American trombonist Joseph Alessi is looking forward to rediscovering Singapore through its music.
Known for his horn work at the New York Philharmonic, where he has been principal trombonist for 29 years, he plays solo in Singapore for the first time at the Esplanade Concert Hall on Feb 23.
Alessi, 55, appears with the Singapore Wind Symphony and premieres a 20-minute concerto titled Empire, written for him by Singaporean composer Terrence Wong Fei Yang.
"This will be the first time I'm not coming with the New York Philharmonic," he says in a telephone interview from Seoul, where the orchestra is on tour. It was last here in 2009.
"If you have not heard the trombone as a solo instrument, this is your chance in this lifetime to hear many notes played by the trombone," he says.
The brass instrument has very little place to shine in traditional orchestral repertoire, so new compositions for the trombone should be celebrated, he adds.
"Empire is the first significant addition to the trombone repertory from the region and it is incredibly exciting for me to explore the unique musical ideas in the piece with musicians and audiences in Singapore."
This is high praise from a musician who is considered one of the world's best players of the trombone, and who has trained many others of the same quality, as a faculty member of The Juilliard School since 1986.