Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Mary Elizabeth Bowden performs with the SDSU Orchestra

Bowden’s West Coast Premiere features Vivian Fung’s Trumpet Concerto

Mary Elizabeth Bowden performs with the SDSU Orchestra

Mary Elizabeth Bowden

by Lizbeth Persons Price

September 24, 2021

Classical Trumpeter and Gold Medal Global Music Award Winner Mary Elizabeth Bowden will perform the West Coast premiere of a concerto composed for her by San Jose’s Vivian Fung with the San Diego State University Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. The concert will take place at Foothills United Methodist Church in La Mesa, CA, at 7:30 pm, and will be conducted by SDSU Director of Orchestras Michael Gerdes.

The October 9 program opens with Samuel Barber’s “Overture to School for Scandal,” followed by the Fung concerto and concluding with Florence Price’s “Symphony No. 1.”

Tickets range in price from $10 for students and seniors to $15 for adults and are available at

Committed to the performance of music by living composers, Gerdes co-commissioned this new work by Vivian Fung, and has commissioned or conducted works by Jocelyn Hagen, Richard Thompson, Liviu Marinescu, Brent Dutton, Joseph Waters, Jason Haney, Cory Hibbs, John Hilliard, Daniel Breedon, Russell Peterson, Tina Tallon, and Nkeiru Okoye, as well as performances of new works by student composers at SDSU each season.

Mary Elizabeth Bowden has built a rapidly ascendant career as a soloist, praised for her “splendid, brilliant” playing (Gramophone Magazine) and the clarity, purity, and power of her sound. The Opus Klassik Nominee and Yamaha Performing Artist has also worked to establish new repertoire for the trumpet through creative, collaborative commissioning projects, and award-winning albums. This November, she will record the concerto written for her by Juno Award-winner Fung with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. The recording will also feature works by Reena Esmail, Tyson Davis, Sarah Kirkland Snider and Clarice Assad. Her upcoming season includes more performances of the Fung concerto with the Santa Fe Symphony, Shenandoah Conservatory Orchestra and Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. Bowden is slated to perform Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s “American Concerto” with the Las Vegas Philharmonic in 2022. She will also make her Turkish debut performing Lowell Lieberman’s concerto with the Izmir State Symphonic Orchestra. Mary Elizabeth Bowden is the founder of brass ensemble Seraph Brass, with whom she will make several appearances in 2021-2022.

Michael Gerdes is Director of Orchestras at San Diego State University, where he conducts the San Diego State Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, and Opera Orchestra. His performances with the San Diego State Symphony have been hailed as “highly sensitive and thoughtfully layered” and his conducting proclaimed “refined, dynamically nuanced” and “restrained but unmistakably lucid” by the San Diego Story. Mr. Gerdes has served as an executive of the Los Angeles Conducting Institute, President of the San Diego Pro Arte Voices, and a member of the Musical Merit Foundation Board of Directors. Gerdes has also been Director of Orchestras for the Bravo International Music Academy and the San Diego Summer Music Institute. He lectures as the prelude speaker for the La Jolla Music Society’s visiting orchestras, chamber music, and piano series.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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