Two Solti players step down

Paul Phillips and Lawrie Bloom, both of whom joined the Chicago Symphony in 1980, will step down next month.

From the press release:

Paul Phillips, Jr. was appointed in 1980 (to the first violins) by music director Sir Georg Solti. Prior to his CSO appointment, he was a member of the Indianapolis and Detroit symphony orchestras, also performing as a member of the Indianapolis String Quartet. In addition to performing in the CSO, Phillips has also been a member of the Music of the Baroque.

 

Appointed in 1980 to play clarinet and bass clarinet by music director Sir Georg Solti, J. Lawrie Bloom holds the distinction of being the first bass clarinetist to solo with a major American orchestra. He has appeared with the CSO as soloist three times: in January 1995 performing Ian Krouse’s Concerto for Bass Clarinet and Large Orchestra with conductor James DePreist, in October 2011 performing the U.S. premiere of Thea Musgrave’s Autumn Sonata with conductor Susanna Mälkki, and most recently in February 2020 for the world premiere of Nicolas Bacri’s Ophelia’s Tears commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

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  • They are not “Solti players;” they are CSO members. Solti was part of the audition process (where I’m sure Solti had a major decisionmaking role, but not absolute authority, I imagine) but there was an audition committee involved extensively in both hires. And they are far from the last people who joined in the Solti era to be retiring.

    That said, nice they get a little shoutout here on SD. Maybe I should stop carping.

  • Paul and Lawrie are both true gentlemen.
    Two pleasant and genuine people that I always looked forward to being around.
    Congratulations on your retirement!!!

  • They both are CSO legends! Thank you for both of all these years!
    Btw, this also means that there’s two bass clarinet openings in Big Five orchestras (other is in Cleveland) + Met opera has not announcing permanent successor of James Ognibene in their bass clarinet chair

    • I’m curious as to why you feel J.F. should leave. Is he ‘long in the tooth’, in terms of his playing these days? I felt he was one of the more ‘musical’ ones from Solti’s powerful brass section (sometimes too powerful).

    • As to Jay Friedman, principal trombone of the CSO since the Reiner years, I have not personally heard any discernable reason that he should need to “retire”.

      That suggestion is an example of ageism at it’s very worst.

      And I hear very little that anyone in the CSO in particular is “Missing Barenboim” especially after his incredible successors Haitink and Muti!

      Get serious whomever you are.

  • I’m very interested that CSO hasn’t filled their associate principal trombone chair since James Gilbertson retired in 2011. Since then the four member trombone section has been trio and I don’t understand why.

    • My best guess is that they want to save $$ by hiring an extra/sub trombone player as needed as opposed to paying a salary to someone whose services are not often required. Could be the same reason they haven’t filled Mary Sauer’s position (keyboard) either.

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