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David Burkhart

David Burkhart headshot playing trumpet


Office C05


Courses Taught

Applied Lessons

Trumpet Class


MM, Yale University

BA, Yale University


San Francisco Symphony, Extra

San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Extra

San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, Extra

The Bay Brass, Founding Member

Awards and Distinctions

Nominated, Grammy for Best Small Ensemble Performance, 2011

Winner, California Young Artists' Competition

Honors Graduate, Yale College

Burkhart's generous, even rich, tone excellently reflected his studies with the best (including Adolph Herseth). There was security in the line, in the genial bel canto acrobatics, firm articulation and nice style."

— San Francisco Chronicle


What is your hometown?

San Bruno, CA

What is your favorite recording?

Clifford Brown with Strings.

What are you passionate about outside of music?

SF history, writing, brewing beer, genealogy, and sports.

Who were your major teachers?

Charles Geyer, Adolph Herseth, Arnold Jacobs, and Robert Nagel.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

“Every technical problem has a musical solution.”

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

“Could you help me with my music for this concert tomorrow?”

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

When I decided to enroll in the master’s program at Yale.

What was a turning point in your career?

When I left New Haven, CT to go to Israel to be first trumpet with the Jerusalem Symphony.

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

Full-time historian/writer.

What is your daily practice routine?

60–90 minutes early every morning, plus same in afternoon/evening depending on rehearsal/concert schedule that day.

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

R. Strauss, Wagner, and Bach.

From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?

Bach's birth: 1685 in Eisenach.

What are your most important collaborations?

Rehearsing and performing with the San Francisco Symphony, Opera, and Ballet.

Who are three students you have had the privilege of teaching?

Mark Grisez, Jeff Strong, and Scott Macomber.

What are your academic publications?

Various article for the International Trumpet Guild.

What recordings can we hear you on?

Bay Brass: Sound the Bells!, Harmonia Mundi

A Brass and Organ Christmas, Gothic

Robert Erickson: Night Music, New World CRI

Mahler: Symphony No. 2, London

Mahler: Symphony No. 6, Delos

What is your unrealized project?

Three history books, one of which should be published in 2018.


Trumpeter David Burkhart, who grew up in Chicago, is an honors graduate of Yale, where he received his B.A. and M.M degrees. His “generous, even rich, tone,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle, “excellently reflected his studies with the best (including Adolph Herseth). There was security in the line, in the genial bel canto acrobatics, firm articulation and nice style." A student of Adolph Herseth, Arnold Jacobs, Robert Nagel, William Vacchiano, and Charles Geyer, Burkhart has served as principal trumpet of the Sacramento, Oakland, San Jose, and Jerusalem Symphonies, as well as the Santa Fe Opera, and as acting principal of the San Francisco Opera and San Diego Symphony. Prior to joining the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory, he taught at Stanford, San Jose State, and the Rubin Academy, Jerusalem. A founding member of the Bay Brass and the Jerusalem Brass Quintet, and member of the San Francisco Brass Quintet, Burkhart performs with many Bay Area groups, including the San Francisco Opera, Ballet, and Symphony. He has recorded over a dozen CDs and the DVD “Keeping Score: Mahler” with the San Francisco Symphony, “Symphony at the Opera” with the San Francisco Opera, “The Star Wars Trilogy” with John Williams, Robert Erickson’s “Night Music” with the Arch Ensemble, and two CDs with the Grammy-nominated Bay Brass.