October 2015 Winner: Robby Garrison

Robby Garrison's passion for music began in the third grade, when he performed the opening song for the elementary school spring choir program on his guitar. In middle school, under the instruction of Kim Bain, Robby developed a love for the trumpet and for jazz music. He played in the Pizitz Middle School Jazz Band in seventh and eighth grade, as well as the Concert and Symphonic Bands.

Robby attended Vestavia Hills High School near Birmingham, Alabama. There he was a member of the
Vestavia Hills Rebel Marching Band, where he was the featured soloist for the halftime show in his junior year. He played in the Symphonic Band his freshman year, where he was principal trumpet, and in the Wind Ensemble (top ensemble) for his sophomore, junior, and senior years, where he was also principal trumpet. He played in his high school's jazz band all four years and was recognized as Most Outstanding Brass Player in both junior and senior years for Jazz Band A. Robby was also awarded Most Outstanding Brass Player in his senior year for the Wind Ensemble. In addition to playing in the school bands, Robby also performed as part of the orchestra pit in theater performances and for several school and community functions. During all four years of high school, Robby played under the direction of Mr. Jerell Horton and Mrs. Heather Palmer, who inspired and encouraged him to pursue his dream of studying music in college.

Robby's passion for music is matched by his passion to serve and be involved in his local community. He was a member of the Alabama Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Samford University Orchestra during his senior year in high school. He also played with the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame Student All-Star Band for five years under the direction of Ray Reach, performing at community festivals and local nursing homes. During his sophomore year, he taught at Scrollworks Metropolitan Orchestra, an organization that provides music lessons and an orchestra setting for children who cannot afford or do not have access to such programs at their schools.

In his junior and senior years of high school, Robby studied with former ITG President and University of North Texas professor Dr. Leonard Candelaria, from whom he learned many of the skills that have helped him. In March 2015, Robby was selected to play in the Music for All National Honor Band of America, where he was placed as second chair. He was selected for the Alabama All-State Honor Band (Red Band) and All-State Jazz Band (Gold Band) and was principal trumpet in both. Robby was also principal trumpet in the University of Alabama Festival Honor Band.

Robby has participated in numerous music symposiums and workshops. He attended the Music for All Summer Symposium where he participated in Leadership Weekend and was principal trumpet in the top band. He also participated in the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Brass Symposium, where he had the honor of playing for Chris Martin, the principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Robby is pursuing music education and jazz studies degrees as a freshman this fall at The University of North Texas, where he studies with Dr. Jason Bergman. He is very grateful for the honor of being selected for this Young Artist Award. As the October 2015 Young Artist Award recipient, he will receive a one-year complimentary membership to ITG. Congratulations, Robby!

June 2015 Winner: Andrew Stephens

Andrew Stephens is a graduate of Rio Americano High School in Sacramento, California, and is currently a freshman at UC Berkeley. While at Rio Americano, Andrew played lead trumpet and was soloist in their award-winning AM Jazz Ensemble for all four years of high school. He has studied trumpet under the tutelage of Maurice Montgomery, Tom Peron, Larry Lunetta, Tiger Okoshi, and Steve Roach.

Andrew has attended summer jazz camps at California State University, Sacramento; the University of the Pacific; Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society Summer Camp in Northern California; Centrum Jazz Workshops in Port Townsend, Washington; and the 2012 Berklee School of Music Five-Week Summer Program on a full-tuition scholarship. In addition, he was honored to receive a lesson in the home of Wynton Marsalis in 2014.

In educational settings, Andrew has played with Joe Lovano, Eric Harland, Marcus Printup, Delfeayo Marsalis, Jason Marsalis, Donny McCaslin, Lew Soloff, the Brubeck Brothers, Wayne Bergeron, Ku-umba, Frank Lacy, Tia Fuller, Conrad Herwig, Ryan Kisor, Phil Wilson, Scott Whitfield, Larry Lunetta, Vijay Iyer, Mike Vax, Bob Draga, Walter Blanding, Wessell Anderson, Dr. Joe Gilman (of the Brubeck Institute UOP), Ted Nash, Reggie Thomas, Bria Skonberg, the Au Brothers, Sacramento State’s 4pm Jazz Ensemble, the Harley White Jr. Jazz Orchestra, and the Sacramento Jazz Orchestra.

With Rio’s AM Jazz Ensemble, Stephens performed at the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Essentially Ellington Festival; the 2013 and 2014 Charles Mingus Jazz Festival; the 2011 – 2014 Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival; Folsom Jazz Festival; and the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival, receiving outstanding soloist awards at each of these events. With Rio Americano’s AM Jazz Ensemble, Andrew toured Spain in 2012 and Italy in the summer of 2014. He played at the Monterey Jazz Festival with the Rio Americano AM Jazz Ensemble from 2010 to 2013 and was the recipient of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award from Rio American High School in 2014.

Andrew was selected to play in the 2013 and 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (NGJO), under the direction of Dr. Paul Contos. In the summer of 2013, the NGJO performed in New York City, Boston, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, and the Monterey Jazz Festival. In 2014, the NGJO toured Japan, performed at the Legends of Jazz Gala in Monterey, and performed twice on the Jimmy Lyons Stage at the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Andrew was selected to play lead trumpet in the 2014 Grammy Camp—Jazz Session. At the Grammy Camp, he spent ten days in Los Angeles, rehearsing and performing under the direction of Mr. Justin DiCioccio. This elite group of high school musicians from around the country attended the 56th Annual Grammy Awards Show, recorded a CD at Capitol Records, and performed at the prestigious Grammy nominee reception and after-ceremony party, as well as at various other venues during the week leading up to the award show.

In addition to being a dedicated musician, Andrew was also recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program as a Commended Scholar, by the College Board Organization as an AP Scholar with Distinction, and by the National Honor Society.

Andrew graduated from high school with honors in June 2014 and currently attends UC Berkeley as a math major (his other passion). He plays lead trumpet in UC Berkeley’s large jazz ensemble, under the direction of Steve Campos, and in an advanced jazz combo, under the direction of Dann Zinn. As the June 2015 Young Artist Award recipient, he will receive a one-year complimentary membership to ITG. Congratulations, Andrew!


March 2015 Winner: Geoff Gallante

One of the most celebrated young musicians in the world today, fourteen-year-old Geoff Gallante found his older brother's trumpet at age four and has since performed on prominent stages and alongside distinguished artists all over the United States as church soloist; featured jazz performer; national anthem performer; and acclaimed soloist with concert bands, brass bands, and pops orchestras.

Gallante has not only performed in 34 states; he has played with five different US military ensembles and with various nationally acclaimed groups. By the age of six, he had already garnered guest soloist engagements with such groups as the Louisville Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Brass Quintet, among others. As a National Anthem performer, Gallante has appeared at sixteen pro-sports venues across the country, seven MLB stadiums, eight NBA arenas, and one NHL arena. At six years old, he became the youngest instrumentalist ever to perform at either the White House or the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Gallante's network TV appearances include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC's Today Show and the CBS Early Show.

In addition to solo engagements with professional pops orchestras in Kentucky, Massachusetts, Illinois, Indiana, and New Jersey, Gallante has soloed with some of America's finest symphonic bands. Most notably, he has performed with the US Naval Academy Concert Band, Ridgewood (New Jersey) Concert Band, Allentown (Pennsylvania) Band, Wheaton (Illinois) Municipal Band, Compton Heights (St. Louis) Concert Band, Ames (Iowa) Municipal Band, Plano (Texas) Community Band, Naples (Florida) Concert Band, Fond Du Lac (Wisconsin) Symphonic Band, Northwinds Symphonic Band (Georgia), and Metropolitan (Boston) Wind Sym­phony. In 2012, at age eleven, Gallante was honored with a guest soloist appearance at the annual convention of the Association of Concert Bands in Poughkeepsie, New York. In July of 2014, he also had the distinction of performing as guest soloist at the Texas Bandmasters Convention, the largest of its kind in the world.
In the jazz realm, Gallante is comfortable playing all styles, from traditional New Orleans style to small-group straight-ahead jazz and classic big band and swing. As a 'traditional' jazz player, he is a member of the DC-based award-winning Capital Focus Jazz Band. As a big band trumpeter, he plays in the Blues Alley Youth Jazz Orchestra. The former is geared toward college-age musicians, and the latter toward high school musicians; Gallante's talent has obviously trumped the age requirements of those two groups, as both made exceptions to welcome him at just nine years old.

As a straight-ahead jazz performer, Gallante has shared the stage with such jazz icons as Maynard Ferguson, Dick Hyman, and Bucky Pizzarelli, as well as a host of other distinguished jazz musicians, including Earl Klugh, Kevin Mahogany, Cyrus Chestnut, Harry Allen, James Carter, Warren Vache, Allen Vache, Chris Botti, Christian McBride, Etienne Charles, Claudio Roditi, and John Clayton. Gallante has performed at such prominent jazz venues as Andy's (Chicago), Blues Alley (DC), Metropolitan Room and Iridium (NYC), Scullers (Boston), Shanghai Jazz (New Jersey), and Herb Alpert's Vibrato Grill Jazz in LA. Gallante says that his coolest gig to date has been as a featured performer for the 2012 edition of the 'Jazz Fest at Sea' cruise event.

During the 2013 - 2014 concert season, Gallante performed as featured jazz artist in New Mexico, Delaware, California, Florida, New Jersey, Michigan, Indiana, and New York City; as concert band soloist in Michigan, Florida, Texas, and New York; and as brass band soloist in Tennessee.
Gallante is in his first year of high school in Alexandria, Virginia.

As the March 2015 Young Artist Award recipient, he will receive a one-year complimentary membership to ITG. Congratulations, Geoff!

January 2015 Winner: Sophie Spencer

Sophie Spencer is fifteen years old and attends Abbotsleigh School in Sydney, Australia, on a full academic scholarship. She plays trumpet and sings in several Abbotsleigh ensembles and in various school musicals. She has been learning trumpet since 2006 and has studied with David Elton, James Brice, and Brian Evans.

Sophie is passionate about her trumpet playing and has been a member of the nationally acclaimed Castle Hill RSL Youth Wind Orchestra for the past five years. In 2013, she joined the Sydney Youth Orchestra Philharmonic on trumpet. She plays soprano cornet with Warringah Brass Band and successfully auditioned for a soprano cornet chair in the 2013 National Australia Brass Youth Band, under the baton of Professor David King.

As a soloist, Sophie is the Australian National Junior Trumpet and Soprano Cornet Champion—a title that she has also held in both 2012 and 2013. She is also the 2013 NSW State Junior and Juvenile Trumpet and Sop­rano Cornet Champion.

Sophie won the 2013 NSW Band Association's Junior and Juvenile Champ­ion of Champions Award, performing on trum­pet, and she has been the Juvenile Champion of Champions on trumpet for 2010 – 2013, inclusive.

Sophie performed in the 2013 Australian Concerto Competition and was named the “Most Promising Brass/Woodwind Peformers for the competition. She won the Brass Instrument Solo (18 years and under) division of the 2013 Sydney Eis­teddfod. She was a semi-finalist in the 2013 102.5FM Young Virtuosi/Young Performers Awards, and her 45-minute program was broadcast on 2MBS-FM. She was a finalist in the 2013 NSW Secondary Schools Concerto Competition and was awarded the Kuringai Philharmonic Orchestra’s Players Award in the finals.

Sophie successfully auditioned on trumpet for the 2014 Australian Youth Orchestra’s National Music Camp and spent an exciting fortnight working with like-minded passionate musicians, performing Stravinsky’s Petroushka and Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 under the baton of Alexandre Bloch. Sophie performed with the Australian Youth Orchestra in the July 2014 season under the baton of Simone Young.

A versatile musical talent, Sophie has attained advanced standing on piano, violin and viola and is currently in her eleventh year with the Australian Girls Choir. She represents Abbotsleigh in netball, softball, basketball, and touch football and also plays club netball. She has completed her bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards and is hoping to attain the gold award.

When she was eleven years old, Sophie attended the 2010 ITG Conference in Sydney, Australia, and placed second in the ITG Youth Competition. She still talks of her wonderful ITG experience and hopes that she will one day have the opportunity to attend another ITG conference. Sophie is honoured and humbled to be the recipient of an International Trumpet Guild Young Artist Award.

As the January 2015 Young Artist Award recipient, Sophie will receive a one-year complimentary membership to ITG. Congratulations, Sophie!


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