My Top Ten Orchestral Trumpet Players Today

This is my personal top-ten list of some of the finest orchestral trumpeters that are playing today. Please comment and let me know your favorites.

  1. Philip Smith, principal, New York Philharmonic, since 1988.
  2. Chris Martin, principal, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, since 2005.
  3. Michael Sachs, principal trumpet, Cleveland Orchestra
    Michael Sachs, principal trumpet, Cleveland Orchestra

    Michael Sachs, principal, Cleveland Orchestra, since 1988.

  4. Thomas Hooten, principal, Los Angeles Philharmonic, since 2012.
  5. David Bilger, principal, Philadelphia Orchestra, since 1995.
  6. Thomas Rolfs, principal, Boston Symphony Orchestra, since 2006
  7. Mark Inouye, principal, San Francisco Symphony, since 2008
  8. Giuliano Sommerhalder, principal, Concertgebouw Orchestra, since 2011

    Gábor Tarkövi, principal trumpet, Berlin Philharmonic
    Gábor Tarkövi, principal trumpet, Berlin Philharmonic
  9. Gábor Tarkövi, principal, Berlin Philharmonic, since 2004
  10. Philip Cobb, principal, London Symphony Orchestra, since 2009
Philip Cobb, principal trumpet, LSO, with former principal, Maurice Murphy
Philip Cobb, principal trumpet, LSO, with former principal, Maurice Murphy


12 responses to “My Top Ten Orchestral Trumpet Players Today”

  1. Darius Morris Avatar
    Darius Morris

    I definitely agree with your selection of the players on your list that I know of as far as top orchestral trumpet players. Two of my favorite trumpet players in general are Dizzie Gillespie and Wynton Marsalis. Gillespie is from South Carolina like me. Marsalis received the first Pulitzer Prize for Music for a jazz recording.

    1. Stanley Avatar

      Thanks for the post, Darius!

  2. Gertjan Loot Avatar
    Gertjan Loot

    Hi Stanley,

    My name is Gertjan Loot, solo trumpet player of het Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest in Amsterdam and trumpet professor at the Conservatorium Of the Haque, NL.
    I would love to contact Philip Cobb for a masterclass on our school. Do you have an idea how I can reach him?
    Best regards Gertjan

  3. Barack Obama Avatar
    Barack Obama

    I would say Paul Merkelo of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra is just as good as any of the above mentioned names.

    1. Dear President Obama (!), I played briefly with Paul in 1992 or so, in the New World Symphony Orchestra (in Miami). I was personally very impressed with his amazing playing. Especially his lovely articulation and tone.

  4. Good points Stanley. Your blog post are very readable and I am now regularly re-tweeting them to my followers on twitter @trumpets365

    1. Thanks so much, Tim. I do feel that this post is now too dated, since there has been movements in the careers of Philip Smith (now a teacher at University of Georgia) and Giuliano Sommerhalder (who left the Concertgebouw in 2013). I think Mark Inouye maybe moving to NY (?). I’m not updating my blog as frequently as I would like, because I am trying to compose more these days.

  5. M. Gaye Leslie Avatar
    M. Gaye Leslie

    I would like to add to your list trumpeters the very impressive Jan Hasenohhrl of the fabulous Czech National Symphony Orchestra!

  6. I have a 1941 Martin Committee Handcraft trumpet for sale. 24K gold plated in perfect shape. Just like what Miles Davis played. If interested contact me

  7. Henry White Avatar
    Henry White

    Well I’m from the old school. I’ll place Harry Glantz, Budd Herseth , Johnny Wear on that list.

    1. Well, Henry, I, for one, think old school is good school. Fantastic players. I’m particularly amazed at the quality of Glantz’s playing, in those early recordings.

  8. Nicole Avatar

    Todd Szhmzack is an incredible 3 1/2 octave stand out from Mass. fantastic trumpeter

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