John Freeman, principal trumpet
SFCO principal trumpet player John Freeman is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina. Growing up in a family that didn’t listen to classical music, his involvement began when he joined his school band in the 5th grade.
“I wasn’t very good at first. I couldn’t remember the fingerings! I started taking lessons after a couple years because I wanted to get better, and it just started snowballing from there. The more you practice, the better you get, and the more fun it becomes, and the more you practice.
“I think I knew pretty early on that I wanted to try to become a full-time musician. I never had a difficult time deciding—it was all I wanted to do. In high school, my private teacher was in the Charlotte Symphony. I looked up to him so much, I basically wanted to do exactly what he was doing. The day I won my first professional audition in 2005 for the Charleston Symphony—it was then that I realized this crazy idea of becoming a professional orchestra trumpet player might actually happen.”
John has lived in Cleveland and New York City as well as Charlotte and Charleston; he moved to San Francisco 8 years ago with his wife, Robin. In addition to the SFCO, John is principal trumpet of the Marin, Stockton and Napa Valley symphonies, and third trumpet of the Oakland Symphony. He is an adjunct professor of trumpet at UC Davis and teaches privately as well.
Formerly a fairly serious bicycle racer, John enjoys running and cycling, roasting his own coffee (“I even kinda started a coffee business called ‘Three Valve Coffee’ but it was cutting into my practice time…”), and spending time hanging out with his wife Robin and their cat.
“I like playing in the SFCO because of the interesting programming, being able to play in a more intimate chamber music setting, and getting to work a really friendly group of people, who are honestly the top tier of the Bay Area’s musicians. Plus, I love a good viola joke.”