Standout Trumpeter Brings Versatile Experience

MSU College of Music welcomes trumpet faculty member, Justin Emerich

Justin Emerich, associate professor of trumpet, August 2015

Acclaimed trumpet player Justin Emerich has performed nationally and internationally, and has typically lived in big cities on the East and West Coasts. But when he heard of a chance to live in the Midwest and be on the faculty of Michigan State University, he never looked back.

"It's an amazing opportunity both professionally and personally," says Emerich who will join the College of Music as an associate professor of trumpet this August. "I'm really looking forward to being part of a community, living in a college town, and working with such impressive students and faculty."

Emerich comes to MSU as a masterful trumpeter capable of playing a range of genres. His orchestral experience includes serving as an acting associate principal trumpet of the San Francisco Symphony, as well as a performer and featured soloist for dozens of prestigious symphonies and ensembles worldwide. Emerich is also an avid chamber musician and has toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, and all 50 states with such prominent groups as the Canadian Brass.

Emerich's experiences extend to performing on Broadway and with rock, soul, pop, and classical artists ranging from Diana Ross to Yo-Yo Ma to Ben Folds. That versatility, he says, is partly inherent to the instrument, and kept him hooked on the trumpet since he started playing in the 4th grade.

"I enjoy playing at the back of an orchestra, at the front of a stage, in a Euro-pop band, or duets on the street," says Emerich. "The trumpet allows me to do anything and everything I want with music."

Professor of Tuba and Euphonium Philip Sinder says Emerich's range of experience made him a strong candidate for MSU's music program that increasingly works to prepare students for careers as 21st century musicians.

"We were struck by his ability to relate to both undergraduate and graduate students and to teach and apply performance at such a high artistic level," says Sinder who chaired the College's search committee. "He explains concepts both technically and musically in a way that will be a winning combination for our students and our program."

Director of Bands Kevin Sedatole was also part of the selection process, and says he is delighted that Emerich decided to join the faculty.

“He is a superlative teacher and player who brings a wealth of orchestral and chamber music experience that will benefit our students greatly,” says Sedatole.

Emerich will assume leadership of the MSU Trumpet Studio upon the retirement of Richard Illman, a 25-year-faculty member and associate professor of trumpet. Illman will work with Emerich during the transition, and will stay on at MSU as a consultant to teach classes and coach music once or twice a week.

"I'm excited about him being here," says Illman. "He's a great player, a great person, and will be doing great things to take the studio to a new level."

Emerich comes to MSU from a faculty position at the University of Las Vegas. He is a graduate of the Juilliard School and also served as an artist-in-residence and assistant trumpet professor at Grand Valley State University.

Justin Emerich represents the best of the 21st Century musician: a highly artistic communicator who is fluent in many styles and types of music and ensembles," says James Forger, dean of the College of Music. "We are delighted that he joins us as a partner pressing boundaries and working with colleagues to make this one of the premier colleges of music."

Justin Emerich Bio

A nationally renowned trumpeter and teacher with extensive national and international performing experience, Justin Emerich, joins the Michigan State University College of Music faculty effective in the 2015-2016 academic year. Emerich’s orchestral experience includes serving as acting associate principal trumpet of the San Francisco Symphony, as well as performing with the St Louis Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, San Francisco Opera, Malaysia Philharmonic, Seoul Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, Grant Park Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony, Palm Beach Opera Orchestra, and the New World Symphony. He has been a featured soloist with the Seattle Symphony and the Fulcrum Point New Music Ensemble in Chicago. In April 2013, Emerich was singled out as one of the San Francisco Symphony's "superb soloists" by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Emerich is also an avid chamber musician and has been a member of, and toured with, such groups as the Canadian Brass, Burning River Brass, Proteus 7, the Avatar Brass, and Pink Martini. Performing with these groups, he traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, and all 50 states in the U.S. While with the world famous Canadian Brass, he performed as solo-piccolo trumpet and collaborated with the New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra brass sections. Emerich and the Canadian Brass were also featured with the New Jersey Symphony and premiered a new work by Bramwell Tovey with the Vancouver Symphony. He is currently the piccolo trumpet of Burning River BrassEmerich performed in numerous Broadway shows in New York City including Kiss Me Kate, Into the Woods, and 42nd Street.

After earning his degree, he became artist-in-residence and assistant trumpet professor at Grand Valley State University. Emerich has performed with such artists as Diana Ross, Burt Bacharach, Natalie Cole, Wayne Newton, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Yo-Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, Doc Severinsen, Allen Vizzutti, Renee Fleming, Sufjan Stevens, Ben Folds, and Vanessa Williams. He has recorded for hundreds of TV, movie, and video game soundtracks, and can be heard as the lone trumpet on The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock. Emerich has recorded various CDs for the Columbia, SFS Media, Naxos, New World, Dorian, Burmermusic, LML music, and Albany record labels.

Emerich, who comes to Michigan State University from a faculty position at University of Las Vegas, is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music.

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