Alexander Arutunian

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The New York Times
August 1, 2000, Tuesday, Late Edition - Final
A Natural for Outdoors (and Street Corners)
By ALLAN KOZINN

"Playing outdoors really isn't a problem in terms of the instrument," said Philip Smith, the principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic, who is to play the Arutunian Trumpet Concerto with the orchestra tonight in Central Park and also at parks in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Westchester this week. Unlike a string player, who might worry about the effect of heat and humidity on his instrument's intonation, Mr. Smith has no concern about the effect of the weather on his gleaming brass trumpet. What he worries about is his lip.

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In his solo appearances with the Philharmonic, Mr. Smith has played mostly contemporary works. This week he is playing Alexander Arutunian's Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra, a virtuoso showpiece composed in 1949.

Mr. Arutunian's Trumpet Concerto is now so entrenched in the instrument's repertory that, Mr. Smith says, students use it frequently as an audition piece at Juilliard. "One of the reasons this piece has become so popular among trumpet players," Mr. Smith said of the concerto, "is just that it's a flashy piece. It has a very Gypsyish, Russian, Armenian kind of sound, with very soulful, beautiful melodies and plenty of exciting rapid-tonguing kind of things."

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Discography (selected)

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