Chicago Symphony Orchestra trombonist Michael Mulcahy has appeared as soloist and teacher in the United States, Canada, Europe, Russia, Japan, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia. He has performed as soloist with the CSO and Pierre Boulez in music by Elliott Carter and with Daniel Barenboim in Leopold Mozart’s Concerto for Alto Trombone, which was broadcast on PBS. Other appearances include the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the Hilversum Radio Symphony and the Melbourne Symphony.
Mulcahy is the winner of several international competitions, among them the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Instrumental Competition, the ARD International Music Competition in Munich, Viotti International Competition in Italy and International Instrumental Competition in the former East German city of Markneukirchen.
Active as a member of the Chicago Chamber Musicians, his work also includes collaborations with Barenboim, Boulez, Joseph Silverstein, Christoph Eschenbach, William Bolcom and Yo-Yo Ma, as well as appearances at Domaine Forget in Quebec, Chamber Music Northwest and the Grand Teton Music Festival, where he has been a conductor since 1993. He has worked with the world’s most prominent composers, including Elliott Carter, Luciano Berio, Iannis Xenakis, Olivier Messiaen, Krzysztof Penderecki and as a member of Karl-Heinz Stockhausen’s performance ensemble.
Sir Georg Solti appointed Mulcahy to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1989. He also is principal trombone of Chicago’s Music of the Baroque and the Grand Teton Music Festival. His orchestral career began in 1976 as principal trombone of the Tasmanian Symphony. A year later, he attained the same chair with the Melbourne Symphony. He left Australia in 1981 to pursue a career in Europe, where he became solo trombone of the Cologne Radio Symphony.
He was named senior lecturer of the Canberra School of Music at Australian National University in 1987. In 1999, he was appointed professor of music at Northwestern University. He also has been an artist-in-residence at Indiana University and Wiley Housewright Scholar at Florida State University, and he regularly appears at universities worldwide.
Mulcahy’s interest in conducting was sparked by an invitation from West German Radio in 1987. Since then, he has been active in conducting a wide variety of works with an emphasis on the twentieth century. In 1988, he formed the Canberra School of Music Chamber Players and the Orchestral Repertoire Ensemble at Australian National University. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed assistant conductor of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. He toured Japan as guest conductor at the International Youth Musicale in Shizouka and Denmark for the Royal Danish Orchestra in Copenhagen. He also has worked as an assistant for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He has conducted for Music of the Millennium and composer-perspective festivals at the Museum of Contemporary Art, served as music director for National Music Camp in Australia, and he regularly leads the Chicago Chamber Musicians and the Grand Teton Music Festival Brass Ensemble. Mulcahy has taught and conducted at Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Workshop for young Arab and Israeli musicians in Seville, Spain.
Mulcahy was born in Sydney, Australia. He began studying trombone with his father Jack Mulcahy, and completed his studies with Baden McCarron of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and with Geoffrey Bailey at the State Conservatorium of New South Wales.
Michael’s wife Gabrielle Webster is a freelance horn player in Chicago appearing regularly with the Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera and the Chicago Chamber Musicians; daughter Lauren teaches at the Curtis School of Excellence, a leading AUSL school for CPS. His son, jazz bassist Patrick Mulcahy, recently released his second CD, Trouble with Machines with progressive rock sensation District 97.