by David Kulma
Most famous orchestral composers are people who either conduct or listen to orchestras rather than play in them. But there is a small cohort of professional orchestra musicians who step into the composer spotlight.
After attending organ school, and before becoming a well-known composer, Antonín Dvořák served as a violist in the orchestra of the Bohemian Provisional Theater for a few years. Carl Nielsen sat in the second violin section of the Royal Danish Opera until he was 40, playing the first performances of some of his own works.
Jeffrey Rathbun, now beginning his 29th season as assistant principal oboe with The Cleveland Orchestra, also fits into this mold. His Pantheon, commissioned by the Orchestra for its centennial celebrations, will be premiered this weekend.