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Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Player Bios



 
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 10:12 pm    Post subject: Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Player Bios Reply with quote

Susan Slaughter



Susan Slaughter joined the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1969 and four years later became the first woman to be named principal trumpet of a major symphony orchestra. A graduate of Indiana University, she received the coveted performer’s certificate in recognition of outstanding musical performance. Slaughter has studied with Herbert Müeller, Bernard Adelstein, Arnold Jacobs, Robert Nagel, Claude Gordon and Laurie Frink. Prior to accepting a position in St. Louis, Slaughter spent two years as principal trumpet of the Toledo Symphony. Slaughter has been on the faculty of the Grand Teton Orchestra Seminar and the National Orchestra Institute. In 1990, she performed with the Bay Area Women’s Philharmonic in San Francisco and, in 1991, at the invitation of baseball commissioner Fay Vincent, Slaughter performed the National Anthem for game three of the World Series. Slaughter founded Trumpet Lab, a week-long workshop designed to give young musicians the opportunity to study orchestral literature with a professional musician. She is also the founder of the annual International Women’s Brass Conference, an organization dedicated to providing opportunities and recognition for women brass musicians.

Player bio taken from the ITG 2001 Conference Performer Biographies web site.


Long run is ending for SLSO's top trumpet

BY SARAH BRYAN MILLER
POST-DISPATCH CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
09/20/2009

For 40 years, Susan Slaughter has led the brass section of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Now she's preparing to step down: The 2009-2010 season will be her last as the orchestra's iconic principal trumpet.
Next weekend, she'll open the season with the famous, difficult part in Mahler's Symphony No. 5.

It's a remarkable stretch in a difficult job. Only Bud Herseth, principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 50 years, went longer.

"This is a very stressful job," Slaughter said. "Most people make it 10 to 20 years. After that, they get a good teaching job, or retire if they've been saving their pennies."

It's tough work playing "screaming high notes," she said. "It's a very physically demanding instrument," grueling for every part of the body from the back to the lips.

"As you get older, your body needs more maintenance. You have to work to keep in top shape."

Slaughter's been doing Pilates for the past five years, which she says has strengthened her core.

If you don't stay in shape, everyone will notice.

"Some instruments can miss a note and it's not very intrusive, but if a brass player misses a note, it comes across pretty ugly," Slaughter said.

On a piano, you hit a key, and the note comes out. On the trumpet, "sometimes you hit a note, and it's not quite centered, a little above, a little below," she said. "None of it's intentional. As one of my teachers said, 'Hit it hard, and wish it well.' Sometimes you make it, and sometimes you don't."

Slaughter has worked with five music directors: Walter Susskind, Jerzy Semkow, Leonard Slatkin, Hans Vonk and current director David Robertson.

"I don't think there is a musician in the world that I respect more than Susan Slaughter," Robertson said, "not only as an inspiring performer, but also as a wise, humane and caring person. She has always been a model of what the best should be."

Slatkin, music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, met Slaughter when they were students at Aspen in the mid-1960s.

"Susan's a marvelous personality," Slatkin said. "She was a star from the second she joined the orchestra. You can always tell it's Susan, from that rich deep sound with a little hint of vibrato in it."

Slatkin praised Slaughter for her commitment to her music — "There wasn't one time when Susan ever let anybody down" — and to the Cardinals, for whom she's often played the national anthem over the years.

Slaughter was a pioneer. She said that when she started out, "women didn't get hired to play brass instruments in symphony orchestras." As a senior at Indiana University, she sent out 30 letters of inquiry about openings and was invited to just three auditions.

Hearing about an opening with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, she called and asked to audition.

"They said, 'Oh, we thought you wouldn't want to come this far.' I told them, 'I do want to,' and I asked them to send the information. I'm still waiting."

But Slaughter was so good that once she got a hearing, her talent couldn't be ignored. She auditioned for the SLSO in the days before concerns about sexism and racism mandated that auditions be played behind a curtain. Years later, one now-retired string player on the audition committee told her that he got up to get coffee when he saw a woman walk onstage. He waited to hear a few notes, for form's sake and, he said, "Your playing made me sit back down."

Slaughter has been an advocate for other female brass players ever since. In 1990, she founded the International Women's Brass Conference, which exists to help women who want to play brass instruments professionally; revenues from her annual holiday brass concerts at St. Louis Cathedral Basilica help provide scholarships.

"I've seen progress," said Slaughter, citing women who have won principal horn, trombone and even a principal tuba spot, "but I'm still the only female principal trumpet."

Sexism is still there: Slaughter said that female principals are not paid as much as their male counterparts.

"You never see my name in the St. Louis Business Journal" in the annual articles that cite the top five earners in the orchestra, she said.

The principal plays solos; she's also the leader in the section's music-making. Slaughter's style is collaborative, but ultimately she's the one who makes the decisions about which mute to use in a given passage, or how to approach something.

What does she enjoy most about the job?

"The concerts," she replied. "You can't stop in the concerts. It's fun to make music at this level, with nuance, with color of sound, and working with such great players."

After she retires, she hopes to keep doing some playing. She wants to volunteer in Kirkwood, where she lives, through her church, First Baptist. She's thinking of starting an after-school music program in Meacham Park.

"I just feel like God put me here to do this job," Slaughter said. "I'm playing well; the sound is still there. I think it's better to go out on top. I want people to be able to remember me for what I was able to do. God put me here, and now it's time to do something else."


Icing on the Cake: The Retirement of Susan Slaughter
By Jeannette Cooperman
25 Mar 2010

Leonard Slatkin and Susan Slaughter met in the mid-’60s, both of them students gulping clear mountain air and wisdom at the Aspen Music Festival and School. “The idea of a female trumpet player was unheard of,” he recalls, “but we just accepted people for whoever they were. And already, she had remarkable talent.”

The two went their separate ways. In 1968, Slatkin was hired as the Assistant Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. And a year after that, Slaughter was hired as a trumpet player.

“It was a very big change from her predecessor,” recalls Slatkin, who eventually took the reins of the SLSO and is now Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. “Susan brought a kind of darkness to the sound…. Almost always it was not just a straight note; there was a little bit of vibrato, a little bit of expression. And the ease of virtuosity was extraordinary, the way she could toss off passages of incredible difficulty.”

Child prodigy? Not exactly. Slaughter grew up in tiny, rural McCordsville, Indiana, and her only early music teachers were the “song evangelists” who visited her school. When she heard the trumpet, though, her future was decided. “You have a cake,” she says, trying to explain, “and when the trumpet would come in, it was the icing.”

She learned on the cornet and kept its warmer, rounder sound when she graduated to the trumpet, which she was determined to play in an orchestra someday. “I knew there weren’t a lot of women doing it,” she says, “but I didn’t realize it was discrimination. I thought maybe they just weren’t good enough!”

When she auditioned for the SLSO, one committee member saw a female candidate and decided it was time to refill his coffee cup. Then she started playing, and he sat back down.

She was hired as fourth trumpet, and just four years later she was made Principal Trumpet—the first female Principal Trumpet in a major orchestra anywhere in the world.

“It is a tribute to her,” says Music Director David Robertson, “that by now one thinks of it as a completely normal thing. Principal Trumpet was thought of as the one position you couldn’t hold in an orchestra without a male amount of testosterone. The fact that the first was such an extraordinary individual meant you stopped looking at whether the person was male or female. You looked at the humanity she expressed when she played.”

She didn’t forget her gender, though: Eighteen years ago, she founded the groundbreaking International Women’s Brass Conference, and she opened the first meeting by raising her trumpet to her lips and loudly missing the first note. Everybody cracked up, and then relaxed into collaboration instead of competition.

Slaughter can be blunt, even willful, if it’s for the music’s sake (“She doesn’t take any crap off anybody,” Slatkin murmurs), but she has a way of bringing people together.

Gary Smith, who was already playing trumpet for the SLSO when Slaughter arrived, says she gave the section a new sense of itself. “We used to get together at her house and practice. She saw to it that we developed a style of our own.”

Robertson says, “I don’t know of anybody who’s done more, behind the scenes, to foster true understanding between all of the parties involved in keeping a world-class symphony working.”

Slaughter just sees this as necessary diplomacy: “When people don’t communicate, they get angry, and they take that onstage. If your soul is clear and your mind is clear of anger, the music just pours.”

And hers does. “What’s amazing about Susan Slaughter’s playing,” Robertson says, “is that it’s so eloquent, you almost feel that she is talking to you with words as well as with tone. From the down-and-dirty speakeasy style she can do at the drop of a hat to the absolutely noble and visionary qualities when she’s playing Wagner or the Doctor Atomic Symphony.”

Tom Drake, Assistant Principal Trumpet, says it’s Slaughter who drives the sound of the entire brass section. She’s managed to integrate it, blending with the other sections far more subtly and smoothly than most orchestras manage.

“She has this way of controlling the sound,” adds Drake. “It’s got a whole lot of color to it.” From Slaughter, he’s learned “to make a musical phrase into a sentence, so it has action, substance.” He talks about her sensitivity, compassion, and fairness; her passion; her uncompromising musicality.

So why is she leaving? “Every year, I looked at the season schedule and think, ‘Am I going to be able to do that?’” she says, “and each year, I was able to say yes. It’s demanding, but I started doing Pilates, and I changed my routine. Last year, though, I’d gotten a serious infection, a virus, and it went to my lip. All of the 2008–09 season, I never knew if my lip was going to work right. In the middle of a performance, it would swell. By July, I was finally OK, but I thought, ‘After this season, I don’t want to work that hard.’”

She says what she’ll miss most is “the camaraderie of a hundred people sitting there listening to each other and collaborating, matching, taking what someone does in another direction.”

She’s not likely to mope or whine, though. “I don’t think it was an easy decision for her, but you will never hear any of that,” Robertson says, “in the same way that there are parts of the trumpet repertoire that are fiendishly difficult to play, and I’ve never heard her complain. I know of no more inspiring musician on the planet. And that is not hyperbole.”
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Derek Reaban
Tempe, Arizona
Tempe Winds / Symphony of the Southwest


Last edited by Derek Reaban on Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:02 am; edited 3 times in total
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thomas Drake



A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Thomas Drake joined the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1987 as assistant principal trumpet. Prior to accepting this position, Drake was principal trumpet of the North Carolina Symphony from 1985 to 1987. Drake began his professional career as fourth trumpet with the Rochester Philharmonic after winning that position as a sophomore at the Eastman School of Music in 1976.

In addition to his duties with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, he was principal trumpet of the American Kantorei from 1990 - 2007. Mr. Drake has been on the faculty of the Interlochen Arts Camp since 2004.

Player bio taken from the ITG 2001 Conference Performer Biographies web site.
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Derek Reaban
Tempe, Arizona
Tempe Winds / Symphony of the Southwest


Last edited by Derek Reaban on Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:25 am; edited 3 times in total
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joshua MacCluer



Joshua MacCluer was appointed second trumpet of the St. Louis Symphony in 2003. Prior to this appointment, he was principal trumpet of the Colorado Symphony for two seasons. He also held the position of acting principal trumpet of the Baltimore Symphony for one season and has been a member of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra (Washington, D.C.), as well as the Florida West Coast, Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor symphonies. He was a faculty member at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, N.C., for three years.

Player bio taken from the Oberlin Conservatory from 2005.
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Derek Reaban
Tempe, Arizona
Tempe Winds / Symphony of the Southwest


Last edited by Derek Reaban on Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:26 am; edited 2 times in total
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gary Smith



Gary Smith has made quite an impression with many of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s guest artists. With the aid of a 35mm camera, the trumpet player has captured the image of soloists during rehearsals and then offered the enlarged, autographed photographs as premiums for the orchestra’s fund-raising marathon. Originally from Massilon, Ohio, Smith attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester and played with the Army Band at West Point prior to accepting his first orchestral position in Quebec. Smith left Quebec in the spring of 1961 to go on tour with the North Carolina Symphony. He then toured with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, obtained his graduate degree at Boston University and taught at Boston University for two years before coming to St. Louis in 1966. “I was only supposed to be here for a year while the regular trumpet player was on a leave of absence, but he didn’t return.”

Player bio taken from the ITG 2001 Conference Performer Biographies web site.
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Derek Reaban
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roger Blackburn



Born in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Roger Blackburn attended Asbury College in Kentucky, Westminster Choir College in New Jersey, and graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music under the tutelage of Samuel Krauss, former principal trumpet of The Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1969, he won a Fulbright Scholarship to study trumpet with Helmut Wobisch at the Academy for Music and Dramatic Art in Vienna, Austria.

Mr. Blackburn joined The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1974 after being associate principal trumpet in the Houston Symphony. Before that, he was principal trumpet of the Israel Philharmonic and co-acting principal trumpet of the Saint Louis Symphony.

During his 30 years with the orchestra he has been a frequent soloist with the Amerita Chamber Players and has been a featured trumpeter with the Philadelphia Chamber Players, Mozart Society, and the Glencairn Horns of Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. Roger founded the Philharmonic Flavor, a brass quartet comprised of Philadelphia Orchestra members, and Four His Glory, a male gospel vocal quartet. He is a trumpet instructor at Temple University and also teaches privately in his home. His hobbies include collecting audio recordings and singing barbershop quartet harmonies. His latest project is the release of his digitally remastered recording, Barbershopping in Brass.

He and his wife, Marilyn, reside in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and are the parents of Martha, an assistant in the Development Department of the Cincinnati Symphony.

Player bio taken from the Boyer College of Music and Dance, Temple University web site from 2005.
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Derek Reaban
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chandler Goetting



Chandler Goetting was born in Mescalero, New Mexico, of Native American heritage. His natural inclination to and talent for the arts were given strong support in the Amarillo, Texas, school music system, where he graduated from Amarillo High School. The last two high school summers were spent at the Interlochen Music Camp in Michigan where Chandler was honored to be chosen as Concerto Winners Soloist. Engineering studies at Michigan State University and the University of New Mexico were interrupted by a scholarship offer to attend the Juilliard School of Music in New York.
During his two years of study with William Vacchiano, principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic, Chandler immersed himself in the New York musical life. He played frequently with the Metropolitan Opera’s stage trumpet corps and, through the contacts made there, began playing with the American Symphony Orchestra, at that time still under the direction of its founder, Leopold Stokowski. An offshoot of these experiences was the opportunity to be in on the some of the first performances of the New York City Opera’s staging of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.

The two years as principal trumpet of the Kansas City Philharmonic and six years with the Saint Louis Symphony in the same position were, along with ten years as principal trumpet of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra and a summer with the Casals Festival Orchestra in Puerto Rico, Chandler’s only years in the American symphony orchestra scene. A drive toward broader experiences led him to Munich, Germany, where he became principal trumpet of the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio under its Music Director Rafael Kubelik, who at the time was also Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera.
The succession of Music Directors - Kubelik, Sir Colin Davis and Lorin Maazel were only three of the many eminent conductors with whom Chandler worked during his years in the orchestra. A brief listing would include Sir Georg Solti, Sergiu Celibidache, Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Bernard Haitink, Carlo Maria Giulini, Seiji Ozawa, Erich Leinsdorf, Dimitrj Kitajenko and Karl Boehm. The Leonard Bernstein recording sessions of Tristan und Isolde gave him the chance to play the original wooden trumpet designed for the premier performance of the opera at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. This interest in playing original instruments was stimulated by an association of several years duration with Edward H. Tarr’s baroque trumpet ensemble.

The freer work schedule of a European orchestra gave many opportunities for Chandler to perform with such groups as Karl Richter’s Munich Bach Orchestra, with which he made many tours around Europe and South America, playing on one occasion Bach’s 2nd Brandenburg Concerto fourteen times during the course of an eighteen-day tour. There were several appearances with the Musica Rinata München at the Corfu Music Festival, the Lourdes Easter Festival with Kurt Redel and the Pro Musica München as well as many solo engagements with numerous chamber orchestras in Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland, including those with the Münchener Kammerorchester, Festival Tibor Varga and in Zürich with the Zürcher Kammerorchester.

The last years in the orchestra saw Chandler combining his childhood love of horses with the German classical equestrian school - arguably the best in the world. After building a firm basis on which to work with the horses, he, along with his wife Susan, oboist and English hornist with the Munich Philharmonic for many years, and their two German Warmbloods returned to the United States where they are settling into a quiet but active life in rural Wisconsin.

Player Bio taken from the International Music Festivals web site from 2005.
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Derek Reaban
Tempe, Arizona
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert Weatherly

Dr. Robert Weatherly was principal trumpet with the St. Louis Symphony and the U.S. Air Force Band.
Born in Coffeyville, Kansas, Weatherly studied trumpet at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City graduating in 1943. Following a successful performing career, he switched to academia and taught trumpet and directed the bands at Southeastern Louisiana University, where he later became the department head. Dr. Weatherly also performed with the Radio City Music Hall orchestra.

Player bio taken from the ITG News web site from 2005.
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Derek Reaban
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Derek Reaban
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seymour Rosenfeld

Seymour Rosenfeld was a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra trumpet section for 42 years and a longtime respected teacher. "Seymour was a gifted trumpeter," said former student Jeffrey Curnow, associate principal trumpet with the Philadelphia Orchestra. "He was the keystone of the trumpet section for many years."

After graduating from Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey, Mr. Rosenfeld got his only professional training at the Curtis Institute on a scholarship in 1940. When he was drafted into the Army in 1942, he played in the Army Band at Camp Maxie, Texas. Mr. Rosenfeld was discharged after 18 months because of a medical condition that caused him to pass out in the 115-degree heat.

In 1943, Mr. Rosenfeld played his horn across the country with the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo until landing a job as principal trumpeter for the St. Louis Orchestra.

Mr. Rosenfeld played trumpet at Robin Hood Dell East in the summers until earning the position of second trumpeter with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1946.

Mr. Rosenfeld never sought the position of principal trumpet because of his devotion to teaching. He taught for 40 years at Temple University's Esther Boyer College of Music and gave private lessons to hundreds. He retired in 1988.

"Seymour taught me how to buzz my lips," Curnow said. "You take a big breath and let it out for as long as you can while buzzing your lips. The isometrics make a player better faster."

"For Seymour's 70th birthday, many students surprised him by marching down our street playing 'Happy Birthday' on trumpets to the tune of 'The Great Gate of Kiev,' " his wife of 57 years, Judi Rubenstone Rosenfeld, said.

Mr. Rosenfeld was a charter member of the Philadelphia Brass Ensemble.

Player bio taken from the Andante Magazine web site from 2005.
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Derek Reaban
Tempe, Arizona
Tempe Winds / Symphony of the Southwest
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Derek Reaban
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Location: Tempe, Arizona

PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2005 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Samuel G. Krauss

Samuel Krauss was principal trumpet with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra from 1936 to 1944. Prior to his tenure in Saint Louis he was principal trumpet with the National Symphony Orchestra during the 1935 – 1936 season. Beginning in 1945 Samuel Krauss was principal trumpet with The Philadelphia Orchestra until 1957. He was 2nd trumpet in Philadelphia from 1957 until 1967 and 4th trumpet from 1967 until his retirement in 1973. He was the Trumpet instructor at the Curtis Institute from 1947 until 1968.

A portion of this player bio information was taken from Gilbert Johnson – Artist and Teacher by David Champouillon from the May 1999 ITG Journal.
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Derek Reaban
Tempe, Arizona
Tempe Winds / Symphony of the Southwest
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Derek Reaban
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Joined: 08 Jul 2003
Posts: 4217
Location: Tempe, Arizona

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Walk



Michael Walk is a native of San Diego, California. He is the newest member of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra’s trumpet section. Prior to moving to Saint Louis, Mr. Walk served as second trumpet with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and principal trumpet with the Tucson Pops Orchestra. In his career, he has performed with a variety of ensembles, including The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Catalina Chamber Orchestra, San Diego Opera, and Arizona Opera. Mr. Walk was principal trumpet of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra, and has also served as a member of Westwind Brass, the Heavy Metal Brass Quintet, Music from Greer, and the San Diego Chamber Orchestra.

Mr. Walk has performed as soloist with the Orchestra of San Dieguito, Musica Viva of Utah State University, Arizona Symphonic Winds, the Sierra Vista Symphony, and with the Tucson Pops Orchestra. He has also taught trumpet at New Mexico State University, the University of Oklahoma, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, the University of Rochester, and San Diego State University.

Mr. Walk holds a Bachelor of Music degree in trumpet performance from San Diego State University. He also holds a Master of Music in trumpet performance and literature, with performer’s certificate, from the Eastman School of Music.

Player bio provided by Mike Walk (2007)
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