Joseph Alessi was appointed Principal Trombone of the New York Philharmonic in the spring of 1985. He began musical studies in his native California with his father, Joseph Alessi, Sr. As a high school student in San Rafael, California, he was a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony before continuing his musical training at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
Prior to joining the Philharmonic, Mr. Alessi was second trombone of The Philadelphia Orchestra for four seasons, and principal trombone of The Orchestre symphonique de Montreal for one season. In addition, he has performed as guest principal trombonist with the London Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall led by Pierre Boulez.
Mr. Alessi is an active soloist, recitalist, and chamber music performer. In April 1990 he made his solo debut with the New York Philharmonic, performing the CrestonFantasy for Trombone, and in 1992 premiered the Christopher Rouse Pulitzer Prize-winning Trombone Concerto with the Philharmonic, which commissioned the work for its 150th anniversary celebration. His most recent appearance with the Philharmonic as soloist was in world premiere performances of the William Bolcom Trombone Concerto in the summer of 2016.
Joseph Alessi has recorded and performed extensively with four prominent trombone quartets; The New York Trombone Quartet resulting in the only recording of the Bartok 4th String Quartet. Four of a Kind Trombone Quartet, the World Trombone Quartet, and Slide Monsters Trombone Quartet.
Other solo engagements have included the New Japan Philharmonic, Nagoya Philharmonic, Orchestra of Teatro Bellini, Mannheim National Theater Orchestra, The Hague Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, and the Colorado, Alabama, Santa Barbara, Syracuse, and Puerto Rico symphony orchestras. Mr. Alessi has also participated in numerous festivals, including the Festivale Musica di Camera in Protogruaro, Italy; Cabrillo Music Festival; Swiss Brass Week; and Lieksa Brass Week in Finland. He was featured in the 1997 International Trombone Festival in Feldkirch, Austria, and the International Meeting of Brass Instruments in Lille, France. In 2002 Mr. Alessi was awarded an International Trombone Association Award for his contributions to the world of trombone music and trombone playing, and in 2014, was elected President of that association.
Mr. Alessi is currently on the faculty of The Juilliard School; his students now occupy posts with many major symphony orchestras in the U.S. and internationally. As a clinician for the Edwards Instrument Co., he has also given master classes throughout the world and has toured Europe extensively as a master teacher and recitalist. He has performed as soloist with several leading concert bands, including the U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point, U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own), and the U.S. Marine Band (President's Own). In addition, he has performed with the Maria Schneider Orchestra, the Village Vanguard Orchestra, and has recorded with jazz greats, J.J. Johnson and Steve Turre.
His discography includes many releases on the Summit record label, including the recent Trombonastics, and a disc with New York Philharmonic Principal Trumpet Philip Smith entitled Fandango; he also recorded New York Legends on the Cala label. His live recording of the Rouse Concerto with the New York Philharmonic can be heard on Volume II of the recent release, An American Celebration, on New York Philharmonic Special Editions recording label. In addition, conductor/composer Bramwell Tovey recently recorded a piece composed especially for Mr. Alessi, entitled Urban Cabaret with Mr. Alessi as soloist.
Mr. Alessi was invited by the International Trombone Association to record a solo disc of newly composed works, which was distributed to the Association