The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Brass section has long been known for its matchless brilliance, mighty sound and spectacular power, contributing to the Orchestra’s legendary and distinctive “Chicago Sound.” With its rich brass sonorities complemented by virtuosic wind and string playing, the music making of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra continues to elicit worldwide admiration.
Over the years, Chicago has become a sure destination for those who love great brass playing. Among some of the CSO’s renowned principal players have been Adolph “Bud” Herseth (trumpet), Dale Clevenger and Philip Farkas (horn), Frank Crisafulli (trombone) and Arnold Jacobs (tuba), who are still internationally recognized as some of the greatest brass players in history.
Today’s brass section numbers 13: horns: Daniel Gingrich, Acting Principal; James Smelser; David Griffin; Oto Carrillo; and Susanna Gaunt; trumpets: Christopher Martin, Principal Trumpet, The Adolph Herseth Principal Trumpet Chair, anonymous benefactor; Mark Ridenour, Assistant Principal; John Hagstrom; and Tage Larsen; trombones: Jay Friedman, Principal; Michael Mulcahy, and Charles Vernon and tuba: Gene Pokorny, Principal.
The CSO Brass—the full symphonic ensemble en masse, not just a standard brass quintet—started giving occasional concerts independently in the 1970s; now the group regularly performs in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center and beyond, demonstrating its mastery, depth and range outside the orchestral repertory on which its original fame was based.
Their album, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass Live, released in 2011 on the CSO Resound label, is available in retail stores, on cso.org and on iTunes. Go to http://bit.ly/CSOBrassCD for more information and audio excerpts.