Occupying the Arnold Jacobs Principal Tuba Chair, endowed by Christine Querfeld, is Gene Pokorny, who was appointed to the position by Sir Georg Solti in 1988. He began playing full-time with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra the following year.
A native of Southern California, Pokorny studied tuba there with Jeffrey Reynolds, Larry Johansen, Tommy Johnson and Roger Bobo. After attending the University of Redlands and graduating from the University of Southern California, he played in the Israel Philharmonic, the Utah Symphony, the Saint Louis Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. While in Los Angeles he played in several movie soundtracks including "Jurassic Park" and "The Fugitive." In October, 2012, he will play with the World Orchestra for Peace celebrating the centennial of Solti’s birth with concerts in Chicago and at Carnegie Hall.
When he isn't counting rests in the back row of the stage of Orchestra Hall, Gene may be found playing with the Do-It-Yourself Sousa Band (3rd clarinet section) as well as giving music appreciation classes to children through the Orchestra's Education Department. In addition to solo CDs, he produced a CD/workbook on the Hip-Bone Music Publications label collaborating with "The Rolling Stones" trombonist, Michael Davis.
In May, 2006, he received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music and in March, 2007, he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Redlands.
Gene, his wife Beth Lodal (a musician who happens to have a real job) and their basset hounds, etc. (non-musicians who happen to have real lives), regularly forage from their refrigerator, which is located in Forest Park, Illinois.