interview with Adrienne Doctor

I originally met Adrienne on a gig in the DC area and it was so great to hear from her in this interview. Adrienne has been doing great things in the DMV area and we are so excited to feature her here with the Brass Chicks community.


Adrienne Doctor is a trumpet player residing in the Washington DC area where she is a member of a premier military band. An active freelance musician and teacher, she has performed with Monarch Brass, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Richmond IN Symphony Orchestra, the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, and the Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra. She has given masterclasses at Duquesne University, Columbus State University, the University of Maryland, and various high schools around the country. Doctor has performed as a soloist at the Music For All National Summer Symposium, with the Seven Hills Sinfonietta, and the Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra. She attended the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestra Musicians in 2010 and 2011 and the Bar Harbor Brass Institute in 2013. Her primary teachers include Philip Collins, Alan Siebert, and Roger Sherman. She resides in northern Virginia with her husband and two cats.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and what you do. What group are you in?

My name is Adrienne Doctor, and I am a trumpet player in a premier military band in the Washington DC area. I also have a private studio in Fairfax County, VA. I did my BM in music education and MM in trumpet performance at the University of Cincinnati where I studied with Phil Collins and Alan Siebert. My husband is a trumpet player in the US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.


  1. What do you love about being a musician in the military? What about being a female brass player?

I feel a great deal of pride being a member of a military band. I feel that serving other people is my calling. Being a member of a military band has been the perfect fit for me, in that regard. On a daily basis, I get to serve others by providing musical support to citizens, service members, their families, and leaders of the US and other countries around the world. One of the most important parts of my job is honoring fallen service members in Arlington National Cemetery whether it is providing musical support in full honor and standard honor funerals or playing taps at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This aspect of my job is incredibly rewarding and humbling.

Being a female brass player certainly has its ups and downs. We are certainly a minority in military bands. I am only the fourth female trumpet player in my unit’s 95 year history. An important value in the military is selflessness, so I try not to think of myself as a female brass player, but, rather, a brass player who is there to do my job and serve my unit and the people. However, a significant part of our job as a musical organization is to reach all people. In that regard, it is really important to have a diverse band because it allows us to connect with and represent the entire population. Recently, my unit’s trumpet ensemble put on a recital in which I was the only female performing. After the concert, a few young girls immediately came up to me to talk and ask questions. It was certainly a moment of clarity. It reminded me of the importance of having female brass players in the band. Those girls saw someone up on stage who was like them which made them able to connect with the concert and music in a different way had it only been men. It is so important to empower the next generation and show them that women can do anything. Similarly, I enjoy playing taps at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and hearing young girls and boys whisper, “it’s a girl,” as I march by.


  1. Having a stable and rewarding job playing for a living is something many of us strive for. Have your goals changed since you joined the group? Any future plans or projects you are a part of in addition to the group? Tell us about your work playing for veterans and on the organizing side of the Patriot Brass Ensemble.

My goals seem to be constantly changing. When I was an undergraduate, I had every intention of becoming a beginning band or junior high band director. When I was a masters student, my goal was to make a living as a performer. After that dream was realized and I joined the military, my goal has been to be the best soldier musician possible. I hope to contribute as much as possible to the important mission of the band. Currently, most of my personal goals are related to community outreach and service. I volunteer at a homeless shelter, for a hospice center, at various retirement homes, and for the Patriot Brass Ensemble, which is a non-profit organization geared toward providing live concerts to veterans in VA retirement facilities around the country. One of the best parts of being in a military band is having the flexibility and time to volunteer. I have been through many difficult times in my life and have had to rely on the generosity of others. However, even during the most difficult of days, it was always easy to remember how blessed I am and that no matter how bad it got, I knew that many others have it way worse. My personal challenges made me determined to make the lives of those who are struggling better. My mother spent the last few months of her life in a nursing facility where I lived with her as her caretaker. Any program or event that the facility put on would make her and my whole week. This coupled with my military service inspired me to get involved in the Patriot Brass Ensemble and become the vice president of the board of directors. There is not much better than bringing a smile to the face of a veteran in a nursing or retirement facility. I always have plans to perform recitals at retirement facilities in a solo or chamber setting. Also, I have dreams to start a music program for kids at the homeless shelter where I volunteer.


  1. Is there anything you wished you had known as a student or young professional that you know now? Any advice that you’d like to share with younger female musicians?

My best advice to music students is to live your life fully outside the practice room. Our life experiences shape who we are as musicians and the kind of music that we make. Music has the ability to tell stories and make people feel many different emotions. You can tell these stories and convey these emotions best if you have experienced these emotions yourself. Also, college students who aspire to be performers or educators should focus on building professional and friendly relationships with their peers. Perfect grades are not all that important. Get out there and perform as much as possible with and for your peers and mentors. Focus on learning for yourself and not for your GPA. I also wish that I had started taking auditions sooner. I took my first audition as a masters student. Everything worked out and I won a job while finishing my masters degree. However, I felt that I learned more about myself as a musician after I took my first audition, and it helped me become competitive at future auditions.

My best advice to female brass players is to not be too focused on being a minority. You just have to focus on being the best you can be. Generally, women have to be that much more professional and that much better a musician to be taken seriously. Encourage each other and be proud of yourself and all you’ve accomplished. Also, do yourself a favor and go to the International Women’s Brass Conference in 2019. I went to the conference for the first time in 2017, and I have never felt so comfortable and supported in a musical environment. It was an inspiring week that I will never forget.


interview with Alaina Alster

We are so excited to start featuring interviews from members of military groups across the country! Our first interview is with trombonist Alaina Alster who is a member of the West Point Band here in New York. Thank you Alaina for sharing your time and thoughts with the Brass Chicks community!

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Trombonist Alaina Alster has been a member of the West Point Band since 2013.

Prior to joining the West Point Band, Alaina was an active freelance musician in New York City where she enjoyed a career performing a wide range of musical genres.  She is also a music educator and has worked as a teaching artist for the Phil Ramone Orchestra for Children, as well as a private music instructor.
Originally from Long Island, NY, Alaina began playing the trombone at
the age of nine, but shortly after beginning switched to
 Euphonium.  When she turned twelve she picked up trombone again and began pursing both instruments.  In 2002 she was accepted 
to the University of Michigan as a double major in trombone and 
euphonium performance where she studied with David Jackson and Fritz
Kaenzig.  Alaina received her Masters in trombone performance from the 
Manhattan School of Music in 2010 and studied with Stephen Norrell.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and what you do. What group are you in?


I am a trombonist with the West Point Band. I primarily play in a wind band, brass quintet and marching band. I also continue to freelance around NYC and am a member of the quintet Collective Brass.


  1. What do you love about being a musician in the military? What about being a female brass player?


I love that my job is never dull and everyday brings something different.  Here are just a handful of examples of the kinds of things that could happen in any given week… Concerts for the surrounding communities, ceremonies for presidents and dignitaries, football halftime shows, various televised events, funerals, military ceremonies, parades, collaborative concerts with Juilliard, masterclasses at local schools, recording projects,  playing for a cartwheel world record setting event…yes, they get pretty ridiculous sometimes!


As for being a female brass player, I am proud to be a part of a community that is pushing boundaries and helping in our way to prove that women are just as capable as men in every facet of life.


  1. Having a stable and rewarding job playing for a living is something many of us strive for. Have your goals changed since you joined the group? Any future plans or projects you are a part of in addition to the group?


Yes my goals have changed a bit.  The goals I set now are put in place to ensure that I keep growing and improving as a musician.  Having a steady job is great, but in my particular job, there can be periods where the playing we are doing is not particularly challenging. I strive to challenge myself through my personal practice, outside projects, and just being sure that I am trying to play my best even if I am playing Stars and Stripes for the millionth time that week.


I do have some projects and groups that I am working with outside of West Point. I will be a guest artist this spring at East Tennessee State University as a part of their Low Brass Festival.  I also just finished a recording project with the quintet I am a part of, Collective Brass, and we will be giving some recitals this winter and spring.

Besides that I am always eager to play with other groups when those opportunities present themselves.


  1. Is there anything you wished you had known as a student or young professional that you know now? Any advice that you’d like to share with younger female musicians?


Yes, absolutely. I wish I had realized that there would never again be a time in your life when you could dedicate as much time and energy to practicing, playing and studying all things music!  I would have taken advantage of that time even more than I did.  I think things only get more complicated once we are out in the real world, and all of those hours in your day will have to be allocated to so many different things.  The reality is that for most of us, we will graduate without a steady job, and will likely be juggling a day job, practicing and gigging, being our own manager and promoter etc.  So really enjoy that time in your life where you can just completely immerse yourself in music.


My advice for younger female musicians would be to not focus on the fact that you are female. My focus was always on playing my best and not letting my gender be any sort of a handicap. Sometimes it will seem like being a woman is putting you at a disadvantage, and other times it may actually seem like it gives you a leg up.  Focus on your musicianship…it doesn’t matter what gender you identify with.  Don’t give those people who judge a book by it’s cover the time of day.


  1. Any resources you recommend? For example, are there any books, podcasts, recordings that changed your life, etc?


For me the resources I have turned to have been teachers, colleagues and friends. I have been surrounded by amazingly talented musicians my whole life and they have been the biggest influences on me.  They have been the biggest source of knowledge and inspiration. Take time to talk to all these people in your life, ask them for advice,  listen to them play, go to their shows, play with them!

interview with Mariachi Flor de Toloache – NYC’s first and only All-Women mariachi group

We are so excited to continue to interview trailblazing female musicians who continue to push boundaries and inspire musicians everywhere. This group has been on my radar for a while and it was so great to hear from Mireya from Mariachi Flor de Toloache – about her experiences with the group and changing the musical landscape.


Latin Grammy Nominees Mariachi Flor de Toloache make New York City history as its’ First and Only All­-Women Mariachi Group. Founded in 2008, Mariachi Flor de Toloache is lead by singers Mireya I. Ramos (founder) & Shae Fiol (founding member). Reminiscent of the early days of mariachi the group started as a trio, Harp, Violin and Vihuela. Today, Mariachi Flor De Toloache performs as a full Mariachi ensemble. The members hail from diverse cultural backgrounds such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Australia, Colombia, Germany, Italy and the United States. This defines their unique flavor and sound. The result of this cultural bouquet is an edgy, versatile and fresh take on traditional Mexican music. They coalesce as would a band of sisters, with a grace and vibrant beauty that casts a spell over their audiences not unlike the legendary Toloache flower still being used in Mexico as a love potion. While working to preserve centuries old traditions of Mariachi, their melange of the traditional and the modern pushes the boundaries of the genre and brings Mariachi music to new audiences.

*** read their complete bio here ****


1. From the Latin Grammy nomination to the upcoming and recent tours, Mariachi Flor de Toloache is extremely impressive as NYC’s first and only Mariachi group. Tell us about your experiences! Anything coming up soon?

•It has been quite a beautiful and empowering adventure. We started in 2008 knowing we wanted to experiment with the tradition of mariachi which had been passed down by my dad. Little did we know that by being persistent, playing for tips, playing in the subway in the middle of winter, dealing with much criticism for not following the tradition as is, it would all lead to being nominated for our first self produced album then recently nominated again for our second album. It’s definitely mind blowing how much you can accomplish when you’re persistent, true to yourself, passionate and follow your vision. More important than the recognition of an award, is the continuous inspiration we spread to young girls and boys. Seeing them singing along to our songs and connecting to our music is priceless!

Right now we are touring with legendary Cafetacvba which has been a dream of ours!

Then we start our west coast Day of the dead tour with La Santa Cecilia and Mexrissey Oct 27-Nov 3rd

We end our tour at the Latin Grammys where we will be performing at the Ceremony accompanying Natalia Fourcade 11/16.

This week we were featured on the new release of Paul McCartneys Holidays Rule Vol.2. On one of the tracks titled- That’s what I want for Christmas

2.  What have you done as a group/individually to get to where you are today? Any secrets for success?

•I always suggest to just go out there and jam! That’s the best school for music. , I jammed a lot, sat in all over NYC. Would always show up to someone’s gig with my instrument, performed, recorded and collaborated for free a lot to gain experience and make connections. I went out there and networked lots. I also tried to play as much different genres of music that I could taking advantage that I’m in a melting pot of a city.

I always say leave your ego at home, open your heart and just play music! There nothing like it! Also, finding & creating your own sound, style and passion is important.

3. As fellow female musicians in a male dominated industry, do you think we have a specific role or responsibility as female brass players or mariachi musicians? How do you incorporate that (or not) into your own life as a musician? Do you have any advice for young female musicians? 

•What I’ve learned working with men is that you can’t change their behavior or way of thinking over night. There are many ways to shine and still accomplish what you want.

We do have a responsibility to be aware that machismo exists in all cultures and that we as women need to have each other’s back but to also be aware that we need to work on our dynamics – Woman to Woman. Once we brake that I think the change in men will happen organically with the new generations to come. We have to set an example and inspire each other!

4. Is there anything you wished you had known as a student or young professional that you know now? Any advice that you’d like to share with younger musicians?

•I wish I would of focused more on this project sooner. I wanted to play and do so many things at same time that sometimes my vision of where I wanted this project to go was blurred at times. I also wished I would of had more confidence as a woman. As a professional musician, I wish I would of known them all I know about music business now.

5. Any resources you recommend? Books, podcasts, recordings that changed your life etc.

•I didn’t listen to much music but once I started paying attention to music on Spotify, Pandora, etc and making my playlists, it really motivated me to write and arrange more music. Also seeing how you can change someone’s life through music or even connect with someone who doesn’t speak your language, is what keeps me motivated to do what we do.


Interview with Natalie Cressman

We are so excited to continue our new series featuring women brass players who push boundaries and play outside the box of a standard path for a “conservatory trained musician.” Our first interview features trombonist Natalie Cressman whom I have met freelancing in NYC and it was such a pleasure to read her responses.

Possessing a voice as cool and crystalline as an Alpine stream, Natalie Cressman is a rising singer/ songwriter and trombonist who draws inspiration from a vast array of deep and powerful musical currents. Her new five-song EP Traces reveals her latest evolution, a sleek and sensuous electronica-laced sound with even a trace or two of dance floor sweat. Steadily evolving in many directions, the 25-year-old Cressman has already put down deep roots in several overlapping scenes. A prodigiously talented New York City-based trombonist, she’s spent the past seven years touring the jam band circuit as a horn player and vocalist with Phish‘s Trey Anastasio (and recently played with Phish at Madison Square Garden). Deeply versed in Latin jazz, post-bop, pop, and Brazilian music, she tapped the interlaced traditions on her first two solo albums, 2012’s Unfolding and 2014’s Turn the Sea. The Traces EP follows on the heels of 2016’s Etchings in Amber, a gorgeous duo album with guitarist Mike Bono that introduced Cressman as a formidable musical force without her horn. While the project focuses on songs featuring lyrics she wrote for several Bono compositions, Cressman also wrote words and music for three of her songs, contributing to the atmospheric suite of jazz-inflected, genre-bending tunes. With Traces, Cressman expands her creative reach into post-production, meticulously crafting soundscaped tracks. Her vocal work in increasingly intimate and rhythmically insinuating settings has revealed an artist who can thrive in any setting, from raucous, reverberant halls to packed and pulsing lofts and nightclubs. In an epoch marked by infinite musical possibilities, Natalie Cressman is a singular force who draws from an improbable breadth of sonic realms. Cressman is An artist endorser for King Trombones.


  1. From your background in jazz and latin music to playing in the jam band scene with Phish and Trey Anastasio band, it certainly seems like you are a well rounded musician. How did you get started with your own work as a composer/singer-songwriter?

I started writing in high school here and there but I didn’t get fully into it until I moved to NYC to go to college and had opportunities every week to bring in original music and hear it played by my combo. At first I was writing mostly instrumental songs in the modern-jazz vein, but incorporated a lot of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian rhythmic and harmonic ideas. Those elements just kinda flowed naturally into my music, even when I was arranging standards or doing something more straight ahead. At that time I also was listening to a lot of Joni Mitchell and finding work by contemporary artists like Becca Stevens and Gretchen Parlato that took elements of more folk-based singer/songwriter styles and fused it with jazz. Being inspired by them is what really brought me into writing the way I do now, which is a lot more song-based and informed by the lyrics and vocal component.

  1. How do you balance touring/working as a side-woman with your own daily maintenance on the trombone and your work with your own music as a singer songwriter?  Any secrets of success for fellow musicians balancing diverse interests and busy schedules?

It’s definitely a struggle to find time to maintain a routine while touring. And sometimes even when I’m in town, if I’m deep into a writing project and have a deadline coming up, or have to learn 15 songs for an upcoming gig, it’s also easy to let my practice routine fall by the wayside. I also play some other instruments (guitar, piano, and bass) that I try to maintain and improve my skills on by shedding too so I’m often left with the feeling that I wished there were more hours in the day.

But with the trombone, I try to stick to similar exercises for a few weeks at a time and then change up my routine every month or so to keep finding new things to work on. I then try touch on those concepts every day even if I’m on the road. Even if my schedule is absolutely insane I make sure to get at least 30 min in before I leave my house or if I’m on the road, allow for at least 30min before soundcheck to have some time to myself to get properly warmed up. I know that’s not a lot, but it’s an achievable goal and so much better than skipping a day and going straight to a gig or rehearsal without feeling warmed up and centered.  Especially if I’m on tour with Trey Anastasio, we often soundcheck for 1-2 hours and the show is around 3.5 hours long, so I am also trying not to tire out my chops by over-practicing on show days. I also like to come up with a routine made up of exercises that kill two birds with one stone – for instance,  where I’m working on slide coordination but in the context of a scale, mode, or pattern, that could also be applied to improvising or theory.

  1. Do you think we have a specific role or responsibility as female brass players? How do you incorporate that (or not) into your own life as a musician?

That’s a great question. I do feel some sense of personal responsibility for whatever reason to prove preconceptions about female musicians wrong. Whether it’s from within the band, or the sound guy, or band management, or the audience, there are a lot of instances where my ability is underestimated or my knowledge/experience challenged and I have to say I’m pretty positive it’s because I’m a girl. So I guess I feel this responsibility to be as good as I can be and try and deal with those situations as gracefully as I can. I hope that by modeling professionalism I can change the stereotypes and make it easier for the next generation of female brass players to feel like they’re only being judged on their musical ability and not other superficial factors.

  1. Do you see any specific challenges for musicians in today’s climate? How do you mitigate those on your own or when teaching?

I think it’s incredibly difficult to make a living playing music, unless you’re interested in commercial and electronic music (and even then, though the path to success may be a little more defined, it’s still hard).  The music business today is so much more about image, social media engagement, and appeal to key demographics than the music that it can be kinda disheartening when starting your own project. But I’ve found opportunities to still be able to stay true to who I am musically while making a living by diversifying the kinds of music I play. I was trained to be a jazz musician, but I studied a lot of funk and rock repertoire and stylings and now I get a lot of work playing as a sidemen and special guest in more established bands, which allows me to fund my solo project and play shows with my band that might be more for the music’s sake than any kind of financial gain. I think especially for horn players this is a really great approach, but it kind of goes against what I was taught in music school, which was that it is better to be the best at 1 one thing/genre. I’ve found that being stylistically versatile has opened a lot of doors for me, though I may not be “the best” at any one thing. Everyone is different, as is everyone’s definition of success. For me, success is being able to make the music that makes me happy and the most inspired while being able to pay my bills and have a well-rounded life.

  1. Is there anything you wished you had known as a student or young professional that you know now? Any advice that you’d like to share with younger female musicians?

I wish that I had given myself permission to branch out from jazz a little earlier, and I attribute that largely to the institutional bias that jazz is the most sophisticated and therefore the best genre. That sense of musical superiority held me back from learning about other important American music not to mention musical traditions from outside of the U.S. It took me a couple years of being in NYC to readjust this value system I had been taught in music school and realize that there’s a LOT of really high quality music out there that has nothing to do with jazz. Harmonic sophistication is just one element out of so many ways that music can be rich and run deep and looking at the music world as a whole with an open mind only brought me to a greater variety of opportunities.

  1. Any resources you recommend? Books, podcasts, recordings that changed your life etc.

Laurie Frink’s teaching method really changed my life in terms of brass technique. I was lucky to study with her while she was still alive but I know a lot of teaching materials about her method are floating around the internet and I really recommend checking it out. It helped me play in a healthy balanced way where I was able to endure long and loud gigs without hurting or burning out my chops. Her technique made it possible for me to maintain good technique no matter what the musical situation or nature of the music, so I could go straight from a New Orleans brass band gig to playing Brazilian choro for instance without any chop readjustments.

An Interview with Lori Eure

This week at Brass Chicks, we are pleased to share an interview with Lori Eure. Lori is a singer, actor, musician, and dancer, who also doubles on a variety of instruments. In the recent Cabaret national tour, she performed on trumpet, horn, euphonium, and accordion, in addition to singing, acting, and dancing. A true quadruple threat, Lori has a unique perspective on musicianship and artistic life.

About Lori Eure

headshot 3 .jpgLori Eure, originally from North Carolina, currently lives in New York, NY. Lori is a singer, actor, musician, and dancer. Some theatre credits include: Broadway: Cabaret (at the infamous Studio 54) Sally Bowles understudy/Kit Kat Girl. National tour: Cabaret. Regional Theatre: Ring of FireThe Buddy Holly Story, Wonderland, We Will Rock You (Las Vegas Cast), Beehive at The Kennedy Center, Annie, and Guys-n-Dolls. TV credits include: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Spin City. Lori gives much thanks and love to her family and friends. “Life and love go on… Let the music play!”

From Ravelle Brickman’s review of Cabaret in DC Metro Theatre Arts:
“…Some of the stand-outs are Lori Eure, who cavorts on a bannister while playing a mean French horn, plus a gaggle of sax players, horns and strings, clarinets, accordions and drums and even a banjo.”

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An Interview with Caroline Steiger

This week, we are excited to share an interview with Dr. Caroline Steiger, Assistant Professor of Music and Artist/Teacher of Horn at Texas State University.  We love her thoughts on education and the changing nature of the music world!

About Caroline Steiger

Dr. SteigerDr. Caroline Steiger is an active teacher, clinician, and performer both in large and small ensemble settings. Caroline grew up in Southeast Michigan and went on to study at the University of Michigan, earning a B.M. in Horn performance with Teacher Certification in 2010, Penn State University where she earned her M.M. in Horn Performance, and the University of Michigan, earning her D.M.A. in performance in 2015.

Dr. Steiger is currently the Assistant Professor of Music and Artist/Teacher of Horn at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX. She has held positions at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music (Visiting Assistant Professor of Horn, 2014), Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (Horn Instructor, Summer 2017), Penn State University (Teacher Assistant), and the University of Michigan (Graduate Student Assistant). Several of her students have gone on to study music at the undergraduate and graduate level, while her high school and middle school students have participated in State Solo and Ensemble (MI) as well as the Michigan Youth Arts Festival. While at Penn State University, Caroline was the Assistant Director of the Penn State Horn Ensemble and helped plan tours that included performances at the Pennsylvania Music Educator’s Association (PMEA) conference, Lancaster, and Hershey, PA.

Dr. Steiger’s work as a musician includes regular performances with the Mid-Texas Symphony and Round Rock Symphony Orchestras. She has played with the San Antonio Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra during their 2015 US tour. In addition, Caroline has held Principal positions with the Dearborn Symphony (Dearborn, MI), Adrian Symphony (Adrian, MI), Rochester Symphony (Rochester, MI), Oakland Symphony (Rochester, MI), Orchestra of Northern New York (Potsdam, NY), and the Northern Symphonic Winds (Potsdam, NY). Caroline has performed in great halls across the country, including Carnegie Hall, Orchestra Hall in Detroit, Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, and Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, getting a chance to work with conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Leonard Slatkin, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Stefan Sanderling, Lio Kuokman, Karina Canellakis, and Giordano Bellincampi.

Committed to chamber music, Caroline has played with the Potsdam Brass Quintet, faculty quintet-in-residence at SUNY Potsdam, the Emblems Woodwind Quintet, an Ann Arbor-based quintet focused on performing new and underrepresented works, and in 2015 participated in a chamber music residency at the University of Michigan with New York Philharmonic principal winds where she performed with Philip Myers.

Dr. Steiger’s main teachers include Adam Unsworth, Bryan Kennedy, Lisa Bontrager, Soren Hermansson, and Corbin Wagner. She has also studied with and participated in masterclasses with Gail Williams, Fergus McWilliam, David Krehbiel, Robert Ward, Bernhard Scully, and Jeffrey Lang.

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Interview with Bella Tromba

We are so excited to continue last month’s theme of interviews with inspiring women-led ensembles and feature the London-based trumpet quartet Bella Tromba.

Portrait shoot. East Dulwich. Sunday 5 June 2016.

Bella Tromba hold a unique position in the UK’s chamber music scene, offering a pioneering performance style and a commitment to programming outstanding brass repertoire.

Bella Tromba have presented recitals at Cheltenham Music Festival, South Bank’s Purcell Room and recorded for BBC Radio. Opening night concerts at the St David’s Cathedral Festival, Cambridge Music Festival and Wymondham Abbey Music Festival were performed to sell out audiences and they have been featured on the cover of Classical Music Magazine and Brass Herald.  Continue reading

Interview with Natalie Mannix

We are so excited to continue our September theme of celebrating inspiring teachers with our interview featuring trombonist and educator, Natalie Mannix. 

Natalie Mannix, principal trombonist of the Delaware Symphony, is an avid soloist, chamber musician, orchestral performer and educator. In fall of 2016 she began her current position as Assistant Professor of Trombone at the University of North Texas after teaching 8 years at Towson University in Baltimore. Previously, she was a member of the United States Navy Band in Washington, DC for over 9 years where she performed with the brass quintet, concert and ceremonial band.

She has appeared as guest artist and clinician at colleges and conferences throughout North America, including the 2016 and 2013 International Trombone Festival, the International Women’s Brass Conference, the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic and the American Trombone Workshop. In addition to frequent performances with the Baltimore Symphony, Natalie has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Opera and Kennedy Center Orchestras, the Washington Trombone Ensemble, the Monarch Brass, Stiletto Brass and several regional orchestras and brass ensembles. A new music advocate, she has commissioned several works for trombone and continues to perform and promote music by emerging composers.  Continue reading

An Interview with Kristy Morrell

Kristy Morrell is a faculty member at USC’s Thornton School of Music as instructor of horn and chamber music and the chair of the department of Winds, Brass and Percussion, and at the Colburn School of Music. She has been a member of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since 1997, and performs frequently with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Opera, Pasadena Symphony, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Pacific Symphony and New West Symphony. She is also a respected recording artist, performing on numerous motion pictures, television soundtracks and records. Kristy has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from USC, where she also received her Master of Music, and a Bachelor of Music and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. (Bio adapted from

We are honored to share Dr. Morrell’s thoughtful interview responses!
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