Joseph Alessi's (Trombone ’81) WRTI Interview

The esteemed Curtis alumnus and principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic discusses the U.S. premiere of Chick Corea's final work, 'Concerto for Trombone,' at the new David Geffen Hall

Acclaimed soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician Joseph Alessi (Trombone ’81), principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic since 1985, recently spoke with Nate Chinen of WRTI about his upcoming performances (May 25—27) of Chick Corea’s Concerto for Trombone, written especially for him—the final completed work by the late revered jazz composer, pianist, and bandleader before he died in 2021. This “vibrant and stylistically varied” piece received its world premiere with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra in 2021. It was performed again in July 2022 with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, and this weekend’s presentation at the new David Geffen Hall in Lincoln Center will be the concerto’s U.S. premiere under the baton of Marin Alsop.

“Up until this point, I’ve been the caretaker of the performances,” he says. “The musical mind of Chick Corea will live on forever, and so will his spirit. So to be part of this and to join classical music with jazz through this composition—it’s an unbelievable opportunity for me, but a chance to honor him as well.”

One of the world’s preeminent brass players, Mr. Alessi spent four seasons as second trombone of The Philadelphia Orchestra while studying at Curtis before his appointment with the New York Philharmonic. Mr. Chinen’s in-depth feature explores Mr. Alessi’s artistic journey, influences, and musical lineage while delving into the inspiration and composition of this remarkable piece.

Read the WRTI article HERE. Learn more about “Joseph Alessi Plays Chick Correa” HERE.

Photos of Mr. Alessi, courtesy of the artist and WRTI.

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