Jay Friedman has been Principal trombone of the Chicago Symphony since 1965. He is also active as a conductor. Mr. Friedman is music director of the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, which was named orchestra of the year in 2011 by the Illinois Council of Orchestra’s. He was music director of the River Cities Philharmonic 1990-1994, resident conductor of the Chicago Chamber Orchestra 1994-96, and principal guest conductor of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University 1995-2010. Mr. Friedman was named Conductor of the Year in 2000 and again in 2011 by the Illinois Council of Orchestras.
In 1996 at the invitation of Daniel Barenboim he conducted the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in Act 1 of Wagner’s Die Walkure. The Chicago Sun-times called the concert “perhaps the best Civic orchestra concert in the past 30 years.” In March 2006 he conducted the Civic Orchestra in a public master class of Mahler’s 5th symphony at Symphony Center, Chicago. In 2010 he conducted the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest in Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand” at Symphony Center. The Chicago Tribune wrote of the concert; “Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand sparkles with 350.” In 2012 Mr. Friedman conducted the orchestra in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at Symphony Center. Laurence Johnson of Chicago Classical Review called Mr. Friedman “a superb conductor.”
Mr. Friedman conducted the Orchestra of the Italian Radio (RAI) in 2008 with Daniel Barenboim, soloist. He has also conducted the Santa Cecilia Orchestra, Rome, Sweden’s Malmo Symphony, and the donors concerts of the Chicago Symphony. In 1996 he conducted the Hawaii Symphony on a three week tour of the Hawaiian Islands. He has conducted at the Chautauqua Festival in 1995-96, and New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival. In 2000 he conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra brass in his own arrangement of Strauss’ Alpine Symphony, which is now commercially available on DVD through KBE Editions. Guest conducting engagements in 2012-13 include the Louisiana Philharmonic, Zurich Opera, Berlin Staatskapelle and National Symphony of Mexico.