Appointments / Auditions & Appointments / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical

A quick update regarding LA Phil’s latest Principal Trombone search

John Sipher

I made the following update to my original post on the subject from this past Saturday, but in the spirit of providing some additional information . . .

I’ve recently been told that at this point:

  • John Sipher is the only remaining candidate for the open position of Principal Trombone with the Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • His trial will last two weeks, enabling the orchestra and him to explore a broader range of repertoire together

No word on exactly which two weeks he’ll be doing his trial, but they will likely be during Gustavo Dudamel’s upcoming three-week residency.  Here are those programs:

  • Nov 20-23 (Cameron Carpenter, organ):  Barber —Toccata Festiva; Hartke — Symphony No 4 (world premiere); Saint-Saëns — Symphony No. 3, Organ
  • Nov 28-30 (Gautier Capuçon, cello):  Reger — Four Tone Poems after Arnold Böcklin; Haydn — Cello Concerto in D; Schubert — Symphony No. 6
  • Dec 4-7:  Salonen — Helix; Rachmaninoff — Isle of the Dead; Mussorgsky — Pictures at an Exhibition (orch:  Ravel)

Astute observers have already figured out that the Reger/Haydn/Schubert program requires no trombones, so if I were a betting man (and I am) who happened to be interested in seeing Mr. Sipher perform with the LA Phil (me again), I’d probably make plans for the other two programs.

Mr. Sipher became Principal Trombone of the Richmond Symphony earlier this year.  Prior to that, he held the same position with the Syracuse Symphony and the Virginia Symphony.  He did his undergraduate work at James Madison University, where he received a degree in music education with a minor in Jazz Studies, and followed that up with a Master’s degree in trombone performance from Yale University.  He was also a New World Symphony fellow.

On his website, he talks about playing in ska bands in high school “culminating in a brief stint on the Van’s Warped Tour” and lists among his career highlights  the chance to play with the rock band CAKE in 2009 — both of which, frankly, makes me root for the guy on general principles.  Good luck to him during his trial weeks.

BTW:  For those you of you unfamiliar with CAKE’s oeuvre, I’d say “Never There” and “The Distance” are my favorite songs, but “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” is my favorite video . . .



Photo credit:  courtesy of

4 thoughts on “A quick update regarding LA Phil’s latest Principal Trombone search

  1. Did Mr. Sipher’s audition happen? I was at the concert on December 7th and he was not there. Is there any update on the search for a new principal trombone?


    • Actually, Mr. Sipher was there playing guest principal trombone at the Dec 7th (Sun) matinee. No word yet on whether or not he was offered the position. Will post an update as soon as I know and can share.


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