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Blair Bollinger - Behind the Scenes

December 03, 2014

Blair Bollinger Bass Trombone

Each month in the Orchestra’s Playbill, we feature one musician in a question-and-answer segment. Below is that feature in its entirety.


Where were you born?
I was born in Rochester, PA.

What piece of music could you play over and over again? Mendelssohn’s “Reformation” Symphony.
Tell us about your instrument. I play the Shires/Bollinger Model bass trombone made by the S.E. Shires Company of Hopedale, MA. I helped design the instrument.

What’s in your instrument case? Trombone, oils, tools, spare parts.
If you could ask one composer one question what would it be? For Franz Schubert: Is that an accent or a diminuendo at the end of your “Great” C-major Symphony?
What piece of music never fails to move you? Mahler’s Second Symphony. The resurrection chorale is always thrilling.

When did you join the Orchestra? In 1986, right after graduating from the Curtis Institute of Music.

Do you play any other instruments? Not in public!

What’s your favorite type of food? Anything on the grill.

Do you speak any other languages? I can get by in German and order a beer in several others.

Do you have any hobbies? Genealogy. Several branches of the family tree were in PA since the early 1700s.
What’s the last recording you purchased? CD or download? Four Sketches by Anthony Plog played by the Center City Brass Quintet. Download.

Do you have a favorite movie?

Being There. It reminds us that sometimes we see what we want to see rather than seeing what is really there.
What’s on your iPod? Lots of brass music!
When was the first time you heard The Philadelphia Orchestra? In 1981 when I arrived at Curtis; Ormandy conducted Beethoven’s Ninth.
Other than Verizon Hall, where is your favorite place to perform? Suntory Hall in Tokyo.

 Photo by Paul Arnold

Read other "Musicians Behind the Scenes" Playbill features.