Desperately seeking an update!

Hello all and welcome to the UMass Trumpet Studio website. Unfortunately, it has not been updated in a very long time, so here are just a few items of interest in recent years. 

First of all, we have had a plethora of wonderful guests coming through including Stephen Burns, Fred Holmgren, Mark Reese, Vince DiMartino,

Vince DiMartino w/Doug Amos

and most notably, the 2015-16 academic year featured a day long residency with Doc Severinsen and a week long residency with Charles Schlueter (retired BSO principal trumpet). 

Doc Severinsen and Charles Schlueter



The trumpet studio continues to distinguish itself. In 2014 the UMass Trumpet Ensemble took 4th place at the National Trumpet Competition and accompanied Eric to perform at the Schagerl International Brass Festival in Melk, Austria.  To celebrate, Eric commissioned composer James Stephenson to write a new work “Unplugged” which they premiered at the following year’s NTC. 

UMass Trumpet Studio alumni Andrew Stetson, Alex Lee-Clark and Tom Bergeron have given wonderful performances and masterclasses. Alumni Gary Bernice was given UMass’ “Outstanding Young Alumni Award” for his incredible work at SciTech High School in Springfield. 

UMass Alumni Steve Felix, who took 2nd place in the NTC undergraduate division a few years ago, topped that with a win in the Graduate Division

Mahler 2 With Albany Symphony Orchestra – Andy Stetson, Tom Bergeron and Steve Felix

Several alumni have joined Eric in performances with the Albany Symphony and Boston Philharmonic Orchestra which is always a thrill for him. 

Verdi Requiem with Boston Philharmonic Doug Amos, Andy Stetson and Katie Driscoll


And, in case you hadn’t heard, the Eric’s recent solo recording with the UMass Wind Ensemble got a Grammy Nomination. It was a project featuring all works which Eric commissioned for trumpet and wind ensemble. The Stephen Paulus Concerto for Two Trumpets and Wind Ensemble was nominated for best contemporary composition. It is a thrill for all involved!

Mike Valerio

The studio is thriving and our alumni are out doing great work and performers and teachers. There is too much to say in this single post, but we hope to update this page with more detail about the great things going on in the future. 

Among all of the wonderful news, our family suffered a severe loss last May. One of our own left us far too young. Mike Valerio, you will be sorely missed. rest in peace. 

Welcome to a brand new year!

The UMASS Trumpet Studio is a point of pride for the entire university. Seen providing fanfares for special events, outreach to the community, leadership in our ensembles and national and international visibility in competition as soloists and ensembles, I am so lucky to work with these incredible young musicians.

A few highlights from last year in the trumpet studio were:

  • UMASS Trumpet Ensemble Performed for the inauguration of the University’s new President, Robert Caret at the John F. Kennedy Library
  • UMASS Trumpet Ensemble Performed at the University Open House
  • Newly formed Pioneer Valley Trumpet Guild, A chapter of the International Trumpet Guild, Hosted TRUMPET DAY with special guest Vince DiMartino
  • Visit by Jazz Great Randy Brecker!
  • Visit by Center City Brass Quintet
  • Masterclass by Charles Schlueter
  • UMASS Trumpet Ensemble advanced to the Semi-Final round of the National Trumpet Competition performing Jeff Holmes “Sevens Realm”
  • Scott Nichols and Micah Maurio advanced to the semi-finals of the National Trumpet Competition as soloists.

The graduating class from fall 2011 and spring 2012 have already distinguished themselves with the following great new jobs:

  • Ann Dorgan – Stoughton Public Schools
  • John Mange – Director of Bands – Stoughton High School
  • Matt Sypek – Converse Middle School – Palmer
  • Korey Charles – East Falmouth and Teaticket Elementary Schools
In addition, Senior John Mange received the UMASS 21st Century Leadership Award, a campuswide award and incredible honor. Well deserved John!

Other recent grads recently got new positions as well

  • Tom Bergeron – Principal Trumpet, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Fellowship at the Carnegie Hall Academy
  • Justin Carlin – Music Director at Academy of Aerospace and Engineering
  • Fred Sienciewicz – Professor of Trumpet at Keene State College and Plymouth State College, NH
  • Matt Repucci – Melrose High School
Recent UMASS Grad Gary Bernice was honored for his incredible work developing an inner city music program from scratch by New England Public Radio, The Arts and Humanities Award

The upcoming year promises to be amazing as well with the completion of our CD of music for Trumpet and Wind Ensemble and much more.  Thanks for checking in and visit us often!


The UMass Trumpet Ensemble goes to the National Trumpet Competition!

For the University of Massachusetts, the National Trumpet Competition began long before the ensemble semi-final round on March 15th. It actually began months earlier, with Professor Jeffrey Holmes composing a piece of music set for seven trumpets. This piece was written specifically for the UMass Trumpet Ensemble, and was meant to feature the strengths of its members. The piece, which came to be titled “Seven’s Realm” is a unique combination of jazz harmonies, improvisation, body percussion, singing, fanfares, and technical flourishes that demands the most precise execution by its performers.

The trip itself began early on Thursday, March 15th. Most of the ensemble participated in a Wind Ensemble concert the night before, so our only option was to leave early on the day of the semi-final round of the competition. The UMass trumpet ensemble was set to go on stage at 4:40pm, so the entire group left from the UMass Fine Arts Center at 3:00am, to leave plenty of time for the 8+ hour trip. We didn’t know it at the time, but it turned out to be a very good idea to give ourselves this extra time. This is because as our two-car caravan was about two hours from Fairfax, VA, our travels literally came to a screeching halt. On the highway, a semi-truck had left a large scrap of metal right in the middle of the road. Our second car was not able to dodge it in time and drove right over top of it, tearing up the bottom of the car, causing it to spill gasoline, oil, and transmission fluid. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, and we managed to get towed from the highway, and got a replacement rental car, costing us only some of the extra time we had set aside. We eventually arrived at our hotel in Fairfax, and after a brief rest in our rooms, we made our way to the competition. The ensemble put on a very strong showing of “Seven’s Realm”, and the piece and performance were very well received by the audience of several hundred members. For most people, this would all be more than enough excitement for one day, but not for the UMass Trumpet Ensemble. That night, several of us were on our way back to the hotel from a local Wegmans grocery store, when the power suddenly went out in the area, and a transformer nearby was exploding. As we drove past, we discovered an SUV flipped on its top, up against a broken power pole. And to top it all off, the scene was catching fire! Our local jazz trumpeter, Micah Maurio sprang into action, pulling the driver (who was still in the flipped SUV) to safety. Needless to say, everyone got some well-deserved sleep that night.

The next day was Friday, and while there was nobody from our group competing that day, there were still plenty of things going on. Scott Nichols had a rehearsal with his accompanist to prepare for the Graduate Solo division semi-final round. There were also two recitals that day. The first was the Army Blues, which was featuring Doc Severinson and Rex Richardson as soloists. The Blues Band opened the show that afternoon and they did not disappoint. Rex Richardson was up first and played some incredible solos with the band. Not only was Rex phenomenal, but Doc Severinson was livelier than ever. You would not have been able to tell that he was 84 by the way he played the horn, and by the purple leather pants he was wearing. That night there was also a recital by a group called Rhythm and Brass. The performance featured some very versatile musicians who all had some tricks up their sleeves. It isn’t very often you find a brass group where your horn player doubles on the keyboard, and your quintet is actually a sextet, with your sixth member playing the drum set. This was coupled with a tuba player that often could be mistaken for a smoking electric bass player.

Saturday was another big day for our group. In the morning, Scott Nichols competed in the Graduate Solo division, playing the second movement to Jim Stephenson’s Trumpet Concerto. Immediately following this, Micah Maurio began preparations for the Jazz Solo division. He had to run over to the Marriot, where the jazz division is held, and had his rehearsal with the rhythm section that morning. That same afternoon Micah put on a remarkable display of musicianship in the Jazz semi-final round, including a rendition of Moment’s Notice, where he used multiphonics to harmonize with himself. That afternoon also saw a recital featuring some of the world’s most renowned trumpet soloists, including Jose Sibaja, Terry Everson, James Thompson, Jens Lindemann, and Allen Vizzutti. The recital contained both familiar literature (the Boehme concerto played by Jose Sibaja, and Slavische Fantasie played by James Thompson) and new works. The Krzywicki Sonata for Trumpet and Piano was commissioned by Terry Everson, and featured every single mute that he owned! The Hare Piece Variations (World Premiere by Jens Lindemann, with the composer Derek Stoll on piano) was based on a theme from a Looney Tunes cartoon, which was played prior to the start of the piece as a kind of introduction (and also featured a cameo appearance by Jose Sibaja!). To round out the recital, Allen Vizzutti performed what most people would call ‘The Hardest Piece Ever Written’, his very own Carnival of Venus. It was definitely an event not to be missed!

Sunday saw the conclusion to a long, eventful, fun, and inspirational trip. Not only had the UMass trumpet ensemble had the opportunity to showcase the talent of UMass faculty, like Jeffrey Holmes, the composer of “Seven’s Realm”, and to showcase the talent of the trumpet studio, but we had the chance to be immersed in a world of amazing music and musicians. We had gotten to see performances by world-class soloists and ensembles, by other students from across the country, and we had the opportunity to make music with each other. It can be said, without a doubt, that everyone in from the UMass Trumpet Ensemble is now a better musician in some way, for having gotten to have this experience.


The UMass Trumpet Ensemble would like to thank everyone for their generous support! Whether it was a donation to help fund the trip to the National Trumpet Competition, or it was moral support, everything is greatly appreciated. This valuable experience would not have been possible without everybody’s help, so thank you!


The link to the ensemble’s entrance video can be found below.

Seven’s Realm – Jeffrey Wayne Holmes – UMass Trumpet Ensemble


UMass Trumpet Day!

October 1st, 2011: The First Annual UMass Trumpet Day!

October 1st, 2011 was the date of the first UMass Trumpet Day.? This event was hosted by the newly established Pioneer Valley Trumpet Guild based in the UMASS trumpet studio (open to all trumpeters in the Pioneer Valley who have an active ITG membership) and funded with the generous support of Shires and Yamaha Trumpets. The day began with a recital by UMASS Professor of Trumpet, Eric Berlin and Professor of Piano, Nadine Shank, in a recital of Eric?s favorite pieces. The UMASS Trumpet Studio started it all off with Professor Jeffrey Holmes?s Herald Emeritus Fanfare, followed by a multi-movement work by American composer Robert Russell Bennet, entitled Rose Variations, originally scored for cornet and band.? Each movement was composed to represent a different rose, and highlights Bennett?s flair for musical comedy. A third piece on the program was Joseph Turrin?s Two Portraits, which Turrin wrote to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the International Trumpet Guild ? obviously very appropriate and significant for this event!? This was followed by a Robert Bradshaw piece, which Professor Berlin commissioned, entitled Notes For Buddy.? This multi-movement work was composed for Eric, in loving memory of his late, beloved lab/retriever companion of 14 years, named Buddy.? Next on the program was Nightsongs by Richard Peaslee, followed by the final selection, Portrait of a Trumpet, composed by the great Sammy Nestico.? The common theme with the pieces on this recital ? other than that each brilliant work is among Eric?s favorites ? is that they were all composed by American composers. Following Professor Berlin?s recital, there were many events throughout the day, including a clinic by Professor Holmes about Big Band style, a district solo clinic with professor Berlin ? assisted by members of the studio performing the senior district solos from across the state (Steve Felix, John Mange, Dan Fleury and Allison Cockshaw). The main draw for everyone was, however, the guest artist for the day, Vince DiMartino. We were blessed to have with us a man who is known around the world for his outstanding musicianship, versatility, virtuosity, and pedagogical prowess.? He gave a clinic on practicing in which spoke about some wonderful ideas and musical food for thought from which we all can benefit. The main event was the evening concert, which featured Vince.? It was started with a performance of Professor Jeffrey Holmes? Suite For Four Trumpets and Rhythm Section, followed by a few small group tunes, highlighting various UMass jazz students with Vince and our faculty rhythm section.? The second half of the concert featured Vince as a guest artist with the UMASS Jazz Ensemble 1, our top big band. Among the most exciting experiences during my time here at UMASS was performing in this evening concert, and having the opportunity to solo next to and trade improvised solos with the great Vinny DiMartino.? He has been a long-time influence and jazz hero of mine, so to stand next to him and perform the music I love was quite literally a dream come true!? The tune one which we traded was Professor Holmes? arrangement of Byouba? which he wrote to feature the finalists of the 2007 International Trumpet Guild Carmine Caruso Jazz Competition. There were about 100 trumpeters (or trumpet enthusiasts) in attendance, traveling to the Valley from a grand total of 6 different states! – by Micah Maurio, MM — Jazz Composition and Arranging


Charlie Schlueter visit

Schlueter and Studio
Charles Schlueter imposing his wisdom on the UMass trumpet studio


For the majority of the students returning to UMass, it was a normal first week back into the Spring semester. For the UMass trumpet studio, however, it was a completely different story: with professor Eric Berlin playing with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic that week, the trumpet studio was excited to have the first studio class of the semester headed by the great Charlie Schlueter.

To the whole of the trumpet world, the name “Charlie Schlueter” needs no introduction. The esteemed student of former principal trumpet William Vacchiano held the principal trumpet position of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 25 years, has released 4 solo albums, and started his own non-profit organization in 2001. He was also the teacher of our very own Eric Berlin back at the New England Conservatory!

For the Schlueter studio class, we had 3 of our own studio members performing for Schlueter. First up was Scott Nichols (Graduate Student) performing the Fasch Concerto, a 3-movt. work for piccolo trumpet. Next was Dan Fleury (Senior) playing the Jean-Francaix Sonatine for Trumpet and Piano, a rhythmically complex French work for the trumpet. To round off the end of the class, Mike Valerio (Freshman) performed the 3rd movt. of the Sonata for Trumpet and Piano by Eric Ewazen. All 3 performers did an excellent job representing our studio for the retired Boston Symphony trumpeter.

Schlueter’s vast experience with orchestras and the audition circuit in general allowed great insight into one of the biggest demons we face in our career: anxiety. He talked about the 2 types of anxiety: acute and chronic. Acute anxiety comes based on a situation, like when you come close to crashing your car or when someone runs right at you, while chronic anxiety are the little fears that come with however we grew up from past experiences. Schlueter proclaimed that in an audition setting, the majority of anxiety felt is chronic rather than acute, so the best thing to do is to make sure you take big breaths before you audition and not worry about what happened in the past. He reminded us that ‘no one is perfect’ and ‘whether a note sounds good or bad, it’s already gone’, so it’s best to just forget about it and keep moving on.

His knowledge about music and expression was also at a world-class level, which is paramount to being a great musician; it’s about as important as technical virtuosity. Schlueter was quick to dispel the notion of ‘terrace dynamics’ in baroque music, stating that musicians back then were competent enough to express themselves without writing crescendos and decrescendos everywhere. He also touched on the concept of note groupings, which better clarifies the arrival point of a group of notes, almost as if creating a collection of mini-phrases within a run of fast notes to better express the pulse in a technical piece. Schlueter suggested checking out the book “Note Grouping” by James Morgan Zimmerman for more information on the subject.

In further enhancing our abilities to perform in an expressive manner, Schlueter also talked about the 3 different types of dynamics. There is decibel dynamics, which deal with volume based on dynamic markings. There is acoustical dynamics, which is volume based on range (the higher the note is, the easier it’s heard). Finally, there is intensity dynamics, which is based on how much intensity we put into the sound through use of our air and vibrato, our rhythm and our articulation.

Even with all of this knowledge that he shared among the trumpet studio, his best quote still holds true: “Never lose sight of the fact that you’re making music.” If you want more information on what Charles Schlueter spoke about, feel free to track down a member of the UMass trumpet studio for more details.