Bad to the Bones

Bad to the Bones
February 2, 2020 paperlesslion

Four remarkable trombonists come together for one program when Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings presents Bad to the Bones Friday. Using live performance and mixed media to explore the capabilities of the instrument, the concert stars Christopher Hernacki, trombone; David Jackson, trombone; Garth Simmons, trombone; and Kenneth Thompkins, trombone; the DCWS concert performance begins at 7:30 p.m. on March 6 at Hagopian World of Rugs. The musicians will take center stage in works ranging from one to four trombones.

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On the Artists

Christopher Hernacki is an international award winning freelance musician and has served as the bass trombonist of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Silicon Valley, the Phoenix Symphony, and the San Antonio Symphony. A Los Angeles native, Hernacki currently serves on the faculty of Idyllwild Arts’ Summer Music Program and as a Lecturer in Music at Eastern Michigan University

David Jackson, a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician, has performed with the Chicago Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony, the New World Symphony, the Cabrillo Music Festival Orchestra and the Spoleto, Italy Festival Orchestra. Jackson is Professor of Trombone at the University of Michigan.

Garth Simmons is the Principal Trombonist with the Toledo Symphony. He began playing trombone at age nine in his hometown of Billings, Montana. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and continued his studies at the Aspen Festival and at the Eastman School of Music.

Kenneth Thompkins was appointed Principal Trombone of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra by Neeme Järvi in 1997. Prior to this appointment, he held positions in the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Florida Orchestra and performed with the New World Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. A former participant in the Detroit Symphony’s African American Fellowship Program, he has been a mentor to several Orchestra Fellows over the years. He received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, where he studied with the late Frank Crisafulli of the Chicago Symphony, and a Master of Music degree from Temple University, where he studied with Eric Carlson of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Details from DCWS:

“Bad to the Bones” uses mixed-media to explore the capabilities of the trombone.

The Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings performance features four musicians, who, individually, have gained national recognition for their exceptional trombone playing: Christopher Hernacki, David Jackson, Garth Simmons and Kenneth Thompkins.

“By bringing together these musicians, and offering them free reign to create a program they are excited about, we are giving the audience an innovative and dynamic performance that will stretch their perception of what a chamber concert can be,” said Maury Okun, DCWS president.

Jackson will play a solo titled “I was like WOW.” The piece, created by Jacob ter Veldhuis. It uses audio recordings of two soldiers telling their stories, in graphic detail, of how they were injured. The music of the trombone and the voices of the soldiers are a powerful counterpart to each other, depicting a vivid, unsettling experience. This piece may be triggering for some individuals.

The performance will also include “Conversation for Tenor and Bass Trombone,” a duet performed by Simmons and Hernacki, designed to create a dialogue between the two musicians. Composed by Charles Small, the piece replicates conversation between two neighbors in their backyards over a picket fence.

The night will consist of solo, duo, trio and quartet arrangements. From classics such as Bach to contemporary pieces, this performance is an intimate look at the diversity of brass instrumentation.