The Arnold Jacobs Principal Tuba Chair, endowed by Christine Querfeld
Gene Pokorny has been the tuba player in the Chicago Symphony since 1989. He has previously also been the tuba player in the Israel Philharmonic, the Utah Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In addition to playing film scores in Hollywood (“Jurassic Park”, “The Fugitive”, etc.), he has played in chamber music, opera orchestras and orchestra festivals worldwide.
He grew up in a trailer park 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, he teaches worldwide. This July marks the tenth year of his Pokorny Seminar held at the University of Redlands (California) from July 3-8. Pokorny has several solo and educational CDs of his own and assisted Rolling Stones’ trombonist, Michael Davis, in recording several educational workbook/CDs. He received an Outstanding Alumnus Award and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Southern California and the University of Redlands, respectively.
Gene 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 (who despite being a tuba player has a 3-digit I.Q.) and their basset hounds, (non-musicians who happen to have real lives), regularly forage from their refrigerator, which is located in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago.