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Faculty Interview: Chris Guilfoyle, Trombone



Next up in our series of faculty interviews is Chris Guilfoyle, one of our trombone teachers! Chris is also one of the co-founders and co-directors of Texas Music Institute.


When did you start playing your instrument? What made you choose your instrument?

Since I was in elementary school I always wanted to be in band. My mom was a high school math teacher and she always took me to high school football games. While I loved watching football, I like listening to the band much better. To be honest, I really wanted to join the drumline. I thought the sounds of percussion sounded so cool to me. When it came time to sign up for band in the 6th grade all of the percussion spots were taken. The band director went through some options and I ultimately decided on the trombone. 


Tell us a little bit about who you are and your background.

I'm originally from San Antonio, TX. When I was 11 I moved to Houston where I began playing the trombone. When I was a junior in high school I was accepted to attend the Curtis Institute of Music, an opportunity I couldn't pass up! I Left high school a year early and attended Curtis for 4 years. After Curtis I moved to Dallas to freelance and teach. In Dallas I was also a part of a non-degree performance program at Southern Methodist University. I've been freelancing and subbing for orchestras since moving to Dallas. My wife and I did take a year and a half hiatus to live in Asheville, NC. An experience we'll never forget! 


What made you want to go into music professionally?

From the very first time I saw the Houston Symphony in person I knew I wanted to play orchestral music professionally. The sound of the symphony orchestra is the most incredible thing to experience! Being a part of it is my focus in life. 


Was there a teacher that had a large influence on you as a musician/person? Tell us about it!

Every person I've had the opportunity to study with has been an incredible influence on me. If I had to pick a specific, my high school teacher, Mr. Guess, taught me how to be a working musician. He taught me how to be musically flexible without taking myself too seriously. 


If you could give a piece of advice to your middle school or high school self, what would it be?

I would tell my younger self to find a way to not be afraid of criticism. 


What is your favorite performance or musical opportunity you have experienced?

My favorite musical experience was hearing the Philadelphia Orchestra perform Bruckner Symphony no. 8 with Simon Rattle. I've never heard anything like that performance before or since. 


What advice would you give to your students who want to follow in your footsteps and become a professional musician?

I would advise my students to never set limits. Any audition, competition or performance is accessible if you put in the work. 


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