Two longtime CSO members have retired

Thu Jul 02, 2020 at 12:40 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

J. Lawrie Bloom gave the world premiere of Nicolas Bacri’s Ophelia’s Tears in February. Photo: Todd Rosenberg

*Two Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians have retired

J. Lawrie Bloom, bass clarinetist, retired at the end of the scheduled 2019-20 season. A stalwart member of the clarinet section for four decades, Bloom joined the orchestra in 1980. He soloed most recently in the U.S. premiere of Thea Musgrave’s Autumn Sonata in 2011 and the world premiere of Nicolas Bacri’s Ophelia’s Tears this past February.

Paul Phillips Jr. also retired last month. A longtime member of the CSO first violin section, Phillips joined the CSO in 1980 as well.

Both musicians will be presented with the Theodore Thomas Medallion for Distinguished Service at a future date.

*In other CSO news, Cristina Rocca will be leaving the CSO to take up a new post in November as artistic director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Bologna native joined the CSO in 2015 as vice president of artistic planning. Under Riccardo Muti, the CSO remains the most conservatively programmed of top American orchestras, but Rocca deserves some credit for nudging the CSO toward more commissions and premieres, including the excellent Bacri concerto referenced above.

The CSO did not indicate whether they would hire a successor or eliminate the position.

UPDATE: A CSO spokeswoman said July 6 that the artistic planning position would be retained.

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