Trumpets of two US orchs turn out for stricken colleague

Ryan Anthony, principal trumpet of the Dallas Symphony (and formerly of Canadian Brass), is recovering from a second stem cell transplant.

Yesterday, Ryan tells us, ‘the entire trumpet section of BOTH Dallas Symphony and Fort Worth Symphony, SMU Trumpet studio both current and past students showed up to my house to play ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’.
There are some great people out there.’

Ryan has started CANCER BLOWS, a non-profit that raises funds for multiple myeloma research by presenting brass concerts.

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  • Ryan Anthony is a treasure. In a day when the trend of orchestral trumpet playing is to play reserved and not take risks (think Chris Martin, David Bilger), Ryan is a powerful countervailing force. No body plays those Principal Trumpet parts with the electricity and energy as he. I wish him well!

    • Ryan is a phenomenal and inspirational player. I don’t find it necessary, however, to bolster his cred on the backs of the other fine players you named. Winning a principal job in a major symphony is no small feat. Both the legitimate competition and the politics make these few hallowed spots very difficult to attain. I am a professional orchestral trumpet player and there are obviously some players whose ability I prefer over that of others. Still, I have the utmost respect for someone who holds down a principal position in a major orchestra, and both Chris and David have done that for a long time.

      • I respect your comment but I am only stating facts about the trend of orchestral trumpet playing over the last couple decades. Look at the big name trumpet players of, say, 1985 (Herseth, Fischtal, Adelstein, Vosburgh, Stevens, Kaderabek, Schlueter, Hendrickson, etc) and compare their playing style of the big ones of today (Martin, Bilger, Laureano, Inoyue, Hooten). It is an obvious change in trumpet tone concept. The ones mentioned from the 80s each had a distinctive sound that was unlike anyone else. The ones mentioned from today have sounds that are interchangeable for the most part. Their are some exceptions today like Ryan Anthony, Rolfs, Sachs, and perhaps Hughes, but the trend is obvious–we are producing perfect robots.

        • I understand your point and agree with it to some extent. The trend toward perfectionism over personality is seen (or heard) throughout the orchestra. It is increasingly difficult to discern the sound of one American orchestra from another. Gone are the unique sounds of Voisin, Ghitalla, and Vacchiano. Schlueter may have been a bit too unique at times, but he could do some wonderful things. Philip Collins was also an exciting player, and Phil Smith would be on any Mt. Rushmore of principal trumpets. Playing now seems to generally be more ‘safe.’ Perhaps this is due to the fact that everything gets recorded. In some ways I’m surprised that brass playing has become more homogeneous. Music directors spend far less time with their orchestras than in past generations and I would think the revolving door on the podium would result in more risk-taking from principals.

          • Yes, it is a trend prevalent throughout the orchestra. I’m happy you brought up Phil Collins. He had perhaps the most lyrical and singing trumpet tone I have ever heard. The way he used vibrato was really special and uniquely beautiful. James Thompson had some of that magic in his tone as well. Schlueter, as you say, could do some things no body else could do (one guy who actually could play louder than Herseth) but he often stuck out like a sore thumb and it got so bad at one point that Ozawa wanted him gone.

          • I was studying in Boston at the time Ozawa and Schlueter were at loggerheads. That was truly an ugly period for the BSO. Ozawa came off looking impotent and Schlueter came off looking petulant. It really was sad. Charlie’s arrival in Boston was widely heralded but the welcome mat was rolled up quickly. It seemed to coincide with his switch to Monette trumpets IMHO.

        • Your mention of Adolph Herseth reminds me of a story (which I hope I do not butcher) that he told, perhaps on WFMT radio. Stokowski had come to Chicago to guest conduct and at intermission he sought out Herseth and asked him if he had changed trumpets or had work done on his trumpet because the upper partials sounded so different from the last time he had worked with him, which was years earlier. And as it happened Herseth had had some major work done on his instrument. He was amazed at Stokowski’s ear, and memory. He himself had not noticed any great difference.

          Years ago I played in a midwestern “semi professional” orchestra and Herseth was one of the many CSO principals who came to solo with us (Hummel Concerto). At every opportunity he’d come over to the violin section and start just chatting – what he would have been playing with the CSO had he not taken the concert off to appear with us, what their next recording with Solti was going to be, recent tours. What an artist he was.

    • Mahler 7, 5, 3, Alpine Symphony…just playing principal on this stuff involves risk. Give them their due. One can only wish Ryan Anthony a quick return to the job he does so well.

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