Review: Santa Fe Symphony and trumpet soloist Mary Elizabeth Bowden in co-commissioned Vivian Fung concerto

Posted on: January 26, 2022

“The Santa Fe Symphony launched the 2022 concert year with a program featuring a Mozart symphony, a Haydn concerto, an overture that’s an orchestral showpiece, and a co-commissioned premiere that had very unusual but highly welcome aspects,” writes Mark Tiarks in Friday’s (1/21) Santa Fe New Mexican. “You could probably count the number of trumpet concertos by female composers written for female soloists on your thumbs. The Santa Fe Symphony co-commissioned one, from Canadian-Cambodian composer Vivian Fung for soloist Mary Elizabeth Bowden, and its local premiere was one of the concert’s highlights. It’s a substantial piece, circa 16 minutes in length, performed in one continuous movement…. The concerto requires virtuosic playing almost throughout, showcasing Bowden’s facility in rapid passage work, register extremes, and unusual techniques such as flutter tonguing, the trumpeter’s equivalent of a rolled letter R…. Bowden’s versatility and the orchestra’s committed playing earned the concert’s biggest ovation, and rightly so.” Also on the program were Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, Haydn’s trumpet concerto, and Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmila Overture. The commissioning consortium for Fung’s concerto includes the Erie Philharmonic, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, San Diego State University School of Music and Dance, San José Chamber Orchestra, Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Shenandoah Conservatory, and Waynesboro Symphony.