Georgia 2021: Presenters

ITF 2021 Presenters

We are excited to announce the 2021 presenter roster!  These artists, pedagogues, ensembles, and researchers have been selected through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process, and will be featured at the 2021 Festival in recitals, lectures, and events of all kinds, focusing on a wide range of trombone-topics and musical styles.  ITF presenters represent cutting-edge research and performance in the field, and bring a diversity of perspectives that truly makes the ITF a world-class event.  Don’t miss these incredible events, at this year’s ITF!


20/59: Quartet Recital
Jonathan Whitaker, University of Alabama
Jeremy Crawford (tuba), University of Alabama
Demondrae Thurman, Samford University; Indiana University
Adam Johnson
, University of Louisiana at Monroe

20/59 is a newly formed quartet dedicated to expanding the sonic concept of the low brass quartet (as well as the repertoire) by utilizing the entire spectrum of timbres within the low brass family. The members of the group are adept performers on a variety of instruments including alto, tenor, and bass trombones as well as tuba, euphonium, baritone, and bass trumpet. 20/59 seeks to perform a wide range of music including transcriptions, arrangements, and new compositions that exploit the full, stylistic potential of the low brass instruments.

Threebone: Debut Album
Branimir León & Sérgio Simões, Orquesta Filarmonica de Jalisco (Mexico)
José León, Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa de las Artes (Mexico)

Threebone was founded in Mexico by two brothers and one friend, with the goal of bringing together a wealth of performing experience at the highest level, and featuring styles from early to contemporary music, Classical and Jazz idioms, and Romantic to Latin music. The members of Threebone are also active orchestral musicians, performing in the Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa de las Artes (José), and the Jalisco Philharmonic Orquesta (Sérgio and Branimir).  Their debut album will be released this year. 

Elysian Trombone Consort: Music by Composers of Color
with Special Guest Tony Baker, University of North Texas
Timothy Anderson, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
Chad Arnow, University of Dayton
Brett Shuster, University of Louisville
Nathan Siler, Eastern Kentucky University

Formed in 2009, the Elysian Trombone Consort continues with its passion for new trombone chamber music. Now in its second decade as an ensemble, the group has premiered two dozen works.  The consort has performed featured recitals at the following events:  the International Trombone Festival, the International Women’s Brass Conference, the Ohio Music Education Association Professional Development Conference, the University of Louisville New Music Festival, the American Trombone Workshop, and the College Music Society National Convention.

Dr. Lucas Borges, Ohio University
Dr. Joseph Brown, Appalachian State University
Dr. Jason Smith (tuba), Ohio University

3Basso is an innovative chamber music ensemble created from the desire to play high-level chamber music using an unconventional set of instruments, two trombones, and a tuba. The group adapts a wide variety of compositions and arrangements to develop its repertoire while utilizing doubling techniques to expand its color pallet. At the heart of the group’s mission is the desire to encourage students of music at all levels to engage in chamber music, primarily middle and high school age students. The ensemble is active with performances and lectures, including the Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina Music Education Conferences, as well as International Tuba and Euphonium Conference at University in Iowa.

The Leon Brothers Experiment: Bellas Artes Street
Branimir León, Orquesta Filarmonica de Jalisco (Mexico)
José León, Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa de las Artes (Mexico)

Image of the Leon Brothers, trombone

The Leon Brothers Experiment It is a duet consisting of two Venezuelan trombonist/  brothers: Branimir Leon and Jose Leon. Their musical learning comes from the  National System of Orchestras of Venezuela, where they studied with their father, Jose Leon. The Brothers Leon Experiment was born from the idea of merging the sound of  trombone into different musical genres, such as classical music, jazz, bossa,  Venezuelan music, latin music, among others; in order to spread the music with  trombone in any corner of the world.

Colla Voce Ensemble: New Compositions for Trombone
Hugo Pinheiro, Composer
Hugo Pinheiro, Amazon Philharmonic (Brazil)
Amanda Aparicio (Soprano) Amazon State Choir (Brazil)
Bradley Kerns, University of Kentucky
Jacob Coleman (Piano), University of Kentucky
Mike DeSousa, University of Kentucky
David Seder, Yale University

 Hugo Pinheiro’s works for trombone have been performed and recorded on important festivals and concert halls in Brazil, United States and Russia. The works are  considered modern, with a vivid and fresh approach, but at the same time listener  friendly. Pieces for several trombone settings such as solo, solo with piano, trios,  quartets, octets and more bring the versatility of the instrument through the eyes of a  Brazilian classical composer. The Colla Voce ensemble has traveled to many places in  USA and Brazil, always playing Brazilian music, arrangements and original compositions, including premieres of many Hugo Pinheiro’s works.

Brian Hecht, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Brian Hecht joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as Bass Trombone in September 2013. Prior to joining the Atlanta Symphony, Mr. Hecht held the bass trombone position with the United States Navy Band in Washington, DC. He has performed with other the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra (under the baton of Simon Rattle), San Francisco Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Washington National Opera, Lyric Opera of Baltimore, and the Kennedy Center Ballet.

Perspectives: New Works for Trombone
Jeremy Wilson, Vanderbilt University

image of Jeremy Wilson, trombone

Trombonist Jeremy Wilson is currently Associate Professor of Trombone  at Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music. Prior to coming to  Vanderbilt, he was a member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  and its sister organization, the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. A native  of Tennessee, Wilson returned to his home state in 2012 to fulfill his  long-time passion for teaching and to devote more time to his young  family. He still performs frequently as an orchestral musician,  including with the Saito Kinen Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, and  the Nashville Symphony. He recently released his debut solo  album, Perspectives, and is especially interested in new music, having  commissioned and premiered over 20 new works for trombone.

Música Mexicana
Alejandro López Velarde, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México

Alejandro López Velarde

Praised by El Economista as “Mexican pride,” Alejandro’s goal as a musician is to inspire people from different communities through music and make a positive impact on their lives. Concerned about the lack of music for trombone in Mexico, his home country, he is currently collaborating with young Mexican composers to premiere and promote new works for this instrument. He has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player throughout Mexico, Europe and the US. 

Sencalar/Glassman Quintet
Featuring Altin Sencalar & Chris Glassman

“What immediately stands out is the absolute virtuosity Glassman and Sencalar exhibit in  their playing. As a trombonist , it is difficult not to be in awe of the ease and beauty with which both  players perform.”- International Trombone Association July Journal audio review

The Sencalar/Glassman Quintet is comprised of co-leaders Altin Sencalar and Chris Glassman, who met during their graduate degree course work at Michigan State University. The Sencalar/Glassman Quintet has performed at the Detroit Jazz Festival, the University of North Texas, Ohio State University, and the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, as winners of Paul Carr’s Discovery Act. They will be featured as guest artists at the 2020 American Trombone Workshop as guest artists and were recently named Artists in Residence for the Jazz Institute at Brevard.  

Arkansas Trombone Collective
Arkansas trombone/low brass professors,
Bruce Faske, Cory Mixdorf, Alexandra Zacharella, Michael Underwood, Jamie Lipton, Geoff Durbin Seen Reed, Joseph Jefferson, Jason Hausback, Christopher Sharpe

Comprised of new and veteran trombone professors from Arkansas and its neighbor, Missouri, the Arkansas Trombone Collective will commission several works as well as perform new arrangements by members of the ensemble.

Trombones in Middle-earth: The Music of Howard Shore
(Also featuring an original composition by Johan De Meij)
Brad Jensen, Arranger and Organizer
Johan De Meij, Conductor
Brian Santero, Nathan Zgonc (Alto Trombone)
Nikki Abissi, Tony Baker, Doug Farwell, David Jackson, Steve Lange, Bill Mann, Doug Warner, Colin Williams, Steve Wilson, Ko-ichiro Yamamoto (Tenor Trombone)
George Curran, Oscar Diaz, Denson Paul Pollard, Jennifer Wharton (Bass Trombone)
Nick Schwartz (Contrabass Trombone)

Trombones in Middle-earth takes the beauty of these familiar orchestral scores, and translates them into the language and incredibly versatile range and color of the trombone choir. The trombone, with its wide range of tone and emotion, is perfectly suited to capturing the varied scope of Howard Shore’s iconic music. This brings a whole new dimension to an already great musical work, which, fans of the original music from the film trilogy, and classical trombone enthusiasts, who may be unfamiliar with the original orchestral work, will find equally appealing.

The Insanity Brass Duo, consisting of low brass professors and S.E. Shires trombone artists Michael Wilkinson and Micah Everett, will demonstrate low brass doubling through a fun and variegated recital program for multiple  instruments. The duo’s program for ITF 2021 requires the use of fourteen  instruments, with Wilkinson performing on alto, tenor, bass, and contrabass trombones, euphonium, and  cimbasso, and Everett performing on alto, tenor, and bass trombones, baritone horn, euphonium, and tuba. Their repertoire includes a variety of original works and arrangements for low brass from the past four centuries, from  both classical and commercial genres.

Insanity Brass Duo
Micah Everett, University of Mississippi
Michael Wilkinson, University of South Carolina

Make More Noise: New music for Trombone Duo
Chris Van Hof, Ball State University
Evan Conroy, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Evan Conroy and Chris Van Hof are long-time college buddies now living and working in  Louisiana and Indiana respectively. They are musical omnivores, happy to perform, teach, and  listen to music from all corners of the globe. But as trombonists they identified what seemed like  an obvious hole related to repertoire diversity: the tenor/bass trombone duo. The repertoire for  this combination was limited to a few (very good!) pieces that got lots of performances. To  expand the palette of what is available for a tenor/bass duo to perform, they started the  ensemble Make More Noise, and since 2018 have commissioned nine new works by diverse  composers from all across the globe. 

Felix Padilla, The US Army West Point Band
SSG Kyle Peck, The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own”

Felix Padilla joined the West Point Band in the winter of 2019. The same year, he earned a Master of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with James Markey. Prior to his time in Boston, Felix studied with Bradley Palmer at Columbus State University, where he received a Bachelor of Music in 2017. Other teachers include Toby Oft, Steve Lange, Norman Bolter, Mike Roylance, and Joseph Vascik.

Coal Hill Quartet
Dr. Tyrone Block, Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Dr. Michelle Flowers
, Texas Womens University
Shawn Smith
, Dallas-based private lesson instructor
Dr. Noel Wallace
, Hebron High School

One of the primary goals of the Coal Hill Quartet is to use chamber music to provide an  accessible way for the audience to approach world music. Their most recent project, “And Now  for Something Completely Different” featured trombone quartet music from the British Isles.  Their current program expands on that idea to features music from around the world including  works by Gilberto Gagliardi, Murray Gold, Barry McKimm, Steven Verhelst, Ralph Vaughan  Williams, and others. 

Works of Son Jarocho
PiaBón, Orquesta Filarmónica de Boca del Río; Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, Veracruz (Mexico)

“Son Jarocho” is a musical genre which spread mainly in the Mexican state of Veracruz. It is combined with dance and sung poetry. The music has a harmonic rhythm, with syncopations and lyrical verses. The objective of this program is to disseminate traditional Mexican music, and promote the bass trombone as a solo instrument in diverse genres. The audience will be able to hear stories, and legends through this music since the recital, and trombonists will be given copies of the music, as part of this outreach project.

Orchestral Transcriptions for Trombone and Piano
Jaime Morales-Matos, Miami University (Ohio)

Jaime Morales-Matos has wide-ranging experience as a trombonist, he have performed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, Lexington Philharmonic, the Casals Festival Orchestra, the Florida Music Festival Orchestra, and the New World Symphony in the United States, and with the Asturias, Granada and Galicia Symphony Orchestras in Spain.

Panel Discussions

What Happens Next? Navigating Life After Music School
Dr. Emmy Rozanski, Alverno College

Emmy Rozanski is an enthusiastic music educator and active freelance trombonist in the  Milwaukee and Chicago areas. She is adjunct music faculty at Alverno College, a teaching artist  for Sistema Ravinia, and low brass instructor at Highland Park High School. In the summers of  2018 and 2019 Emmy traveled to El Salvador as a teaching artist with MusAid, leading classes  in technique and ensemble skills, as well as teaching private lessons. She is currently the  principal trombone for the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra (Skokie, IL) and regularly  performs with a variety of ensembles throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

The Militant Trombone
GySgt Ken Ebo, United States Marine Corps
Joined by a panel of Fleet Military Career Trombonists

GySgt Ken Ebo is currently serving as the Music Placement Director for the US Marine  Music Program in the Southwestern United States. He is the former head of the  Instrumental Division at the Naval School of Music in Virginia Beach where he also  served as trombone faculty and jazz improvisation instructor. Ken is an active clinician,  performer, educator, and adjudicator with degrees from Indiana University and the  University of South Carolina.  

Master Classes

The Adam Routine: A Call & Response Warmup and Fundamentals Session Exploring the Teachings of Trumpet Pedagogue William Adam, Adapted for Trombonists
Dr. Jemmie Robertson, University of Florida

Jemmie Robertson is Assistant Professor of Trombone at the University of Florida, plays Principal Trombone in the Gainesville Orchestra, and performs with the UF Faculty Brass Quintet. Jemmie is a founding member of the American Trombone Quartet, who were featured artists at the Lille Trombone Festival in Lille, France in April 2019 and released Premiere!, the ensemble’s debut recording, in July 2020.

Collaboration and Accountability in Performance Success
Felix Padilla, The US Army West Point Band
SSG Kyle Peck, The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own”

U.S. Army trombonists, Staff Sgts. Felix Padilla and Kyle Peck will go into how collaboration and accountability in college helped each of them win premiere military jobs. This session will benefit any trombonist who is  looking for sound, innovative ways to collaborate with fellow trombone players on their journey towards success in the field.

Body Mind Spirit: A Holistic Approach to Musical Preparation and Performance
Jeremy Wilson, Vanderbilt University

In this talk, Jeremy Wilson discusses the process by which he prepares and performs  pieces of music. He calls it the Body, Mind, Spirit Process, and its implications can be  profound and far-reaching for trombonists of all ages and skill levels. Jeremy will use  real-life examples to explore how the Body, Mind, Spirit Process can be implemented  in performance situations, auditions, and even in your practice or warmup session! 

6-20-24, A Guide To Effectively Maximize Your Daily Practice & Goals
Dr. Joseph L. Jefferson, Southeast Missouri State University

Dr. Joseph L. Jefferson is the Asst. Professor of Trombone/Euphonium and Director of  Jazz Studies at Southeast Missouri State University. As a soloist, chamber musician,  educator, and adjudicator, Joseph maintains an active schedule in Classical, Jazz, and commercial musical settings. Dr. Jefferson has been a guest artist and presenter at the  International Trombone Festival, International Horn Symposium, University of Nevada,  Reno Jazz Festival, Texas A & M – Kingsville Trombone Day, University of Evansville Brass &  Percussion Day, Mt. Hood Community College, Mineral Area College, and Three Rivers  College.

Get to the point! Effective and Economic Communication in teaching and learning
Peter Freeman, The Trombone Place

Pete Freeman is the principle trombone and President for the Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra (Long Island, New York), a member of the Nassau Pops Symphony Orchestra, and has played with the South Shore Symphony and the Band of Long Island. He is a retired Band Director, having taught at the elementary, middle school and high school levels, and worked as a fine arts administrator. In addition to performing and teaching, Pete is a Past-President of Nassau (County) Music Educators Association and the Nassau County Chapter of the New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education. 

No Magic Bullet: Successfully Managing Performance Anxiety
Joshua Bledsoe, Presidio Brass

Joshua Bledsoe has garnered a reputation as a dynamic performer, engaging ensemble director, and inspired pedagogue. Known as a consummate chamber musician, he has toured the US extensively as a member of the internationally acclaimed ensemble, Presidio Brass, which has also afforded him the opportunity to present clinics and coachings at some of the most prestigious institutions in the country. During the summers, Joshua serves as principal trombone of the MIssouri Symphony Orchestra, a position which he has held since 2012. 

Conductor Check-Up: Effective Gesture for Passionate Musicianship
Dr. Stuart Ivey, Taylor University

Stuart Ivey is a conductor and educator who recently completed a Doctor of Arts degree at Ball State University with a primary emphasis in Wind Conducting and secondary emphasis in Trombone Performance. Prior education includes a Master of Music in Trombone Performance at the University of Missouri and a Bachelor of Music Education at Auburn University. Dr. Ivey studied conducting with Tom Caneva, Caroline Hand, and Rick Good and studied trombone with Chris Van Hof, Drew Leslie, Matt Wood, Rick Good, and Danny Hutson. 

What, how, and why!
Dr. Jeannie Little, Montana State University

Trombonist and conductor Dr. Jeannie Little joined the Montana State University School of Music in 2015 as Low Brass Professor and Director of the University Band. Jeannie earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Performance and Pedagogy at the Eastman School of Music, a Master’s degree in Music Performance from Northwestern University and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from the Florida State University. As a soloist and clinician, Dr. Little is active presenting recitals and master classes throughout the country, with recent performances and clinics at the International Trombone Festival, the International Women’s Brass Conference, and the American Trombone Workshop.

Keeping the Context: A 21st-Century Approach to Getting More From Your Practice
Dr. Jason Sulliman, Troy University

Dr. Jason Sulliman is Assistant Professor of Trombone at Troy University, Trombone Tutor for the North American Brass Band Summer School, and organizer for the International Trombone Hang. He earned his DM in Brass Pedagogy from Indiana University where he is also finishing a Master’s degree in Kinesiology. Dr. Sulliman has given hundreds of clinics, master classes, and presentations based on his research combining the disciplines of brass pedagogy, motor learning, and cognitive science in an effort to introduce a 21st-century approach to brass pedagogy. 

Musician health and Wellness: 4 Pillars to Sustainable Trombone Performance
Austin Pancner, The Functional Musician

Austin Pancner is the founder and CEO of The Functional Musician, an online coaching company helping classical musicians perform without pain holistically. During his graduate studies, after switching to bass trombone, he struggled through a three year injury cycle that led him down a path to create a health and wellness system that can help musicians overcome tension, pain, or injury and sustainably support their lifestyle and career path. As a health and wellness professional, he holds several accredited certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Precision Nutrition, and Functional Movement Systems. 

Lecture Recitals

Bringing the Composer into the Room
Dr. Andrew R Glendening, Northern Illinois University

Andrew Glendening is the Director of the School of Music and Professor of Music at Northern Illinois University. Prior to becoming Director, Dr. Glendening was Dean of the School of Music at the University of Redlands, Chair of the Department of Music at Denison University and served on the faculties of Morehead State University and Northeastern Illinois University. A native of Logansport, Indiana, he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Trombone Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music before attending Indiana University, where he was awarded the school’s highest honor: The Performer’s Certificate. He also earned a Master of Music degree and was the first ever recipient of the Doctor of Music degree in Trombone Performance from the Indiana University School of Music.

Reimagining the Vocalises of Mathilde Marchesi for Tenor and Bass Trombone
Dr. Alexandra Zacharella, University of Arkansas-Fort Smith

A native of New Jersey, Alexandra Zacharella is Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Low Brass at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.  Zacharella holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in trombone performance from the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music, with minors in conducting, music education and jazz studies; a Master of Music degree in Trombone Performance from The University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Music in Trombone Performance and Music Education from The University of Hartford, The Hartt School. Zacharella is an active low brass and wind ensemble clinician and has presented clinics and masterclasses in South Korea, Hong Kong, California, Michigan, Georgia, Arkansas, and Oklahoma


Virtual or Physical: Managing Musical Events in a Changing Landscape
Lauren Rudzinskas, International Women’s Brass Conference
Jeff Dunn, Texas Trombone Institute

Lauren Rudzinskas and Jeff Dunn discuss the skills, tools, and concepts necessary to manage and execute musical projects. Drawing on their experience creating, planning, and carrying out musical events and conferences, the presenters will provide ideas that can be transferred to a variety of platforms. Topics will include design and organizational tools, budgeting and funding, social media advertising, and American nonprofit creation and management.

Trombone in the Hard Bop Era
Dr. Emmett C. Goods, University of Rhode Island

Dr. Emmett Goods is a Pittsburgh native who comes from a very rich musical background. He is a an alumnus of the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts where under the tutelage of legendary drummer Roger Humphries he began to flourish as a young artist. After a short stint at the Berklee College of Music, it was under the direction of ythe legendary trombonist Steve Davis that Emmett earned a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from the Hartt School of Music. He earned his Masters of Music degree, also in Jazz studies, from Georgia State University and is completed a Doctor of Musical Arts in Trombone Performance at West Virginia University.

Global Music, Small Ensembles: Using Chamber Music as an Entry to World Music
Michelle Flowers, The Coal Hill Quartet

Integrating music from other cultures is a vital part of creating a well-rounded musical  environment and can teach tolerance and understanding, as well as culture and history to  students. Small ensembles are a great way to begin this approach as it provides more one-on-one  experience and allows a wider variety of music to be studied. Drawing on experience from our latest project, the Coal Hill Quartet will discuss how to use small ensembles and chamber groups to introduce  students to world music.

The Recruitment Reality
Lauren Rudzinskas, International Women’s Brass Conference
Jeff Dunn, Texas Trombone Institute

No matter what career path they choose, almost every trombonist is required to recruit in some capacity. Whether it is as an educator, a performer building his/her private studio, or a group of musicians seeking students for an arts festival, learning more about which recruitment techniques are the most successful will benefit all. In this presentation, Rudzinskas and Dunn will use their unique perspectives to speak about recruitment.

Special Event

The Trombone Retreat Podcast Live at the ITF with special guest, Joseph Alessi
Sebastian Vera and Nick Schwartz, Third Coast Trombone Retreat

The Trombone Retreat, a podcast of the Third Coast Trombone Retreat, hosted by Sebastian Vera and  Nick Schwartz has in-depth conversations with trombonists from all areas of our field. We talk with  guests about what led to their path and success, the challenges, adversity and memorable moments along the way, and their views on the role of an artist in our current times. Our interviews encapsulate the silly and heartfelt aspects of our unique lives and seek to inspire and motivate musicians of all ages  and backgrounds. In our first ever live podcast recording in front of an audience we are honored to  interview Joseph Alessi on his beginnings before he was a household name in the trombone world, what  traits and experiences led him to where he is today as well as what motivates and inspires him now.  Hear all our interviews at and subscribe anywhere you download your  podcasts. 

See you in Columbus!