Philip Smith, one of the world’s great trumpet players has announced that he is to retire from his position as the principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra
He will leave the position he has held with such distinction over the past 36 years at the end of the 2013/14 season to become the William F. and Pamela P. Prokasy Professor in the Arts at the University of Georgia’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music.
In addition to his role at the University, it has been confirmed that he will continue to perform as soloist and in ensembles, and will give master classes around the world.
He stated: "As I contemplate the generations of wonderful orchestra colleagues I’m privileged to call friends, the Music Directors under whom I have played, the many world-famous guest conductors and soloists who have shared our stage, and the behind-the-scenes staff who have moved this Society forward, I am simply overwhelmed with emotion, pride, and thankfulness."
He added: "My simple goal over these many years has been to give my best, using the gifts given to me by God, for the beauty of the universal language of music.
I am excited by this opportunity to be involved in the lives of young musicians, sharing all that I have experienced.
So it is with mixed emotions that I am announcing my retirement from the New York Philharmonic, but I also look forward with eager anticipation to a new and exciting time at the University of Georgia."
New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert stated: "For as long as I’ve known him and had the privilege of hearing his peerless trumpet playing, Phil Smith has represented the pinnacle of what we as musicians can aspire to.
Of course his command of the instrument and ability to deliver glorious performances night after night are legendary.
But it is his humility, deep humanity, and warmth as a person that have made him truly a model colleague: someone we all learn from on a daily basis, and who is a great inspiration both on stage and off.
I will always remember and appreciate the wonderful concerts we have shared, and of course wish Phil and his wife Sheila all the best as they enter this new chapter of their lives."
For as long as I’ve known him and had the privilege of hearing his peerless trumpet playing, Phil Smith has represented the pinnacle of what we as musicians can aspire toNew York Philharmonic, MD Alan Gilbert
Recognized as one of the pre-eminent trumpet performers and teachers in the world, Philip Smith was appointed Co-Principal Trumpet of the New York Philharmonic by then Music Director Zubin Mehta in 1978, before taking the Principal Trumpet position in 1988.
He has served under four Philharmonic Music Directors, including Kurt Masur, Lorin Maazel, and Alan Gilbert, as well as a host of world renowned conductors.
Millions of people
He has been featured as a soloist with the Philharmonic performing with conductors Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, Erich Leinsdorf, Leonard Bernstein, Neeme Järvi, Lorin Maazel, Alan Gilbert and Bramwell Tovey.
Apart from his many recordings and film music credits, his trumpet sound is heard by millions of Americans on the sound track for the NBC Sunday Night Football Theme, whilst in 2005 he was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music and in 2006 was presented with the International Trumpet Guild Honorary Award.