Kelly Rossum is an international trumpet artist, improviser and composer. He has performed everything from lead trumpet at New York’s famed Birdland jazz club to baroque trumpet in Bad Säckingen, Germany; and from soprano cornet with the North Carolina Brass Band to improvised free jazz in Bangkok, Thailand. As a twenty-first century musician with no stylistic boundaries, he has played at the Vision Festival, SXSW, New York Electro Acoustic Music Festival, Spark Festival of Electronics and Musical Art, 10,000 Lakes Music Festival, Minnesota Sur Seine, numerous blues, jazz, classical and latin music festivals, plus multiple International Trumpet Guild Conferences, including as a featured soloist in Sydney, Australia, as well as repeat appearances at the New York Festival of New Trumpet Music and the Atlanta Trumpet Festival.
A steadfast champion of new music, he has premiered compositions by Dave Douglas, Denis Colin, Kristin Kuster, Peter Knight, Stephanie Richards, Steven Bryant and numerous other musicians’ works. In 2015 he premiered Christopher Cook’s Prowler, written specifically for Rossum’s own genre defying abilities.
“astonishing versatility” and “impressive command of his horn” – International Trumpet Guild Journal
“and they made a mighty sound.” – The New York Times
“The Eb soprano cornet is accurately regarded as the most challenging brass instrument to play and Kelly made it sound easy with his effortless style, precision accuracy and flawless intonation” – North Carolina Brass Band
Kelly Rossum performs as needed with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, including recent productions of Coppélia with the Birmingham Royal Ballet and Swan Lake with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Kelly has also performed with the Charlottesville Symphony Orchestra, Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, San Angelo Symphony Orchestra, and the Nebraska Chamber Orchestra. He has performed on period instruments with the Ensemble Polaris and the Lyra Baroque Orchestra, and has been featured recently as a baroque trumpet soloist with the Christopher Newport University Symphony Orchestra. During his graduate studies, he was a member of the Texas Trumpets, a baroque trumpet ensemble under the baton of Dr. Leonard Candelabra and Bengt Eklund, which served as the featured ensemble of the Altenburg International Baroque Trumpet Competition in Bad Säckingen, Germany.
Kelly has released five highly acclaimed albums as a leader and has appeared on over 40 recordings as an ensemble musician. He recorded with and was a founding member of both the improvised rock group Electropolis and the Eric Dolphy repertory ensemble Out To Lunch. He is also a founding member of the new electro-acoustic trumpet ensemble, Fifth Bridge.
“intelligent, endlessly eclectic, thoroughly modern” – Minneapolis City Pages
“gifted to a philosophical level of musical understanding” – Jazz Improv Magazine
“an incredible amount of style and originality” – Music for America
Kelly Rossum is currently Associate Professor of Trumpet and Jazz Studies at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. Previous to this appointment, he taught at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama and at MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, Minnesota, one of the nation’s largest community music schools.
A dedicated teacher and scholar, Professor Rossum leads the Christopher Newport University trumpet studio and delivers cutting edge research and performance concepts to his students. He was invited to present The 2nd Player: Art of Listening, at the International Trumpet Guild conference in Columbus, Ohio, which, through lecture and performance, underscored the importance of mastering multi-genre skill sets necessary for the twenty-first century musician. Rossum also shares his expertise with aspiring trumpeters as an adjudicator at the National Trumpet Competition, the International Trumpet Guild competition, and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet competition, all of which are some of the world’s preeminent trumpet events. His research Purpose: To facilitate free improvisation and musical communication using creative parameters and chronometric guidelines was presented at the Improvising Brain Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia. He has presented improvisation-based research in Osaka, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand, and at past Jazz Education Network and International Association of Jazz Educators conferences. He was the regional presenting scholar for the lecture and film series America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway, in Newport News, Virginia, and Looking at: Jazz, America’s Art Form, in Minneapolis, Minnesota; each program receiving grant funding through Tribeca Film Institute and National Video Resources respectively.
“playing is absolutely excellent, and captivating from beginning to end” – freejazzblog
“studious authority and the knowledge necessary to pull off unconventional compositions” – Minnesota Monthly
“played with connoisseur’s attention to detail.” – Cadence Magazine
His original compositions, incorporating improvisational and contemporary avant-garde techniques, have been commissioned, performed and recorded by individual artists and large organizations alike. His recent work Roshi, for trumpet and marimba, has been performed worldwide and has become a popular recital alternative to the standard trumpet and piano repertoire. He has provided original scores for both film and dance and has received support from the American Composers Forum and the Jerome Foundation. His music has been performed at the Minnesota Fringe and Capital Fringe festivals, heard in television commercials, short films and in the national theatrical releases Amira & Sam (2014) and Backwards (2012).
Kelly Rossum holds the degrees: Doctor of Musical Arts, from the University of Minnesota, studying under David Baldwin and Gary Bordner; Masters of Music, from the University of North Texas, studying with Keith Johnson, Leonard Candelaria and John Holt; Bachelor of Music, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studied with legendary trumpet teacher Dennis Schneider.