Jarrod Briley


Hometown: Otway, NC

Alma maters: East Carolina University, 2018; Bard College Conservatory of Music, 2018–19

Instagram: @jarrod_briley

Photos by Matt Dine


Appearances: Eastern Music Festival, 2016–17; Winston Salem Symphony, 2018

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career? As cheesy as it is, it was during a district band concert in high school. One of the pieces touched me emotionally like I’d never felt before, and from that moment on I knew I was destined to have a musical career.

Who is your biggest inspiration? I’m constantly inspired by the musicians I get to perform with and the students I get to teach. It’s easy to strive for greatness when you’re always surrounded by it!

Which composer or genre of music do you feel you connect with the most? Romanticism, and Brahms especially. The way he was able to capture the emotion and drama of Romanticism in simple writing inspired by classical composition has always stuck out to and connected with me.

What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it? Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler, specifically the ending chorale. I’d never really heard an orchestral brass section until my first year of undergrad when my tuba professor showed me a recording of the San Francisco Symphony playing the finale. It blew my mind and made me want to play in a professional orchestra immediately.

Do you have any embarrassing performance stories? My senior year of college I bent over and ripped my tux pants right before a concert. I had to be very careful walking out on stage that night.

What is some advice you would give to your younger self? Trust your heart, be kinder to yourself, and never apologize for fighting for your happiness.

Favorite non-classical musician or band: Some of my favorites are Roy Hargrove, The Brook & the Bluff, Mac Miller, Jon Batiste, and Melt. There are too many to choose from!

If you could play another instrument, what would it be? Piano, without a doubt

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? I’d probably be working in the outdoors as a park ranger or trail guide, or maybe as a baker/chef. I love hiking and I love food maybe even more.

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to and why? I went on a mission trip to Costa Rica once and it was an incredible experience. The people I met were so nice and happy and they lived such simpler lives than we do. It inspired me to really appreciate all the opportunities I have in life.

Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with and why? Aaron Rodgers, Teddy Roosevelt, and Arnold Jacobs. They’ve each individually had some huge impact on my life, and there’s no way it wouldn’t be a good time.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: I’m a direct descendent of Viking royalty and my ancestor is whom Bluetooth is named after. The Bluetooth symbol is a combination of the nordic runes for his name.