Joseph Alessi was appointed Principal Trombone of the New York Philharmonic, The
Gurnee F. and Marjorie L. Hart Chair, in the spring of 1985. He began musical studies
in his native California with his father, Joseph Alessi, Sr., as a high school student
in San Rafael, California, and was a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony before
continuing his musical training at The Curtis Institute of Music. Prior to joining
the Philharmonic, Mr. Alessi was second trombone of The Philadelphia Orchestra for
four seasons, and principal trombone of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra for one
season. He has performed as guest principal trombonist with the London Symphony
Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, led by Pierre Boulez.
Mr. Alessi is an active soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. In April 1990
he made his New York Philharmonic solo debut, performing Creston’s Fantasy for Trombone,
and in 1992 premiered Christopher Rouse’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Trombone Concerto
with the Philharmonic, which commissioned the work for its 150th anniversary celebration.
He performed the World Premiere of Melinda Wagner’s Trombone Concerto, conducted
by Lorin Maazel in February 2007. In July 2013 he appeared with the Philharmonic
as soloist in Bramwell Tovey’s The Lincoln Tunnel Cabaret for Trombone and Orchestra,
written for Mr. Alessi, at Summertime Classics and at Bravo! Vail, both performances
conducted by the composer.     Read More
Mr. Alessi has been a guest soloist with the Lincoln, Colorado, Syracuse, Virginia,
Alabama, Santa Barbara, Puerto Rico, Hartford, and South Dakota symphony orchestras;
New Japan, Seoul, Hague, and Helsinki philharmonic orchestras; National Repertory
Orchestra; Orchestra of Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Sicily; Mannheim National
Theater Orchestra; and National Symphony of Taiwan. Mr. Alessi has also participated
in numerous festivals, including the Festivale Musica di Camera in Protogruaro,
Italy; Cabrillo Music Festival; Swiss Brass Week; and Lieksa Brass Week in Finland.
He was featured in the 1997 International Trombone Festival in Feldkirch, Austria,
and the International Meeting of Brass Instruments in Lille, France. He is a founding
member of the Summit Brass ensemble at the Rafael Mendez Brass Institute in Tempe,
Arizona. In 2002 Mr. Alessi was awarded an International Trombone Association Award
for his contributions to the world of trombone music and trombone playing.
Mr. Alessi was invited by the International Trombone Association to record a solo
disc of newly composed works, which was distributed to the Association’s membership
of 5,000 trombonists in early 1999 and is now available as Beyond the End of the
Century through Summit Records. His recording of George Crumb’s Starchild on the
Bridge record label, featuring Mr. Alessi as soloist, won a Grammy Award for 1999–2000.
Other recordings featuring Mr. Alessi are with the Canadian Brass (Sony Classical
and Philips Records). Further information about Mr. Alessi can be found on his website,
Steven Bryant (b. 1972) is an active American composer and conductor with a varied
catalog including works for orchestra, wind ensemble, electronics, and chamber music.
Bryant states in his own words, "I strive to write music that leaps off the stage
to grab you by the collar and pull you in. Whether through a relentless eruption
of energy, or the intensity of quiet contemplation, I want my music to give you
no choice, and no other desire, but to listen." In his Concerto for Trombone, which
he wrote specifically for our featured artist, Joe Alessi, he has accomplished his
goal. He nurtures Mr. Alessi's beautiful haunting tone in the melodic space of the
work while allowing the artist's virtuosic skill to be revealed in the faster more
energetic sections. The result is an undeniable success for a new concerto that
will stand the test of time for exceptional artists who will step up to the challenge.
Program notes compiled by Marcie Phelan.
John Harbison (b.1938) is among America's most prominent artistic figures. He has
received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Pulitzer Prize. Harbison
has composed music for most of this country's premiere musical institutions, including
the Metropolitan Opera , the Chicago Lyric Opera, the New York Philharmonic, and
the Chicago Symphony, just to name a few. His works include five string quartets,
six symphonies, a ballet, three operas, and numerous chamber and choral works. When
asked about his composition Rubies, Harbison replied, "Rubies is a version of Thelonious
Monk's Ruby, My Dear, which he composed while still in his teens. When I was invited
by the Seattle Symphony to make a short piece reflecting my first musical passions,
my thoughts were of Bach and Monk. Since I had recently made some Bach-like chorale
preludes, I chose to make a version of Monk's tune, first in a chamber-musical,
contrapuntal manner, then in the grand orchestral style I had always heard lurking
Eric Whitacre is an accomplished composer and major figure in contemporary music,
having received awards from ASCAP and the American Choral Directors Association,
and honored with a Grammy nomination in the contemporary classical composer category.
October was commissioned by the Nebraska Wind Consortium, consisting of more than
twenty-five high schools, colleges, and universities throughout the Midwest. The
work captures the essence and mood of a crisp October day, with its beautifully
natural harmonic language and flavor of the changing season. In the composer’s own
words, "The simple pastoral melodies and subsequent harmonies are inspired by the
great English Romantics (Vaughn Williams and Elgar), as I felt that this style was
also perfectly suited to capture the natural and pastoral soul of the season."
Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868) wrote the opera Semiramide in 1823. It was the final
Italian opera Rossini would write as after its completion he moved to Paris and
wrote his last operas in French. Rossini was one of the fastest composers at that
time, and composed the entire opera in only thirty-three days. By the late 1800's
the opera was almost unknown. There have been various revivals of it, though it
has not been performed very often. That can’t be said for the overture of the opera,
as it remains to this day a popular selection for many concert halls. Rossini was
one of the most popular composers of his day and his overtures remain crowd-pleasers.
The visceral excitement of a Rossini crescendo, and his gift for beautiful melody
will assure Rossini a place in many concert halls of the future.
Bruce Broughton (b. 1945) is a native of Los Angeles and has established a well-deserved
place for himself in the Hollywood film industry as one of its leading composers.
In addition to being awarded ten Emmys for his television works, he is most proud
of his Academy Award nomination for his film score for Silverado in 1985. A good
film score is one that helps advance the story and fills in an emotional dimension
beyond what the acting and other elements can convey. Silverado delivers a sweeping,
exhilarating soundtrack that pulses with classic Western flavor, yet has a distinctive
sound all its own.
E.V. Cupero (1877-1939) was an Italian-American composer, arranger, and cornetist,
best known for his "screamer" Honey Boys On Parade, which he composed for the traveling
band of George "Honey Boy" Evans. This march was first published in 1914 and is
a classic example of marches from this era and was very popular with American minstrels
and circuses. Marches known as "screamers" were particularly upbeat in tempo and
were intended to stir the circus audience into a frenzy. Screamers are a very demanding
type of music due to their extremely fast tempi and rhythms.
Danny Elfman (b. 1953) is one of today's most successful
creators of movie music and is also one of only a few who has managed to make the
transition from rock music to orchestral score composer. The Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated
writer has been working hard in the motion-picture arena since 1985 , when director
Tim Burton and star Paul Ruebens who were both fascinated by Elfman's playfully
macabre music for the cult rock band Oingo Boingo, called upon him to write the
music for Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. The Elfman-Burton collaboration continued with
five of Elfman's eight Grammy nominations coming for Burton films. Elfman also has
a more serious side as demonstrated by his scores for such dramas as Good Will Hunting,
Dolores Claiborne, and Men in Black to name just a few.