Over the next two weekends, I will find myself in the Midwest, playing concerts with two symphony orchestras. If you happen to live near Chicago or Sioux Center, Iowa, I invite you to come to these performances.
On Sunday, November 5, I will be playing serpent in the Northbrook Symphony in Illinois, in a performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Reformation” Symphony. With today being the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the inclusion of Mendelssohn’s Symphony on this program – a piece that uses Martin Luther’s composition, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, in its finale – is certainly timely. Mendelssohn used the serpent in a number of his works and it is always a pleasure to enter into the woodwind section of an orchestra where I will be sitting next to the contrabassoonist. Mendelssohn understood the unique blending qualities of the serpent and contrabassoon, something that is explained in an article about serpent and contrabassoon acoustics by Dr. Murray Campbell (click this link to read the article).
What makes this concert particularly nice for me is that my oldest daughter, Linda Leonard, is the bass trombonist of the Northbrook Symphony. To share the stage with her, and to play the serpent in Mendelssohn’s great piece, combine to make this concert very special. Visit the Northbrook Symphony website for ticket information.
Then, on Tuesday, November 14, I will be soloist with the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra in Eric Ewazen’s Concerto for Bass Trombone. In fact, I will be playing the Concerto twice on that day, first at a NISO Youth Concert and then at their evening concert. I have enjoyed playing Eric’s Concerto on many occasions, both with piano and with symphony orchestra accompaniment. It is a piece that, to me, speaks deeply to the optimistic, American spirit, something about which I wrote about recently on The Last Trombone. Visit the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra website for ticket information and details about both concerts.