Chicago Symphony Brass: A History – Part 3

Michael Mulcahy leads his fellow section members in the annual holiday concert by the CSO Brass. | ©Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Back in 1991, the Chicago Bulls had clinched their first of six NBA Championships, a Daley was returning to the mayor’s office, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was ushering in the Daniel Barenboim era. The successor to Sir Georg Solti arrived at an orchestra with the most celebrated brass section in the world, and one whose character he would help shape over the next 15 years as Music Director. 

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Chicago Symphony Brass: A History – Part 2

Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Mahler 5 recording from 1970 showcases the brilliance of the brass (London).

Jay Friedman knew early on what kind of sound Georg Solti was after when the Hungarian maestro became the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s music director in the fall of 1969.  “When he first came — and this is regarding the brass section — you couldn’t play loud enough for him,” the orchestra’s principal trombone recalls. “It didn’t matter what it was. Even Schubert’s Ninth Symphony could not be played loud enough. He’d always say, ‘Give me more! Give me more!’”

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Chicago Symphony Brass: A History – Part I

The Chicago Symphony Brass

Every devotee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra brass section can point to a goosebump-worthy moment in a past performance or recording. Maybe it’s the ping of Principal Trumpet Adolph “Bud” Herseth’s solos in Richard Strauss’ Don Juan, recorded in 1954. Or the riotous blaze of horns that conclude Mahler’s Seventh Symphony, from 1971. Or the low brass delivering the stentorian opening theme of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony, released in 2017 (on CSO Resound).

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