Alumni Play On: David Bilger, 1979

David Bilger is the Principal Trumpet player of the Philadelphia Orchestra and has held the position since 1995. In addition, he serves on the faculty of the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music and on the adjunct faculties of Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University. He also worked as the artist/designer on a new line of trumpets manufactured by Yamaha.

David played trumpet in MYSO (then known as MFY) for five years until he graduated in 1979. His high school didn’t offer orchestra, so MYSO was his first orchestral experience. “The quality of the ensembles was very high, the conductors excellent, and the non-performing theory classes I took were broadening…I had the opportunity to play solo parts on many pieces of major repertoire, which was fabulous musical exposure and performing experience. MYSO also afforded me my first solo opportunity in front of an orchestra.”

For David, MYSO was a place for in-depth learning and presented opportunities for leadership. When he was young, he was mentored by the more advanced students, and as he developed as a musician, he was stepped into leadership roles. Later, several of David’s MYSO colleagues ended up as professional musicians, and they pushed each other to succeed.

During his extensive professional career, David has had many opportunities and exhilarating experiences. Some of the most memorable are playing a solo recital at Carnegie Recital Hall and performing the Tomasi Trumpet Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in 1998.

David deeply values his work with the extraordinarily talented musicians he teaches. He sees mentoring future generations of musicians as “some of the most important work I do.”

His musical career provided him opportunities to experience life in a way that probably wouldn’t have been available had he chosen a different profession. Some of those opportunities included having the chance to see the world through extensive travel in foreign counties. “More than a dozen trips to the Far East (including Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau…), countless trips to Europe, and a few visits to South America have given me a chance to make friends in far-off lands, and experience different cultures and world views. It has been one of the greatest gifts of being a performer.”

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