Trumpet @ UNC


The Trumpet Program at the University of Northern Colorado is one of the most comprehensive programs in the country. There are usually twenty to thirty trumpet students at UNC. Of these players, approximately four to six are graduate students (master’s or doctoral students). UNC offers degree emphases in classical and jazz performance at the Bachelor, Master and Doctoral levels, as well as music education and music business degrees at the undergraduate level. Here are some of the opportunities available to trumpet students at UNC.

Well-known professional trumpet artists and teachers who have presented master classes or performed at UNC in the last 5 years have included Tom Hooten (principal trumpet Los Angeles Philharmonic), Robert Sullivan (former member New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra), Craig Morris (former principal trumpet Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Richard Stoezel, Wiff Rudd (UNC Alumni), Bill Pfund (UNC Professor Emeritus), Mike Rodriguez, Ron Stout, Greg Spence, Steve Hawk, Justin Bartels, Jon Faddis, Brian Lynch, Terrell Stafford, Ron Miles.

UNC Trumpet Ensemble at Colorado State Capitol

The UNC Trumpet Ensemble  directed by Dr. Adler usually has 20-30 members. Often there are additional separate small ensembles that will participate yearly in the National Trumpet Competition Trumpet Ensemble Division. The Trumpet Ensemble has performed at numerous conferences of the International Trumpet Guild and performed at the 2015 ITG Conference held in Columbus Ohio. Additionally, the Trumpet Ensemble plays every year at the state capitol building for the Colorado State Legislature and for the annual UNC Trumpet Festival.


Alex Sipiagin
Alex Sipiagin

The UNC Trumpet Festival started in 2012 and has featured some of the greatest trumpet players in the world!  Previous guest artists include: Alex Sipiagin, Rex Richardson, Michael Rodriguez, Justin Bartels, Richard Stoezel, Mark Israel, and UNC Jazz Faculty Jim White, Steve Kovalcheck, Erik Applegate, Dana Landry.  Typical events include performances, recitals, masterclasses, group warmups, clinics on All-State music, and a mass trumpet ensemble. 

Trumpet students also have the opportunity to play in an outstanding symphony orchestra. The UNC Symphony Orchestra was named the Best College Orchestra or Best Classical Ensemble in the United States and Canada by Down Beat magazine in nine of the past eleven years. In addition, UNC offers Trumpet Orchestral Excerpts courses and mock auditions. The important excerpts from the major orchestral works are studied and performed in these courses.

For the student interested in jazz experience, UNC offers the best jazz program in the region. There are five large jazz ensembles (each with four to five trumpets), and several jazz combos. The UNC Jazz Studies Program has won more than 100 Down Beat magazine awards in many categories, and has twice been rated as one of the top 5 Graduate Jazz Studies Programs by U. S. News and World Report.

Lab I
UNC Jazz Lab I

UNC Jazz Lab Band I has been named the Best College Big Band in the United States and Canada by Down Beat magazine numerous times, including 2012, 2013, and 2016, and has been one of the top three bands in each of the past 10 years. UNC’s top combo was awarded Down Beat’s Best College Combo in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The UNC Bands program offers a full spectrum of band opportunities for trumpeters. Three concert bands (Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band) perform on and off campus each year including an annual tour for the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Bands. The Pride of the Rockies is UNC’s dynamic marching band and performs for home football games in the fall and travels to some away games.

Trumpet majors at UNC have been fortunate to travel all across the world with UNC ensembles. UNC Jazz Lab I has toured in Romania, China, and in Telluride CO. The UNC Wind Ensemble has played all over Colorado and has also recently toured in China. The University Orchestra has traveled to Spain, and the UNC Trumpet Ensemble has recently travelled and performed in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Ohio.

Students may also enroll in brass chamber music groups (often a standard brass quintet) and be coached once a week by a member of the brass faculty. UNC’s brass faculty is comprised of the highest caliber teacher/performers and a brass chamber group affords the trumpeter the opportunity to work with other brass professors on our faculty.

The UNC brass faculty is active performing in situations where students can hear us on a regular basis. All members of the UNC brass faculty perform regularly in recitals and/or in the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra, which performs a major concert each month. In addition to Dr. John Adler,

Philip Hembree

Mr. Philip Hembree (2nd trumpet in the Colorado Symphony Orchestra), and Mr. Mark Israel (25-year retired member of the falconaires United States Air Force Academy Band) also teach trumpet at UNC.

Mark Israel

UNC Trumpet Majors have been very active in competitions across the country, most notably the National Trumpet Competition. In 2014, UNC had semi-finalists in every college division and Taylor Gustad advanced to the finals in the solo division finishing in 3rd place!

Students interested in attending UNC must audition for Dr. Adler to be admitted to the School of Music on the undergraduate BM (performance, jazz studies, or business), BA (Liberal Arts), BME (teacher certification) degrees, and the graduate MM (performance) or DA (performance) degrees.

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