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 Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, and the USA. 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, Bach Collegium San Diego, Boston Baroque, Handel and Haydn Society, Lyra Baroque Orchestra, Musica Angelica, Scaramella, Tempesta di Mare, Washington Bach Consort, 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 Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Arte dei Suonatori, Barockorchester L’Arco, Barokksolistene,BaroqueAros, Camerata Øresund, Croatian Baroque Ensemble, Enghave Barok, ensemble Paulus Barokk, Finnish Baroque Orchestra, Göteborg Baroque, Göttinger Barockorchester, Händelfestspielorchester Halle, Höör Barock, Les Arts Florissants, Nivalis Barokk, the Næstved Early Music Festival, Orkester Nord (previously known as Trondheim Barokk), Sächsisches Barockorchester, TSO Tidlig (the early music band of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra & Opera), Wrocław Baroque Ensemble, 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 and has performed with ensembles including Croatian Baroque Ensemble, Enghave Barok, Finnish Baroque Orchestra, Orkester Nord, and Nivalis Barokk.
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.]
“[Brandenburg Concerto] No. 2 in F Major began the second half, with Justin Bland on trumpet, Priscilla Herreid on recorder, Debra Nagy on oboe, and Nosky on violin. Bland tackled his famously difficult part with impressive clarity and control. The other soloists complemented the trumpet with matching clarion calls. The recorder gently floated above the multilayered instrumental textures. In the second movement, the oboe, violin, and recorders’ melodies sang out in counterpoint, each finding a place in Bach’s rich mosaic, the personalities swirling about like a florid arabesque. Finally, the decisive, high-spirited third movement proceeded, with Bland projecting the high trumpet figures with bright alacrity and stunning radiance.” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer)
” ‘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.]
“A scattering of audience members headed out afterward, with the performance approaching the 2½-hour mark. They missed some of the best moments of the afternoon…Outlaw’s simple, direct “Behold, I tell you a mystery” created suspense; “The trumpet shall sound” delivered, deep and authoritative, in duet with Justin Bland’s gleaming, dancing trumpet. The audience broke into sustained applause; Outlaw got a handshake from Pearlman and then fist-bumped with Bland.” (The Boston Globe)
“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!]
“…Vivaldis GLORIA er altid et sikkert ”hit”, blot man har et dygtigt kor foran sig, og et orkester med en dygtig trompetist og oboist, samt et par vokalsolister, som kan mere end deres ”Fader Vor”. Kristine Vad havde sørget for det hele. Barokorkestret Originalerne.org havde glimrende solister, der mestrede de smukt klingende kopier af originalinstrumenter, og solisterne Frederikke Kampmann, Nana Bugge Rasmussen og Emil Lykke sang som de rene engle…
Inden Vivaldis GLORIA havde Kristine Vads bror Jakob Vad med autoritet og flot teknik fremført et andet ”hit” fra alle bassers yndlingsrepertoire: ”The Trumpet shall sound” af Händels ”Messias”. Jakob Vad har klang og kraft i sin stemme, som matchede fint til Justin Blands suveræne baroktrompetspil.” (Hans Krarup)
[…Vivaldi’s GLORIA is always a sure “hit” as long as you have a skilled choir in front of you, and an orchestra with a skilled trumpeter and oboist, as well as a few vocal soloists who know more than their “Our Father.” Kristine Vad had taken care of it all. The baroque orchestra Originalerne.org had excellent soloists who mastered the beautifully sounding copies of original instruments, and the soloists Frederikke Kampmann, Nana Bugge Rasmussen and Emil Lykke sang like the pure angels…
Before Vivaldi’s GLORIA, Kristine Vad’s brother Jakob Vad had with authority and great technique performed another “hit” from all bass’ favorite repertoire: “The Trumpet Shall Sound” from Handel’s “Messiah.” Jakob Vad has timbre and power in his voice, which matched nicely with Justin Bland’s superb baroque trumpet playing.]
“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 remained remembered by its young but mature line-up and excellent soloists. The vivid experience was Justin Bland’s virtuoso playing on the baroque trumpet, on 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)
[One 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…]
“Der var helt klassisk barok fra Händels ”Orlando” fra 1733, ligesom vi fik D. Buxtehudes ”Jubilate Domino”. Fra den mere hengemte kasse lød tonerne fra J W. Hertel i hans trompetkoncert nr. 3 i D-dur samt en koncert for trompet og obo. Og hvilken trompet og obo.
Som en særlig gæst stod multitalentet Justin Bland fra USA i front som både sanger, trompetist og ensembleleder; hans baroktrompet mindede mest om en rekvisit fra Den Gamle By med sin særlige længde, sit blå bånd og den matte messing. Men der var en god og slank klang i det smukke instrument. Justin Bland lagde flot ud med Hertels trompetkoncert, som fik en triumferende og jublende start, ligesom der i en senere sats var plads til eftertænksomhed og stille alvor. Der kunne dog godt have været mere power i violinerne, og det kom der desværre først noget senere i koncerten. Men der var mange smukke passager, hvor trompeten stod flot frem med et flot akkompagnement fra resten af gruppen.
I ”Jubilate Domino” åbenbarede Justin Bland sig desuden som en meget fin kontratenor. Det at hans stemme har en vis runding, varme og samtidig dybde og fylde i det høje leje, giver en meget behagelig klang, som nok er lidt atypisk for kontratenorer. Han sang desuden med indlevelse og nærvær, og det gjorde sangen interessant for publikum, som fyldte godt på kirkebænkene i Skt. Mortens Kirke denne lørdag.
Alt i alt en meget fin, velproportioneret og vellykket koncert, der igen minder os om, at barokmusikken stadig er sprællevende og inspirerende. At man tilmed skulle støde på et atypisk multitalent, var kronen på barokværket.” (Klassisk bureau)
[There was classic baroque from Handel’s “Orlando” from 1733, as well as D. Buxtehude’s “Jubilate Domino”. From the more or less unknown repertoire sounded the notes of J W. Hertel in his trumpet concerto no. 3 in D major as well as a concerto for trumpet and oboe. And what a trumpet and oboe.
As a special guest, the multi-talented Justin Bland from the USA was at the front as both singer, trumpeter and ensemble leader; his baroque trumpet was most reminiscent of a prop from the Old Town with its particular length, its blue band and the matte brass. But there was a good and slender sound in the beautiful instrument. Justin Bland made a great start with Hertel’s trumpet concerto, which got off to a triumphant and jubilant start, just as in a later movement there was room for thoughtfulness and quiet seriousness. However, there could well have been more power in the violins, and unfortunately that only came somewhat later in the concert. But there were many beautiful passages where the trumpet stood out beautifully with a nice accompaniment from the rest of the group.
In “Jubilate Domino”, Justin Bland also revealed himself as a very fine countertenor. The fact that his voice has a certain roundness, warmth and at the same time depth and voluminousness in the high range gives a very pleasant sound, which is probably a little atypical for countertenors. He also sang with empathy and presence, and that made the song interesting for the audience, who filled the pews in St. Mortens Church this Saturday.
All in all, a very fine, well-proportioned and successful concert that once again reminds us that baroque music is still lively and inspiring. The fact that one should also come across an atypical multi-talent was the crowning glory of the baroque work.]
“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)
“Bach expressed such reverence through the instrumental writing [in his Mass in B Minor], and Boston Baroque’s period instrument orchestra revealed every nuance….
Instrumental soloists were superb….Trumpeters Justin Bland, Jesse Levine, and Vincent Monaco played with a celebratory zeal fit for this golden anniversary season.” (Boston Classical Review)