Clarice Assad

(2022) Gertrude Abercrombie

Concerto For Trumpet & Strings

Duration: 15 Minutes | Commission information and premiere dates coming soon

Movement Titles:

I. Girl Searching

II, The Stroll

III. Hyde Park Jam

A Surrealist Painter Ahead of Her Time

Gertrude Abercrombie is a concerto for trumpeter Mary Elizabeth Bowden, trumpet and string orchestra, and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. The subject of the piece is the surrealist art of Gertrude Abercrombie (1909-1977), an American painter based in Chicago who was called “the queen of the bohemian artists,”  She was profoundly in the jazz scene and friends with no less than musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Sarah Vaughan and used to throw some amazing parties for them.  

The piece is in three movements. Inspired by two of her paintings (I. Girl Searching, 1945), (II. The Strool, 1943) and III. Hyde Park Jam is an imaginary depiction of her memorable parties where she used to sit in as a pianist herself and play with jazz’s greatest masters.

Abercrombie was profoundly in the jazz scene at a time when the divide between blacks and whites was a massive taboo in the united states. A liberal woman is often in conflict with her sense of self.


Abercrombie’s paintings are characterized by their use of dreamlike symbolism and careful attention to detail. Her work often featured animals and plants in surreal, otherworldly settings. In addition to her role as a painter, Abercrombie was also a musician and poet. She was an active member of the Chicago jazz scene and counted singer Sarah Vaughman and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie among her friends. —a bold move for a white woman when racial tensions were high in the United States.

Bohemian Lifestyle and influences

Abercrombie led a bohemian lifestyle and counted many equally bohemian famous artists and musicians among her friends. Her parties at her Hyde Park mansion were noted as a haven for artists to come together to connect and inspire each other. At the heart of it, was Abercrombie, who

Girl Searching (1945)
The Stroll (1943)

COMMISSIONING | CONSORTIUM MEMBERS:

Akron Symphony Orchestra – Christopher Wilkins, Music Director

Albany Symphony Orchestra – Claire Fox Hillard, Music Director and Conductor

Austin Symphony Orchestra – Peter Bay, Music Director and Conductor

Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia

Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra at Chautauqua Institution

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras – Allen Tinkham, Music Director

Lexington Philharmonic – Mélisse Brunet, Music Director

Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra – Geoffrey Larson, Music Director

Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra – Matthew Aubin, Music Director

The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, Niccoló Muti

Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra – Fouad Fakhouri, Music Director and Conductor

Wintergreen Music – Erin Freeman, Artistic Director

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