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 150 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, 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, Greece, 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. His trombone is the Bollinger Model bass trombone by the S.E. Shires Company of Holliston, MA, a trombone he helped design.
Bollinger’s recordings include a solo disc, Fancy Free; two discs with his trombone quartet, Four of a Kind; a Gabrieli disc with the Canadian Brass; and a premiere recording of the Concerto by Jay Krush with the Temple University Wind Ensemble. 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.
An active teacher, Bollinger is on the faculties of the Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School and Temple University. In addition to teaching lessons, he coaches chamber music and conducts many classes and sectional rehearsals. He has spent recent summers performing and teaching at the National Orchestral Institute, the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Eastern Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Bravo! Vail Music Festival, Classical Tahoe, the New York State Summer School for the Arts, the Luzerne Music Center and the Bar Harbor Brass Week. Bollinger was born in Rochester, PA, and is a 1986 graduate of the Curtis Institute, where he studied with Charles Vernon and Glenn Dodson.
Bollinger has been involved in backstage administration work at The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Curtis Institute. At the Orchestra he has negotiated union contracts and chaired the committee that selected Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. He is a former member of the board of trustees at Curtis and has served on many faculty committees.
Biography courtesy of The Philadelphia Orchestra
Photo: Jessica Griffin