Faculty - Hero - Inouye
  1. Faculty

Mark Inouye



  • Applied Lessons
  • Trumpet Class


  • BM, The Juilliard School


  • San Francisco Symphony, Principal, 1999–Present
  • Houston Symphony, Principal
  • New World Symphony

What is your hometown?

Davis, CA

What is your favorite recording?

Clifford Brown: "Study in Brown"

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Anything outside — mountain biking, surfing, running, watching World Series victories at AT&T Park...

Who were your major teachers?

Ray Mase, Mark Gould, and Wynton Marsalis.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

“Enjoy what you do and give 110% — in that order, with or without the trumpet.”

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

“How can I be more organized and more efficient with my daily practicing?”

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

While I was a civil engineering student at the University of California, Davis, I met and took a lesson with Wynton Marsalis. He was very encouraging and supportive, and that was a big boost towards my decision to change majors and schools to pursue a career in music performance.

What was a turning point in your career?

I was playing some pick-up basketball outside in 1997 when I was a fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. I got my finger (of my right hand) caught in the metal chain net and had to go to the emergency room to have 13 stitches put in. The doctor said I came extremely close to having permanent and irreversible damage. After that incident, I became very focused with a newfound passion for music, knowing I could have easily ruined my trumpet career.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

Working as a civil engineer, designing public transportation systems. And as a part of that profession, maybe even designing roller coasters. Hopefully, I wouldn't confuse the two!

What is your daily practice routine?

Practice SLOWLY and improve a little bit... as fast as possible!

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Impossible for me to answer. I quickly came up with too many… Bach, Schumann, Mahler, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, J. Williams.

What are your most important collaborations?

My most important collaboration is the next one. So for me, it is the pursuit of playing at the highest level that I can with my colleagues in the San Francisco Symphony.

What recordings can we hear you on?

Anything from the San Francisco Symphony recorded after 2006.


Mark J Inouye is one of a very select group of trumpeters equally at home in the worlds of jazz and classical music. Currently he is the Principal Trumpet of the San Francisco Symphony. After attending the University of California at Davis for two years as a civil engineering major, he transferred to the Juilliard School. He toured the United States with Toccatas and Flourishes, the nationally acclaimed organ and trumpet duo. He was a member of the New World Symphony and Principal Trumpet with the Charleston Symphony before joining the San Francisco Symphony in 1999. He also served as Principal Trumpet with the Houston Symphony from 2004-2006 and was a guest principal of the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony. Mr. Inouye was a soloist in Wynton Marsalis’s video production Marsalis on Music under the direction of Seiji Ozawa and has appeared as a soloist featuring the WHO at Carnegie Hall. He has performed both the Haydn and Tomasi Trumpet Concerti with the New World Symphony. He has also performed the Tartini Violin Concerto, arranged for trumpet, with the Houston Symphony. Mr. Inouye has been a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony on numerous occasions performing Copland's Quiet City, Bach's Cantata No. 51, Vassily Brandt's Concertpiece No. 2, and the Haydn Trumpet Concerto. He has performed his own jazz compositions on numerous occasions with the San Francisco Symphony's Chamber Music Series.