Obituary: bass trombonist Edward Kleinhammer, 94

Posted on: December 4, 2013

In Tuesday’s (12/3) Chicago Sun-Times, Maureen O’Donnell reports that Edward Kleinhammer, 94, a former bass trombonist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, died in his sleep November 30 “in his log cabin home in Hayward, Wis. … ‘He was the bass trombone player in the world’s most famous brass section,’ said Jay Friedman, the CSO’s principal trombonist. ‘They put the CSO on the map, and everyone wanted to sound like him and them.’ ” Born in Chicago, Kleinhammer initially studied violin, and in junior high school “received lessons from CSO trombonist David Anderson, said Douglas Yeo, a former bass trombone player with the Boston Symphony and a professor at Arizona State University.” After graduation from Harrison Technical High School, Kleinhammer joined the All-American Youth Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski in 1940, and was accepted into the CSO the same year at age 21. “From 1942 to 1945 he performed with a military band. After World War II, he returned to the CSO, where remained until his retirement in 1985.” Kleinhammer authored a best-selling book, The Art of Trombone Playing, and invented “a tube attachment [that] extended the range of the bass trombone to lower notes, said Yeo and Frank Villella, a CSO archivist.”

Posted December 4, 2013