All season long, the LA Philharmonic has been on Principal Trumpet Watch. Current principal, Donald Green, retires at the end of this Hollywood Bowl season. The LA Phil actually offered the position to Thomas Hooten, principal trumpet of the Atlanta Symphony, and probably the most highly sought after orchestral trumpeter in the world. But the question for much of the past season was, would Hooten accept? (At the end of the 2010-2011 season, Atlanta Symphony music director Robert Spano basically gave Hooten a $10,000 bonus that would, he hoped, entice Hooten to stay.)
The LA Phil countered by awarding Hooten several guest principal stints here last season, including many of the orchestra’s most high-profile concerts: the season-opening gala; Bruckner 9 with Sir Simon Rattle; and The Mahler Project. Hooten even traveled with the LA Phil on its trip to Caracas, Venezuela, where I got a chance to meet him and chat a bit (off-the-record).
That was February. By then it seemed a foregone conclusion that Hooten would accept the LA Phil’s offer to become the next principal here. Now–although there has been no official announcement from the LA Phil–social media confirms Hooten will be the orchestra’s new principal.
This is a major coup for the LA Phil. As my good friend at All is Yar has pointed out, Hooten is an impressive talent with technique in reserve. As someone who has attended nearly all of Hooten’s guest appearances with the LA Phil, I can say with confidence this is an appointment to be very excited about. (Just like Whitney Crockett‘s appointment as principal bassoon was a couple of years ago.)
I wonder how much the current financial and managerial mayhem at the Atlanta Symphony had to do with Hooten’s decision to accept the gig here in LA?
Congratulations, Thomas Hooten. We’re looking forward to your tenure with the LA Philharmonic which, after the season-opening gala, begins with The Rite of Spring later this month.