Playing the trumpet is difficult. From my memory of high school band, trumpeting requires an immense amount of strength from your fingers, lips and lungs. To create any sound, you have to push all your breath out from your diaphragm while squeezing your lips tightly shut—which is super tiring and feels extremely unproductive. Plus, you’re only given four keys to create every pitch of all 12 notes. In short, it requires a lot of hard work, and a fair amount of instrument maintenance. However, if playing the trumpet is difficult, being a good trumpeter is nearly implausible. And that’s what makes The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Jeffrey Curnow a star.
Curnow, the Associate Principal Trumpeter for the orchestra, is one of just four trumpets in the entire philharmonic. He began his musical career studying at Temple University, and later at Wichita State University for graduate studies. After teaching at Wichita and playing in its orchestra, Curnow went on to perform in the Chicago Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony and the National Symphony; and has appeared on both the Today show and Good Morning America. In 1995, Curnow was appointed Principal Trumpet of the Dallas Symphony. Six years later, he joined the prestigious Philadelphia Orchestra, bringing him to Saratoga Springs every summer since.
This summer, the orchestra will be performing a full schedule, featuring everything from Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring to the soundtrack of Disney-Pixar’s Up. Since Curnow’s wife, Miyo, is also a member of the orchestra, summers in Saratoga have also become a family tradition separate from work. The Curnows and their two daughters have their routine down to a science: Upon arriving in Saratoga, they go straight to Congress Park, where Curnow’s daughters love drinking the Hathorn Spring’s water and riding on the carousel; then, they head to Hattie’s for their first meal, followed by ice cream at Stewart’s. They tend to spend a couple of afternoons at Saratoga Race Course throughout the summer, and always fit in a trip to Six Flags in Lake George.
Sounds good to me! Now, if only I’d stayed in high school band…