Ross Beacraft, Principal Trumpet
When did you begin to play your instrument?
When I was four years old, my grandfather who was an amateur cornetist, promised to give me a trumpet as soon as my adult teeth were in. After four years of anticipation, I received one of his old instruments on my 8th birthday and the journey began.
Where did you study your main instrument; with whom?
As a high school student in Miami, FL, I studied with Bower Murphy, a lovely man who had studied at the New England Conservatory of Music and the Paris Conservatory. His kindness and love of music made a great impression on me. For college I attended the Eastman School of Music and during summers and holidays returned to Miami to study with Harry Glantz, the former principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic and the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini. Lucky for me Mr. Glantz chose to retire about a 45-minute drive from my house. After Eastman, I joined the North Carolina Symphony but left there after a year (I was being drafted at the time) and moved to Chicago to study with Arnold Jacobs, the great brass pedagogue. When I was unexpectedly released from my service requirement, I decided to return to Chicago, where I joined the Civic Orchestra (the training orchestra of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) and began my studies with Adolph Herseth, Vincent Cichowicz and William Scarlett – all members of the Chicago Symphony trumpet section.
When did you join ESO?
I joined the Elgin Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 1985.
What other orchestras have you played with/do you play with now?
I have performed as the Third Assistant First trumpet of the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra; Principal Trumpet of the Norwegian Opera and Ballet in Oslo; and Principal Trumpet with Chicago Opera Theater, The American Chamber Symphony, The Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Concertante di Chicago and many ballet companies including the Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and New York City Ballet companies on tour in Chicago. As an extra and substitute performer I’ve had the great pleasure of performing with the Chicago, Grant Park, Milwaukee and Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestras as well as the Illinois Philharmonic and the Lyric Opera Orchestra. In addition, I have toured the world and recorded for Delos, Naxos, Crystal and Centaur recordings as a member of the Chicago Brass Quintet for more than 40 years, and for a number of years was very active in Chicago’s theater pits and recording studios.
What was your most memorable ESO performance?
I’m not sure I can pick a single performance so allow me to name just a few highlights.
I very much enjoyed the time we spent performing and recording Aaron Copland’s “The Tender Land Suite” and Piano Concerto for Naxos and our 2019 performances of Copland’s 3rd Symphony, Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments, Timpani, Percussion and String Orchestra, Igor Stravinsky’s Octet and anytime we’ve played Mahler.
What are some of your interests, and how are you passing the time?
I love to read all kinds of literature, and my wife Diane and I make time each day. Most days start with Tai Chi, breakfast and practicing the trumpet, and it all unfolds from there. In addition to my life as a performer, I am also the Director of Admissions for the DePaul School of Music. As you can imagine that kept me very busy in April and May. I’m very lucky that my wife is a terrific gardener and cook so my home confinement has been made a bit easier through her efforts. We try to Zoom with our son Ian, an advertising executive in Chicago, and our daughter Jennifer, an actress in Barcelona, at least twice a week.