Jamie Sanborn


Hometown: Wichita, KS

Alma maters: University of Kansas, B.M.; University of Texas at Austin, M.M.

Photos by Matt Dine


Awards/Competitions: Finalist, 2014 Coltman Chamber Music Competition; National Finalist, 2013 MTNA Young Artists Solo Brass Division; 3rd Place, 2006 MTNA National Senior Brass Solo Division

Appearances: Sarasota Music Festival, 2017; Banff Music Center, 2016; Orchestra of the Americas, 2015; Aspen Music Festival, 2014; Colorado College Music Festival, 2014; Hot Springs Music Festival, 2013; Round Top Music Festival, 2012; Topeka Symphony, Assistant/Utility Horn, 2012–13; Eutiner Festpiele Opera Festival, Germany, 2011

What is your earliest memory of classical music? Hearing the sound of the symphony orchestra for the first time in Disney’s movie Fantasia

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career? As soon as I began playing my first dented up public school horn. It wasn’t a specific moment but a feeling in my gut that I knew I needed this in my life and I was never going to give it up.

What inspired you to audition for TŌN? I heard about TŌN from my dearest friend Lauren Peacock, who is a cellist that joined the orchestra during its second year. I was inspired to apply because I was teaching and gigging full time in Houston and I was dying to play in an orchestra full-time again. Plus, I could focus on my own performance practice and be a part of something new that had ideals that matched my own.

What do you think orchestra concerts should look like in the 21st Century? In my humble opinion orchestras need to shake it up more. It is not sustainable to continue playing the same core repertoire every year. Or if orchestras want to continue playing the same repertoire they need to present it in a way that connects to an audience: explain the depth of the music, how it relates to our world today, what to listen for, and help audiences understand the importance of this art form. I also believe that combing other forms of expression (dance, art, writing, video) into a concert setting could make classical concerts more inviting for an audience. And honestly just speaking to audience members before, during, or after a concert I believe could make a huge change.

Who is your biggest inspiration? My incredible teacher and mentor William VerMeulen, who I will forever hear in the back of my mind pushing me to be a better musician in every way, every day.

Which composer do you feel you connect with the most? Definitely Sergei Rachmaninoff, whose colorful music and incredibly captivating melodic lines continuously mesmerize me every time I listen to his music. While there are a great number of composers whose transcendent music can fill my heart, Rachmaninoff speaks to my soul.

What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it?: Depends on my mood, but Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 and the 4th movement from Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 are both pieces I frequently listen to because they move me to tears, but not necessarily in a sad way. They just leave a heavy impact on my heart.

What has been your favorite experience as a musician? Hands down all the people I’ve met that have opened my mind to new ideas and worlds that I never would have known existed if I had just stayed in Kansas; but don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Kansas.

What is some advice you would give to your younger self? Don’t waste so much time on dating and focus on horn.

Favorite non-classical musician or band: Lady Gaga

If you could play another instrument, what would it be? Cello, because it rivals the horn with it’s gorgeous sound.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? I love learning anything about the brain and our subconscious so either psychology or brain surgery.

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to and why?: Montréal, because it has amazing public transportation, is incredibly clean, has great shopping, the symphony is world-class, and there is a huge hill in the middle of it.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: I can lick my elbow.

Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Try your best not to define yourself by your success as a musician but instead by the passion you feel for the music. If you truly want to succeed in classical music and want it bad enough you will get there.