Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra Principal Clarinet Chair

Symphony #9 by Gustav Mahler, recorded by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sir Georg Solti conducting.

I will never forget the 1982 April night in Evanston when the phone rang and the voice said “Hi, Kathy, this is Larry Combs. Are you a member of the Union?” I answered that I could be by 9 a.m. the next morning. I was working on my master’s degree in clarinet performance at Northwestern University, and Larry, the principal of the CSO, knew my work from Civic Orchestra, in which I had been playing in since September of 1981. I had already done the paperwork to join the Chicago Musicians Union, and being asked if I wanted to play third clarinet on Mahler 9 under Solti was reason to take an early morning “el” downtown and finish the process. It was a fabulous experience! Solti’s eagle-eye, no-nonsense demeanor got wonderful results. I”ll also never forget Larry’s comment at the break of the first rehearsal — “See how much fun it is to play in a great orchestra?” And it was a thrill – – the rehearsals, the pension fund concert, and the recording. If you know when to listen, you can hear one trill by the third clarinet on the recording.



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