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The Interlochen Collection: Trombonist Ava Ordman

Victor Bach Instruments
Trombonist Ava Ordman

Hear highlights from trombonist Ava Ordman's career - from Interlochen camper to Grand Rapids Symphony principal to Michigan State University professor

In the fall of 1971, Ava Ordman was a freshman at the University of Michigan, studying trombone performance.

Of the 29 students in the U of M trombone studio, she was the only woman.

Ordman had won a scholarship to study music at the University of Michigan when she was a camper at Interlochen.

She returned to Interlochen's National Music Camp in the University division, where she won the concerto competition three different summers!

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Interlochen Center for the Arts
Trombonist Ava Ordman performs with the University Orchestra at Interlochen in the summer of 1972

After her sophomore year of college, she won the principal trombone chair with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra.

Ordman held that role for nearly 25 years, after which she returned to school and became a licensed psychologist.

In 2002, she became Professor of Trombone at Michigan State University, a role she holds to this day.

She is also the principal trombonist with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra.

Ordman has commissioned or co-commissioned a number of works for the trombone and has given world premiere performances of several of them.

These include Steven Smith's Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra, Libby Larsen's Mary Cassatt for Mezzo-Soprano, Trombone, and Orchestra and David Biedenbender's Their Eyes are Fireflies.

In 2018, Ordman received the Neill Humfeld Award for Excellence in Teaching from the International Trombone Association.

Music heard in this episode

Tibor Serly, Concerto for Trombone (selections)
Theo Alcantara, University Orchestra at Interlochen Center for the Arts
Ava Ordman, trombone
August 1972

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Ava Ordman at Interlochen in the summer of 1972

Ernest Bloch, Symphony for Trombone and Orchestra (selections)
Theo Alcantara, University Orchestra at Interlochen Center for the Arts
Ava Ordman, trombone
August 1973

Frank Martin, Ballade
Gustav Meier, University Orchestra at Interlochen Center for the Arts
Ava Ordman, trombone
August 1976

Donald Erb, Trombone Concerto
Catherine Comet, Grand Rapids Symphony
Ava Ordman, trombone
Recorded 1995

Frank Ticheli, Trombone Concertino
John Whitwell, Michigan State University Wind Symphony
Ava Ordman, trombone
Album: Simple Gifts, the music of Frank Ticheli, vol. 2 (2011)

Elizabeth Raum, Trombone Fantasy
Ava Ordman, trombone
Derek Kealii Polischuk, piano
Album: It’s About Time: Music for Trombone by Women Composers (2017)

David Biedenbender, Their Eyes are Fireflies
Nan Washburn, Michigan Philharmonic
Ava Ordman, trombone
Recorded 2018

Eileen Ganter provided invaluable support in producing this episode.

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Dr. Amanda Sewell is IPR's music director.