Those who celebrate their golden anniversary at a company have usually gone through a long chain of promotions -- unlike trumpeter Adolph Herseth, who was accepted at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the summer of 1948. However, if he has had the same rank for the past 50 years, there is a special reason behind it -- conductor Arthur Rodzinsky hired him right away as principal trumpeter. After his spectacular start, he proved himself under the baton of conductors like Bruno Walter, Fritz Reiner, Sir Georg Solti, and Daniel Barenboim. He has a high reputation in the orchestra world. His rise without promotion parallels the growth of American orchestras. When Herseth's career began, even top orchestras like the one in Chicago paid low wages, and the repertory consisted almost exclusively of European music. Today, American orchestras are set worldwide standards with their quality, and when they go on international tours they tend to showcase works by contemporary American composers. However, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will make Mahler's Fifth Symphony their signature piece when they come to Europe this fall, with stops in Baden-Baden (September 9) and Munich (September 14). Right at the beginning, Mahler's Fifth gives its star trumpeter a chance to show off his skills. Georg Hirsch spoke with Adolph Herseth.
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