up in Downey, California, about a mile from where the Apollo command modules that first took man to the moon were built. He studied tuba in Southern California with Jeffrey Reynolds, Larry Johansen, Tommy Johnson and Roger Bobo.

When he isn’t counting rests in the back row of the stage of Orchestra Hall, Pokorny may be found playing with the Do-It-Yourself Sousa Band (3rd clarinet section). In recent years, he has annually returned to Southern California giving seminars in low brass artistry at the University of Redlands with trombonists Dr. Andrew Glendening, Michael Mulcahy and Randy Hawes. He assisted Rolling Stones’ trombonist, Michael Davis, in the production of his “Twenty Minute Warm-Up” along with having solo and educational CDs of his own. He has received an Outstanding Alumnus Award and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Southern California and University of Redlands, respectively.

Pokorny is a member of the Union Pacific (Railroad) Historical Society and spends time as a “foamer” (watching and chasing trains). He is a card-carrying member of The Three Stooges Fan Club (a “victim of soicumstances!”) and is an avid enthusiast of his good friend David “Red” Lehr, the greatest Dixieland sousaphonist in the known universe. Gene, his wife Beth Lodal (a musician who happens to have a real job) and their basset hounds, (nonmusicians who happen to have real lives), regularly forage from their refrigerator, which is located in Chicago, Illinois.

September 2012

Please note: Biographies on the CSO website are based on the information that was most recently provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on the artists' own websites or those of their representatives.