The New York Philharmonic

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George Curran became the Bass Trombone of the New York Philharmonic in June 2013 after serving in that role on an acting basis with the Orchestra during the 2012–13 season. Previously, he was a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for six years and a fellow with the New World Symphony. He has also performed with The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the San Francisco, Cincinnati, and Detroit symphony orchestras.

Curran has participated in several recording projects, beginning with an Atlanta Trombone Project recording titled Roadwork. This resulted in the formation of the Southeast Trombone Symposium, an annual weeklong summer workshop at Columbus State University, which has become one of the most important trombone workshops in the United States. He was featured on two subsequent STS recordings titled A Beautiful Noise and Legacy. In 2017 Curran released a full-length solo CD titled Vital Signs, which contains several premiere recordings. He has performed recitals at the International Trombone Festival, Slide Factory, Arctic Trombone Festival, and the Association of Spanish Trombonists. Twice he was a soloist and judge at the Jeju International Wind Ensemble Festival in South Korea. He has also performed concertos with the US Army Band, US Air Force Band, and many college ensembles.

A native of Farmington Hills, Michigan, George Curran received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in performance from the University of Cincinnati College–Conservatory of Music. His principal teachers have included John Rojak and Peter Norton.

“I had prepared to be an engineer throughout high school, but when I got to college I could not see myself happy without music.”

Q&A with George Curran

THE FACTS: Born in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Bachelor’s in music education, Central Michigan University; master of music, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Prior to the Philharmonic: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and fellow with the New World Symphony. At the Philharmonic: Joined June 2013. Current teaching posts: Rutgers University and Montclair State University. Most recent recording: Soloist on A Beautiful Noise, featuring the Columbus State University Trombone Choir.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN? I had prepared to be an engineer throughout high school, but when I got to college I could not see myself happy without music. I found my focus much later than others, finally committing to performance my senior year of college. I felt that being a musician had two great life qualities: you could be proud of what you do for others, and the work itself brings you joy.

HOW DID YOU CHOOSE TROMBONE? I played the euphonium (also known as the baritone horn) until switching to trombone when I was 22, which is really late to switch. I loved the nobility and power of the trombone section in an orchestra, but felt I had missed my chance. Finally, I knew that I would regret never trying my hand seriously at the trombone, so I applied to grad school after playing trombone for about a year. After many years of hard work, it seems like I made the right decision!

MOST INSPIRING COMPOSERS: I could listen to Mahler or Wagner all day, but Mozart had a way of writing for trombones that was purely sublime.

YOU HELPED FORM THE SOUTHEAST TROMBONE SYMPOSIUM, A SUMMER WORKSHOP AT COLUMBUS STATE UNIVERSITY (CSU) WHERE COLLEGE STUDENTS ARE COACHED BY ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA TROMBONISTS: Before we both joined the Philharmonic, trombonist Colin Williams and I were in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra together for several years. We had a relatively new section and used a CD project, Roadwork, to help solidify it. Roadwork was recorded at CSU and we started a week-long workshop there to teach and grow the trombone community in the Southeast.

WHAT ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW? When not studying musical literature or something that parallels my studies, such as world or art history, I enjoy the creativity and diversion of sci-fi. It also taps into my interest in science and philosophy. Right now I am working my way through the many books of Frank Herbert’s classic Dune series.

As of November 2015
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