Applauded for his “gleaming trumpet work” (Hyde Park Herald) and “dazzling virtuosity” (Grunion Gazette), the American trumpeter Justin Bland is a versatile musician, performing on both historical and modern trumpets. He specializes in early music, most notably in difficult high-register music for Baroque trumpet; for example, he has played Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 with groups in Denmark, the USA, Canada, Colombia, and Serbia, and has upcoming performances of the piece in Portugal, Sweden, Spain, and Germany. Before formally studying Baroque trumpet, Justin won first prize in multiple historical instruments divisions of the National Trumpet Competition. As a highly sought-after solo/principal Baroque trumpeter, Dr. Bland has performed with several leading early music ensembles throughout North America including American Bach Soloists, Apollo’s Fire, Washington Bach Consort, Tempesta di Mare, Musica Angelica, Scaramella, Bach Collegium San Diego, Lyra Baroque Orchestra, and many others. He has also played in South America with Ensamble Barroco de Bogotá.
Now living in Denmark, Justin continues to perform as both a soloist and ensemble musician, combining ongoing North American engagements with new collaborations with leading Baroque ensembles in Denmark as well as in the rest of Scandinavia and Europe. In Europe he has played with Les Arts Florissants, Camerata Øresund, Barokksolistene, Arte dei Suonatori, Göteborg Baroque, ensemble Paulus Barokk, Orkester Nord (previously known as Trondheim Barokk), Göttinger Barockorchester, TSO Tidlig (the early music band of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra & Opera), Copenhagen Soloists, Wrocław Baroque Ensemble, New Trinity Baroque, Höör Barock, Enghave Barok, the Næstved Early Music Festival, Ensemble Hven, and several others.
As a modern trumpeter, Justin has experience performing in orchestras, wind ensembles, jazz ensembles, pit orchestras for opera and musical theater, British brass bands, and numerous chamber ensembles. Before beginning his college career, he was principal trumpeter of the DC Youth Orchestra and had the opportunity to tour Japan as a trumpet soloist. He also performed regularly with the Prince George’s Philharmonic while in high school. More recently, he as appeared as a soloist with the South Dakota Symphony, the Firelands Symphony, and the Las Vegas Sinfonietta.
In addition to being a trumpeter, Justin is also a countertenor and has sung with Apollo’s Fire and Opera Cleveland. While in Ohio working on his Master’s degree, he was an alto section leader in the chamber and chancel choirs at Trinity Cathedral in downtown Cleveland and was the countertenor with Cantores Cleveland (now Contrapunctus). Justin also plays recorder.
Justin earned his DMA in trumpet performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He received his MA in early music performance practices from Case Western and his BM in trumpet performance from the University of Maryland. His primary trumpet teachers include Chris Gekker, Barry Bauguess, Steven Hendrickson, Steven Trinkle, and Justin Emerich. He has studied voice with Delores Zeigler, Ellen Hargis, and Aaron Sheehan. As a graduate assistant, Justin taught courses in ear training and music appreciation, and was a harpsichord tuner.
“It [the Baroque trumpet] is more difficult to play than its modern counterpart, but it’s a fascinating and arresting sound. The trumpet part in the second [Brandenburg] concerto is famous for its fiendish difficulties, and Justin Bland played it with aplomb.” (Edmonton Journal)
“The orchestra brought out the pulsy organ-grinder quality in the first movement of Concerto 3, but it was [Brandenburg] Concerto 2 that was the real show-stopper. Justin Bland, on Baroque trumpet, trilled his way nearly effortlessly through one of the most difficult parts in the repertoire, the highest notes piercingly clear above the orchestra.” (Post-Bulletin)
“Orkesteret, som medvirkede ved næsten alle koncerter, havde festivalens kunsteriske leder i spidsen – amerikanske Justin Bland som på sin naturtrompet demonstrerede, at trompeten kan indgå på lige fod med strygerne og continuo-orglet (hver dag trakteret af utrættelige Søren Gleerup Hansen) – dog ikke i Pavel Josef Vejvanovskýs sonate, som nærmest var en trompetkoncert med melodiske temaer og en strålende Justin Bland.” (Custos Tidskrift)
[The orchestra, which participated in almost all the concerts, was led by the festival’s artistic director – American Justin Bland who, on his natural trumpet, demonstrated that the trumpet can be included on an equal footing with the strings and the continuo organ (played tirelessly by Søren Gleerup Hansen) – but not in Pavel Josef Vejvanovský’s sonata, which was almost a trumpet concerto with melodic themes and a brilliant Justin Bland.]
” ‘Messias’ i Den Sorte Diamant lagde lovlig stor vægt på det indadvendte og triste. Men sangerne var gode, og trompeten var fantastisk…
Det betød, at kun de første to af værkets tre dele blev spillet og sunget – endda med en del udeladte numre – og på den måde kunne Camerata Øresund slutte af med ‘Hallelujakoret’, der falder netop som afslutning på anden del. Lidt havde de dog fiflet, for når man har så fantastisk en solist på baroktrompet som Justin Bland, skal han have lov at spille sine toner i basarien ‘The Trumpet Shall Sound’, hvilket han gjorde til perfektion. Selv om den egentlig først hører til i oratoriets tredje og afsluttende del.” (Politiken)
[‘Messiah’ in The Black Diamond placed great emphasis on the introverted and sad. But the singers were good and the trumpet was amazing…
This meant that only the first two of the work’s three parts were played and sung – even with some omitted numbers – and in this way Camerata Øresund could end with the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’, which falls just as the end of the second part. They fiddled a bit, though, because when you have such a fantastic baroque trumpet soloist as Justin Bland, he must be allowed to play his notes in the bass aria ‘The Trumpet Shall Sound’, which he did to perfection. Although it belongs in the third and final part of the oratorio.]
“Og så er det jo spændende, om bassanger og trompet står distancen i den lange arie “The trumpet shall sound.” Men her var ingen slinger. Med stor og fast stemme sang Lucas Bruun de Neergaard den pompøse tekst om opstandelsen på den yderste dag, ledsaget af en klangskøn baroktrompet, udført af Justin Bland. Herligt!” (Viborg Stifts Folkeblad)
[And then it’s exciting if bass and trumpet are able to deliver in the long aria “The trumpet shall sound.” But no problems here. With a big and firm voice, Lucas Bruun de Neergaard sang the pompous text about the resurrection on the last day, accompanied by a beautiful sounding baroque trumpet, performed by Justin Bland. Wonderful!]
“Skilled [Baroque trumpet] players can play the notes of the harmonic series with such instruments. A very refined embouchure is needed to “lip” or flatten or sharpen the impure harmonics of the notes of the 11th and 13th harmonics. The most virtuosic could use such techniques to produce certain chromatic notes outside this series…Justin Bland made such skills seem effortless…” (Classical Voice of North Carolina)
“Onstage, the performers exhibited an astonishing level of virtuosity, both as an ensemble and in solos…Justin Bland, with a heraldic trumpet that lacked valves or keys, produced beautiful sounds in a work by Johann Melchior Molter.” (Grunion Gazette)
“Bland by name only! A good trumpet player is hard to find, and an excellent one harder still. It’s again still rarer to find a great player of the baroque trumpet, since the instrument is considerably harder to play than its modern counterpart (smaller embouchure, no valves) and this may explain why Justin Bland is so darn busy and why he plays with, well, basically everyone.” (The WholeNote)
“Add in the splendors of Baroque trumpets (with Justin Bland delivering nuanced playing in “The trumpet shall sound,”)…and our cup runneth over with highlights.” (Greg Hettmansberger, writer for Madison Magazine)
“…trumpeter Justin Bland displayed dazzling virtuosity in the solo cantata [Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen]…”(Grunion Gazette)
“For this performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, Cantata “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen” for Soprano, Trumpet and Orchestra, BWV 51, and other favorites, Haselbock recruited five accomplished soloists. Justin Bland on trumpet, soprano Andreanne Brisson-Paquin, alto Dylan Hostetter, bass-baritone Scott Graff, and tenor Pablo Cora….
The combination of Bland’s virtuoso trumpet playing and Paquin’s melodic soprano voice sounded glorious and heavenly during their rendition of “Jauchzet.” The emotion expressed in this piece is pure joy, in the opening both singer and trumpeter employed breathtaking coloraturas.” (Culver City Observer)
“In these performances, trumpeter Justin Bland alternated between instruments, playing a modern valved trumpet in the Saint-Saëns and a valveless “natural” trumpet, for a better blend with two flutes in a wind chorus, in the d’Indy octet.
In both pieces, Bland ably reined in volume and brightness, keeping his instrumental lines within the fabric of ensembles rather than blaring over them – a peril that explains the scarcity of trumpet parts in chamber works with strings.” (music critic Clarke Bustard)
“…Justin Blands store ekspertise bevidnedes glimrende i resten af koncerten.” (Fyens Stiftstidende – Fyns Amts Avis)
“Arte dei Suonatori jäi meelde oma noore, aga mängulaadilt küpse koosseisuga ja suurepäraste solistidega. Eredaks kogemuseks oli Justin Blandi virtuoosne mäng barokktrompetil, millel ta esitas Johann Wilhelm Herteli trompetikontserdi.” (Sirp) [Estonian Cultural Newspaper]
[Arte dei Suonatori remembered his young but mature line-up and excellent soloists. The vivid experience was Justin Bland’s virtuoso playing on the baroque trumpet, in which he performed Johann Wilhelm Hertel’s trumpet concerto.]
“Man kunne godt lade sig rive med og næsten ikke bemærke de enkelte stemmer og instrumenter. Af disse var det især eftermiddagens hovedperson, den yderst velspillende Justin Bland…der gjorde sig godt gældende og på den mest elegante vis.” (Sjællandske – Jens Due, Formand for Næstved Musikforening)
[You could get carried away and hardly notice the individual voices and instruments. Of these, it was especially the main character of the afternoon, the extremely well-playing Justin Bland…who stood out and in the most elegant way.]
“…selvom Messias er standard-repertoire i juletiden, står den opførelse, jeg hørte (22. november) for mig som den bedste, jeg endnu har hørt i koncert. Det skyldes til dels sangsolisterne…, den altid gode Justin Bland på baroktrompet (og som alt-korist indimellem), men også et meget velsyngende og velspillende kor og orkester…” (Jakob Christensen-dalsgaard)
[… Even though Messiah is standard repertoire at Christmas time, the performance I heard (November 22nd) stands out to me as the best I have yet heard in concert. This is partly due to the vocal soloists…, the always good Justin Bland on the baroque trumpet (who also sang alto in the choir), but also a very well-singing and well-playing choir and orchestra…]
“No such context, though, was needed for the infectious encore, where [Justin] Bland set aside his trumpet, and sang counter-tenor to Bailey’s soprano in Purcell’s Sound the Trumpet from the Ode for Queen Mary’s birthday. Perfect for May Day, and by coincidence, for the old Queen’s birthday, which was on April 30.” (Edmonton Journal)