Charles Vernon began his orchestral career as bass trombonist with the Baltimore Symphony, starting in September 1971. In 1980 he went to the San Francisco Symphony for one season. He was then chosen by Riccardo Muti to play bass trombone with the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he played for five years until coming to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1986.
A native of Asheville, North Carolina, Vernon attended Brevard College and Georgia State University, where he studied with Bill Hill as well as Gail Wilson, professor of trombone at Arizona State University. His mentor/teachers were Arnold Jacobs and Edward Kleinhammer, both former tuba and bass trombone of the Chicago Symphony.
Vernon has been on the faculties of Catholic University, Brevard Music Center, Philadelphia College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University, and the Curtis Institute and Northwestern University. Currently he is professor of trombone at DePaul University. Vernon has many solo and teaching appearances throughout the world.
In April 1991, with the CSO under Daniel Barenboim, he
gave the world premiere of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s
Concerto for Bass Trombone, which was commissioned by the
Orchestra for its centennial. In September 2006, he and the CSO premiered
Chick’a’Bone Checkout, a new concerto for the alto, tenor
and bass trombones and orchestra, written by trombonist and composer Christian Lindberg. Most
recently, Chapters, an Incredible Bass Trombone Concerto by
Jim Stephenson was played with Riccardo Muti and the CSO in June 2019.
Vernon and his wife, Alison, have several commissioned song cycles for soprano, trombone and piano written by the American composer Eric Ewazen and performed for many European and U.S. audiences.
He has two sons—Mark and Gary. Mark is a video game designer with Ubisoft games developer in San Francisco, and Gary is a third Dan in Tae Kwon Do and a second Dan Black Belt in Hapkido, and is also an instructor at Connellys Academy for Martial Arts.
As a part-time athlete, Vernon is an avid swimmer and a member of the Evanston Masters Swim Team. He is also a first Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and he comments, “As time passes, I realize that I must keep doing it, so that I can KEEP doing it!”
== Text of the biography is from the CSO website. Photo is from another source.
== Names which are links on this webpage refer to my interviews elsewhere on my website. BD
© 2005 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded in Chicago on May 5, 2005. Portions were broadcast on WNUR the following month, and again in 2016; and on Contemporary Classical Internet radio in 2006, and 2008. This transcription was made in 2021, and posted on this website at that time.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.