Chicago Symphony to premiere Higdon’s low-brass concerto, then take it on tour

Posted on: January 18, 2018

“Jennifer Higdon can pinpoint exactly when the idea of writing a concerto for the renowned low brass section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra most likely lodged in her subconscious,” writes John von Rhein in Wednesday’s (1/17) Chicago Tribune. At age nine, “Her favorite recordings … were Fritz Reiner’s classic CSO recordings of the Mussorgsky-Ravel ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ and Respighi’s ‘The Pines of Rome.’ … Higdon observes, … ‘I wonder today how much that incredible Chicago brass sound seeped into my mind.’ Local audiences will be free to draw associations of their own Feb. 1-3 when the CSO under Riccardo Muti is scheduled to present the world premiere of Higdon’s Low Brass Concerto.” The soloists are CSO trombonists Jay Friedman, Michael Mulcahy, and Charlie Vernon, and CSO tubist Gene Pokorny. “A co-commission by the Chicago Symphony and the Philadelphia and Baltimore symphony orchestras, the unusually scored work also will figure prominently in four of the eight concerts the orchestra and Muti are to give as part of a five-city East Coast tour, Feb. 7-17…. Higdon’s extensive catalogue includes 10 other concertos, one of which, the violin concerto she wrote for Hilary Hahn, won the 2010 Pulitzer for music.”

Posted January 18, 2018

Pictured: Jennifer Higdon’s Low Brass Concerto will feature the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s principal trombone Jay Friedman, from left, principal tuba Gene Pokorny, trombonist Michael Mulcahy, and bass trombonist Charles Vernon. (Todd Rosenberg Photography)