Peter Stumpf is not the only Los Angeles Philharmonic principal taking next year off: Donald Green, the orchestra’s Principal Trumpet, will begin a sabbatical at the end of this summer’s Hollywood Bowl season before returning to the orchestra next summer, and then retiring. In anticipation of Mr. Green’s retirement, the orchestra will be holding auditions for his replacement in July. The audition list is daunting.
The eventual winner will be following in some serious footsteps.
- Green joined the orchestra in 1982 as Associate Principal, eventually being promoted to Principal in 2001 after a two year search that saw the likes of such distinguished trumpeters as John Wallace (current head of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, former Principal Trumpet of the Philharmonia and the London Sinfonietta), and James Thompson (former Principal Trumpet of the Atlanta Symphony and Montreal Symphony), along with other younger players such as Jack Sutte, sitting in as guest principal. Green previously served as Principal of the Detroit Symphony from 1975 to 1982, and before that he had been Associate Principal Trumpet in the Houston Symphony, Second Trumpet in the Seattle Symphony, and Assistant Principal Trumpet in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Green has had notable solos on a number of the LA Phil’s recordings, including: the posthorn solo in the Mahler 3rd Symphony (Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting); the cornet obligato in the Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique second movement and the third movement of City Noir by John Adams, both under Gustavo Dudamel (BTW: it is worth noting that the audition list for the new Principal includes the solo work in City Noir).
- When Green was promoted to Principal, he took over the position from the legendary Thomas Stevens — under whom Green studied at USC.
- Prior to Green joining the orchestra as Associate Principal, the Los Angeles Philharmonic had two Principal Trumpets: Stevens and Robert DiVall. DiVall was featured on the posthorn solo in the Los Angeles Philharmonic recording of the Mahler 3rd conducted by Zubin Mehta, and can also be heard on countless movie and television soundtracks.
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Photo: courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association