You would have to be over 75 to have vivid memories of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra before Adolph “Bud” Herseth helped create the modern fame of one of the world’s great musical enterprises.
For Bud — and everybody from lifelong colleagues to radio listeners who never saw him in person called him Bud — joined the CSO as principal trumpet in 1948, at 26 years old, and held that seat for an astonishing 53 years, staying on with the orchestra as principal emeritus for three more seasons and not retiring from the orchestra until just before his birthday in 2004.
He remained a regular presence at Orchestra Hall concerts and events until this year, when his health took a turn.
Mr. Herseth, who died Saturday at age 91 at his home in Oak Park, was central to the CSO’s key recording era, the decade under music director Fritz Reiner in the 1950s and early 1960s, and he formed an unshakeable bond with Reiner’s eventual successor, Georg Solti, as Solti began his triumphant series of European and world tours and Carnegie Hall appearances.
Massive player. Massive massive player.