“This piece is really going to be a hit!” That’s the consensus of the famed low brass section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra about the upcoming world premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon’s latest concerto.
Ahead of the work’s debut performances Feb. 1-3 under Riccardo Muti, the four soloists — Jay Friedman, principal trombone; Michael Mulcahy, trombone; Gene Pokorny, principal tuba, and Charles Vernon, bass trombone — sat down for this video interview to discuss Higdon’s Low Brass Concerto.
Mulcahy notes that the CSO has a tradition of premiering new works for brass, in part because “the section was so conspicuously good, it was the orchestra’s main calling card for decades.”
Pokorny applauds the work for its sense of rhythm: “It has a syncopated beat that drives to the end.” And Vernon adds: “It has some really exciting moments.”
Most important, Friedman points out, the concerto has a great ending: “You don’t want the audience to say, is it over yet? There’ll be no doubt about it — and that’s a good thing.”