Philharmonic nabs principal trumpet from Chicago Symphony

Thu May 05, 2016 at 3:22 pm


Christopher Martin, the highly esteemed principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, is coming to New York.

Martin will join the New York Philharmonic as principal trumpet in September, the Philharmonic announced Thursday. The Georgia native succeeds Phillip Smith, who retired from the Philharmonic in 2014 after 36 seasons as principal trumpet.

Martin’s CSO departure has been widely known in Chicago and New York for months. As usual in these instances, the CSO made no comment, apart from noting that Martin’s 2016-17 roster absence is officially a one-year leave.

CSO principal trumpet for 11 seasons, Martin is the latest in a string of principal wind players who have left the CSO during the tenure of Riccardo Muti. Also departing the orchestra in recent years have been flutist Mathieu Defour (who went to the Berlin Philharmonic) oboist Eugene Izotov (San Francisco Symphony), and bassoonist David McGill (retirement).

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune last month, Muti was unconcerned about Martin’s impending leave saying, “He is very close to the Chicago Symphony but he wants another experience.” More broadly on the issue of musicians departing the CSO, the conductor was philosophical, stating that “change is natural in symphony orchestras” and that “no player is indispensable in this orchestra.”

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