My Top Ten List of Classical Trumpet Soloists Living Today

I wanted to pay tribute to the trumpeters whose solo talents open our ears and heart with their playing. They are perhaps the ones who work the hardest to raise the reputation of this instrument from its military beginnings to become as equal as possible with violinists, pianists and singers who concertize internationally. This list is for classical trumpet soloists who are still alive and playing today.

The Amazing French Trumpeter, David Guerrier
The Amazing French Trumpeter, David Guerrier

 

1. David Guerrier, French trumpeter AND hornist. Incredibly versatile (trumpet, horn, and baroque trumpet, keyed trumpet, natural horn), I once heard from Niklas Eklund that he hardly is known to practice! While this surely can’t be true, he is definitely naturally talented. This is a video of David playing the Arban “Carnival of Venice” on an antique cornet. In the same concert, he also plays keyed trumpet and hand horn!!

 

 

2. Håkan Hardenberger, Swedish sensation of the 1990’s, he still plays quite a bit. Håkan has played a wide variety of repertoire, including avant-garde music, and has recorded dozens of albums.

Here’s a nice documentary about Håkan from 1992. 48 minutes long, it has some nice audio in between the talking:

 

 

English Trumpeter, Alison Balsom
English Trumpeter, Alison Balsom

 

 

3. Alison Balsom is one of my favorite soloists today because of her obvious authenticity when it comes to baroque music. From England, she has recorded numerous albums and has even devised a theatrical work where she plays trumpet on stage! Here she is talking about a period instrument recording project:

 

 

4. Philip Smith–I know, he’s an orchestral trumpeter, but he solos so frequently and he has recorded so often, and, most importantly, he sounds so amazingly when he solos, that I have to include him on this list! Here he is playing the music that he obviously loves so much. That sound is heavenly.

 

 

Boston University Professor of Trumpet, Terry Everson
Boston University Professor of Trumpet, Terry Everson

 

6. Terry Everson, here’s a thinking man’s trumpeter who also can really “sing” on the instrument. Check him out on this very difficult sonata by Jan Krzywicki.

 

 

 

 

7. Jens Lindemann, multiple-prizerwinner, chamber musician and soloist from Canada. Here he is doing what he does best:

 

8. Tine Thing Helseth–Norwegian trumpeter, Tine has recorded numerous albums. Here’s a performance with an all-women orchestra in Norway.

 

Ryan Anthony, Principal Trumpet of the Dallas Symphony
Ryan Anthony, Principal Trumpet of the Dallas Symphony

 

9. Ryan Anthony, one the most naturally gifted trumpeters I know, Ryan has spent a lot of time in quintets (like the Center City Brass Quintet and the Canadian Brass Quintet), but he is an amazing soloist. Here he is at Lindenwood Christian Church performing with organist Gary Beard. No complete takes here, but you can get the idea. He’s a virtuoso!

 

 

 

10. Matthias Höfs, is one of my favorite German trumpet players (and I have many!).  I thought I would offer up this “Spanish Christmas” video with his strange two-bell trumpet (one for mute). He has played with the German Brass since 1985. His piccolo playing is also amazing.


Comments

41 responses to “My Top Ten List of Classical Trumpet Soloists Living Today”

  1. Paul jones Avatar
    Paul jones

    Would it be possible to obtain the cd you refer to in your practice routine. I use the James stamp routines but would like to try your practice routines and use your cd recording you mentioned for the warmup,

    Many thanks

  2. Dirk Sorensby Avatar
    Dirk Sorensby

    Interesting. thanks for the post. Curious, was this list based on all trumpet players or narrowed down to some category? I’m wondering why you list, for instance, . Ryan Anthony. Have you heard Maurice Andre play the same passage? It seems not even a close match. have you heard Wynton play Hummel or carnival of Venice? Perhaps you have an age restriction or were just listing up-and-coming, lesser known trumpeters?

    1. Dirk–thank you for your comment!! This list is just my own observations. It is a list of living trumpeters, so, unfortunately, Maurice Andre cannot be on this list.
      About Ryan: I wished that I had more usable footage/audio from some of his more serious work, but much of this is restricted because of copyright issues, I suspect. Ryan is very much one of the most technically gifted trumpeters ever TO WALK THIS PLANET, in my opinion. My opinion is based on being at the same school with him for a year and also sharing a suite with him during a summer festival. Most of the time that I heard Ryan, I was dumbfounded! He is also a great musician in terms of interpretation, but his main reason for being on this list is his ability to play lyrically, to play with great endurance, to play with a great sound, to play high and to play with great technique.
      I do agree that Wynton would be great on this list. He is also a jaw-dropping trumpeter.

  3. I was looking for a list of trumpet players like Adolph (Bud) Herseth who are

    no more.

    Girish

    Mumbai, India

    1. Girish, what a great idea. I will consider doing this in the future!
      Thanks.

      1. Girish Trivedi Avatar
        Girish Trivedi

        Hi Stan,

        Still eagerly waiting.

        Best.

        Girish

  4. Eliseo Nino Avatar
    Eliseo Nino

    Thanks for these delightful Gifts!
    Well, Top Ten List are only Ten; but it would be nice to mention Wynton Marsalis, although not fully classico, his ability is outstanding

    Best regards

    1. Stanley Avatar
      Stanley

      Agreed, Eliseo.

  5. Robert Avatar
    Robert

    Top 10?
    I see 9 trumpeters listed.

    You skipped number 5 or removed it before I saw the list.

    1. Stanley Avatar
      Stanley

      Right you are. Sorry Robert. I’ll try to remedy this soon!

  6. zsazsa Avatar
    zsazsa

    How could you leave out Sergei Nakariakov?

    1. Stanley Avatar
      Stanley

      zsazsa–perfect! Of course!

  7. Frank Mittnacht Avatar
    Frank Mittnacht

    hi Stan,

    you mentioned to love a lot of german trumpet players. One of the older guys, Heinz Zickler, is living close to my place and I enjoied taking some lessons from him.
    He is now 95 and still in good shape, born and studied trumpet and organ in Dresden, later engagements in Mainz.

    Just to let you know. If you like to meet a witness of german classic trumpet and organ music ( Master of Bach interpretation) I could be of help.

    Keep going,
    Frank

    1. Stanley Avatar
      Stanley

      Vielen dank, Frank! I do not know much about Heinz Zickler, but I did find this on YouTube–a movement from a recording he made in the 1960s. This is Hertel, Concerto in D for trumpet, 2 oboes and 2 bassoons. I like his playing very much!
      https://youtu.be/2ddUtYrvMMw

  8. John-Andrew Murphy Avatar
    John-Andrew Murphy

    This is a wonderful list, however there are a few you missed:

    Markus Stockhausen, Marco Blaauw, Daniel Rosenboom (Googel his videos), Mark Gould, Gabrielle Cassone, Urban Agnas, are just a few.

    The work being done at Chosen Vale in New Hampshire is amazing, as well. It’s run by my former teacher, Edward Carroll, and it’s an incubator of incredible talent. Carroll, Cassone, Tom Stevens, Hardenberger (he’s probably the leading soloist out there right now), and others of their caliber on faculty each summer.

    1. Benjamin Piela Avatar
      Benjamin Piela

      Mark Gould is a character that’s for sure.

  9. Haley Gardener Avatar
    Haley Gardener

    Hi, you really have to add James Morrison to the list! Have you heard him play? He is outstanding. Perhaps take out one and add him in! Morrison must be on there.

  10. timojuice Avatar
    timojuice

    Nice to know these players. But nobody mentions such as Ludvig Güttler from Germany, still performing. Also Maurice André from France, who is already passed away, was skillfull.

    1. Maurice Andre is the best concert trumpeter IMO. I’ve been listening to his music for 40 years and still get goosebumps when I hear his trumpet playing.

  11. Alison Balsom is always my favourite trumpeter! I am a student who plays trumpet in Hong Kong and I love listening to her performance of concertos so much!!!!!

    1. I really like Alison Balsom, too, Zeta! Good luck with your trumpet playing.

  12. Randy G. Avatar
    Randy G.

    I think there is someone missing….. I would put Wynton Marsalis in that list. If you watch him play the Carnival of Venice directed by John Williams, just amazing and incredible. Unquestionable one of the best trumpetist of this age

    1. I agree

  13. This seems more like up and comers (besides a few), especially those with strong youtube and social media presence. Some big ones off the top of the head missing, to me: Wynton, Vizzutti, Doc Severinsen (old, but not gone!), Christopher Martin, Sachs, Jim Thompson, Hickman, Barbara Butler, Mark Inouye and I’m sure plenty more.
    Much larger list if you include our dearly departed virtuosos

    1. Brad–good comment. Obviously, there’s room for more names at the top of the classical trumpet soloist! I’ll give you my reasons for not including some of these names. For Wynton, Vizzutti and Doc, I view their contributions as leaning toward jazz or commercial playing. Wynton, of course, has recorded some immensely popular (and often very high-quality) classical gems. For Chris Martin, Mike Sachs, Jim Thompson and Mark Inouye, I see their contributions as primarily in the orchestral realm. I haven’t heard much of Barbara Butler’s playing, but I know it’s good–just not a lot. David Hickman probably should be on the list for his large contributions to live and recorded solo efforts.

  14. Angel Pena Avatar
    Angel Pena

    Sergei Nakariakov and Pacho Flores .

    1. Lino Varano Avatar
      Lino Varano

      And Caleb Hudson (Canadian Brass), Thomas Gansch (Mnozil Brass and an excellent Jazz player as well), and Wynton Marsalis please.

  15. I would add Ole Edvard Antonsen

    1. Stanley Avatar
      Stanley

      I agree, Erik!

  16. PA Trumpet Avatar
    PA Trumpet

    I’d consider add Miraslav Kejmer and/or Marek Zvolenek. Both are Czech. Hard to get their recordings or performances if not in CR, though.

  17. Bibi Black of the Philadelphia Orchestra is a soloist.

    1. Stanley Avatar
      Stanley

      Thanks, John. Bibi WAS in the Philadelphia Orchestra. And she WAS a trumpet soloist–quite good, but she’s not performing nowadays, that I can tell.

  18. Ameyring Avatar
    Ameyring

    Frank Kaderabek, first trumpet of Philly Orchestra, though retired for quite some time, still does some performing at 90 years old.

  19. Lino Varano Avatar
    Lino Varano

    Don’t forget Allen Vizzuti as well.

  20. Ludwig Güttler not on the list? OMG

    1. Norman Drews Avatar
      Norman Drews

      Exactly. Incredible player

  21. Joel Kent Avatar
    Joel Kent

    Looking for Pacho Flores on the list. Perhaps he was not so accomplished when you first compiled this list?

    1. Correct. This list is about 9 years old.

  22. John Dakin Avatar
    John Dakin

    Surprised Crispian Steele-Perkins is missing from this list ?

  23. Total waste of time. There are many great trumpet players. It is a very long list.

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