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Steven Franklin

A native of Chicago, Steven Franklin joined the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 2023 as Principal Trumpet. Previously, he was Associate Principal Trumpet of the Kansas City Symphony, Principal Trumpet of the Hawaii Symphony, and a Fellow with the New World Symphony. He has performed as guest principal trumpet with the Chicago Symphony under Maestro Riccardo Muti. Franklin earned his bachelor's degree from the Curtis Institute of Music studying with David Bilger. While in school, he was a frequent substitute with the Rochester Philharmonic and attended the National Orchestral Institute, where he recorded as principal trumpet on Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring (Naxos Records). Franklin is also an active chamber musician and soloist. He was a founding member of The Brass Project, a Philadelphia-based brass sextet that commissioned over 40 new works during his tenure. As soloist, he has appeared with the New World Symphony, Ocean City Pops, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, and many other regional ensembles. He has won first prize in various competitions including the Roger Voisin Memorial Trumpet Competition, the International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition, and the National Trumpet Competition. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Franklin used his spare time to produce his first solo album, Skylight, on which he can be heard as both trumpet player and pianist. Some of his original compositions are also featured, including the premiere of his ambitious Sonata for Trumpet and Piano. Education is also an important priority for Franklin. He has maintained a private studio since he was in high school and is on faculty for the MasterWorks Festival in Campbellsville, Kentucky. As a clinician, Franklin has given masterclasses in South America and Asia, as well as at home in the United States. In addition to his career as a trumpet player, Franklin is also an active composer. He has been commissioned by the American Brass Quintet, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, and New York Philharmonic, among others. His typically post-romantic style "looks back longingly to the abiding tonal sensibilities of Richard Strauss" (Philadelphia Inquirer). The Oregon ArtsWatch also observes, "The yearning, conflicted melody Franklin envelops in almost-jazzy late Romantic harmony (is reminiscent) of the bittersweet, melancholy sentimentality (in) John Williams..." Some have also remarked that his "harmonic and melodic style has a distinct cinematic flavor" (San Francisco Classical Voice). Despite his love for the music of Strauss and his cinematic style, Franklin's music continues to evolve as he explores new ways of achieving the depth of expression possible in music. When not practicing or composing, most of his other interests involve being outdoors, including hiking, disc golf, and triathlon. He and his wife, Naomi, reside in Brentwood, MO.