Stanley Curtis, D.M., is the president of the Historic Brass Society. He also is an assistant professor of trumpet in the School of Music, Theater and Dance at Colorado State University. He also is the principal trumpet in the Fort Collins Symphony.
When I was a small boy, I begged for piano lessons, to go to school, and to join the Army. I got close. I was a trumpeter in the U.S. Navy Band from 1998 to 2018. But I might have dragged out the school part too long—my doctorate at Indiana University lasted 18 years! But while there, I traded a flugelhorn for a baroque trumpet, bought my first cornetto for $35, and met my future wife, Melissa. And so, my love for historic brass was born, and I took it to the Netherlands and back to the States, playing in many wonderful ensembles, including the Washington Bach Consort and Apollo’s Fire. I now get to teach fantastic trumpet students at Colorado State University, and I am the President of the HBS. My baroque trumpets hang from my office wall when I’m not playing them, and my window frames the Rocky Mountains.
From 2004 to 2009, I hosted the first baroque trumpet competition in the U.S. at George Mason University. I reached out to Jeff Nussbaum, HBS’s founder, for help. He was our champion each year, personally bringing awards for the winners. Over the years, I saw him again in New York City at the HBS Symposium and in Northfield, Minnesota, at the Early Brass Festival. He often chatted with me, always encouraging me in my career. I am so lucky that I can continue to grow as his successor in the HBS.
This stained glass window of the Judgment Day, at my old church in Arlington, Virginia, inspired me to write a modern composition for soprano, baroque trumpet, harpsichord, and baroque cello. I eventually recorded this as part of a CD in 2019.