Posted Online: Feb. 02, 2011, 7:04 pm

Back with a flourish: E.M. native solos with QC Symphony

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By Jonathan Turner,

East Moline native Gary Bordner will play solo trumpet this weekend with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra.
This weekend's trumpet soloist with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra has strong ties to both the Quad-Cities and QCSO music director Mark Russell Smith.

Gary Bordner, a 57-year-oldEast Moline native and Augustana College alumnus, will make his solo debut with the orchestra, performing the Concerto for Trumpet and Oboe by Johann Wilhelm Hertel (1727-1789) and the J.S. Bach Cantata No. 51.

"It's very meaningful," Mr. Bordner, principal trumpet for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and aUnited Township High School graduate, said recently. "There are a lot of people that made it possible for me to pursue my interest in music -- my parents first and foremost.

"For me to be able to come back and do this, I think, is kind of a personal way I can say 'thank you' to my mom," he said. "The (Quad City) Youth Symphony was a big part of my musical development. So was the Quad City Symphony. It's just special to be able to come back. It's an honor."

Mr. Bordner -- whose father played trumpet, and his mother, piano -- has played the horn since sixth grade. In college, he was the soloist for "The Trumpet Shall Sound" in "Messiah" at Augustana, and he played for two years with the QCSO.

He earned his master's in trumpet performance at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. "Eastman was phenomenal, just a wonderful experience and opportunity that I had," Mr. Bordner said.

After teaching trumpet a few years at theUniversity of North Dakota, Grand Forks, he joined the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, with its famous music director, Pinchas Zukerman, in 1980. The chamber orchestra has about 34 players and just two trumpets, Mr. Bordner said.

"We did lot of touring internationally," he said. "It was just a kick -- it still is, in an orchestra where you're backing up soloists that are internationally sought after."

Mr. Bordner has been principal trumpet since 1980 and has appeared often as soloist with SPCO, including performances of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 at New York's Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Ravinia Festival.

He is a featured soloist on SPCO recordings of Copland's "Quiet City" and the Shostakovich First Piano Concerto on the Teldec label, and he has played on Minnesota Public Radio's "Saint Paul Sunday" radio program.

Mr. Bordner performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood in 1998 and played with the orchestra in 2001 and 2002 as assistant principal trumpet. He served as principal trumpet at San Diego's Mainly Mozart Festival for several summers.

"It's always fun to go to Carnegie Hall -- it's fun to play in the major halls," Mr. Bordner said. "I have played in Vienna, Amsterdam; it's just very rewarding. The hall imparts a dimension to the sound that you can't get in just a regular room. It's great."

QCSO conductor Mark Russell Smith hasled the SPCO in concert, and is director of new music projects for the orchestra. He's also director of orchestral studies at the University of Minnesota, where Mr. Bordner teaches trumpet.

"He's wonderful, fantastic, very gifted," Mr. Bordner said of Mr. Smith.

Mr. Bordner's younger daughter performed last year with the QCSO while she was a student at the University of Minnesota. She's now a graduate student in violin performance at the University of Michigan. His other daughter is a nurse innorthern Minnesota.

Mr. Bordner does not solo much with larger orchestras. This weekend's Baroque double concerto is "morethe type of role I'm more used to," he said. With the chamber orchestra, he doesn't play majorsymphonic literature.

The big work on this weekend's program is the QCSO premiere of Mozart's 1791 Requiem, left unfinished at the composer's death at age 35 and completed by one of his students. The orchestra will bejoined by vocal soloists and 190 singers from the Handel Oratorio Society and Quad City Choral Arts.

"It's in a way like 'Messiah' -- one of the pieces many people have been exposed to," said Jon Hurty, director of the Handel Oratorio Society, which last did the Requiem (famously featured in the film "Amadeus") in 2005 at Augustana. "The music is just fantastic stuff."

If you go

-- What: Quad City Symphony Orchestra
-- When: 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.
-- Where: Adler Theatre, 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport, on Saturday; Centennial Hall, 3703 7th Ave., Rock Island, on Sunday.
-- Tickets: Start at $12 for adults, $7 for students, at the QCSO box office, 327 Brady St., Davenport; at (800) 745-3000; and at, all Ticketmaster outlets, and at the door. The RiverCenter is also offering an elegant buffet-style dinner before the Saturday concert for $28 per person. The dinner begins at 6 p.m. and will include a gourmet salad bar, chef-carved meats, and desserts.