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Blair Bollinger is the bass trombonist of The Philadelphia Orchestra, where his chair is endowed by Drs. Bong and Mi Wha Lee. He joined the Orchestra in 1986 at the invitation of then Music Director Riccardo Muti and enjoys the full Orchestra schedule of more than 160 concerts each year along with many recordings and international tours, spanning the tenures of Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Christoph Eschenbach, Charles Dutoit, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
As a soloist, Mr. Bollinger has performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the National Symphony of Taiwan, and others. He has performed recitals and given master classes in Brazil, Chile, China, Holland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Poland, Taiwan, and throughout the United States. As a student he won the 1986 Philadelphia Orchestra Senior Student Competition (now the Albert M. Greenfield Competition) and remains the only trombonist to win this Competition since it began in 1934, as well as the only bass trombone soloist ever with The Philadelphia Orchestra. In March 2007 he performed the world premiere of the Bass Trombone Concerto written for him by Philadelphia composer Jay Krush with the United States Army Orchestra at the Eastern Trombone Workshop. His trombone is the Bollinger Model bass trombone by the S.E. Shires Company of Hopedale, MA, a trombone he helped design.
Mr. Bollinger’s recordings include a solo disc, Fancy Free, for d’Note Records, hailed by American Record Guide as “The recording I’ve been waiting for … an amazing display of Bollinger’s virtuoso skills.” Other recordings are two discs with his trombone quartet, Four of a Kind; a Gabrieli disc with the Canadian Brass; and the Krush Concerto with the Temple University Wind Ensemble. With Four of a Kind Mr. Bollinger has toured Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the United States. An active arranger, his arrangements of music for various string and brass ensembles are published by Alphonse Leduc in Paris, Ensemble Publications in New York, and Southern Music in Texas.
Mr. Bollinger is the founding music director of the Bar Harbor Brass Week in Maine, where he conducts, performs, and teaches each summer. He is a frequent guest conductor with the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, the Delaware County Symphony, the Atlantic Brass Band and other orchestras in the Philadelphia area.
A 1986 graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Mr. Bollinger studied with Charles Vernon and Glenn Dodson. Mr. Bollinger is now on the faculties of Curtis and Temple University. In addition to teaching lessons, he also conducts many classes and sectional rehearsals at Curtis, Temple, and with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. He has spent recent summers performing and teaching at the Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming, the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina, the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, the Bravo! Vail music festival in Colorado, the New York State Summer School for the Arts and Luzerne Music Center in New York, Bar Harbor Brass Week in Maine, and the Lindenbaum Music Festival in Seoul, Korea.
Mr. Bollinger is also very active in backstage administration work at The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Curtis Institute. At the Orchestra he has negotiated union contracts, served on marketing and education committees, and chaired the committee that selected Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees at Curtis and has served on many faculty and Board committees.
Photo: Jessica Griffin