Ryan Gardner
Associate Professor of Trumpet
Brass and Percussion • COM

Dr. Ryan Gardner is the Associate Professor of Trumpet at the University of Colorado Boulder.  Originally from Santa Monica, California, Dr. Gardner received his Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music with highest distinction, his Master of Music from Rice University - Shepherd School of Music, and his Doctor of Musical Arts from the Manhattan School of Music. While in New York, he worked with former principal trumpeter of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Mark Gould, and the former second trumpet player of the New York Philharmonic, Vincent Penzarella. Dr. Gardner's thesis is based on Penzarella's pedagogical techniques and philosophies, which include innovative ideas on breathing, air usage, and brass playing, as well as performance psychology.

Dr. Gardner has been teaching students for more than a decade. Prior to his appointment at CU Boulder, Dr. Gardner served on faculty at Oklahoma State University where he was the recipient of the Board of Regents Distinguished Teaching Award, the Wise-Diggs-Berry Award for scholarly excellence, the Distinguished Professor of Music Award, and the Junior Faculty Award.  He also taught for three years at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith.

Dr. Gardner has one of the most visible and distinguished trumpet programs in the country. Within the last six years, Dr. Gardner’s students have won every collegiate division at the National Trumpet Competition including the Undergraduate Solo Division twice (2017, 2018), the Graduate Solo Division (2016) and the Ensemble Division four times (2014, 2015, 2016, 2018) in addition to placing a total of 12 times during this span. They have performed to standing ovations and rave reviews at five International Trumpet Guild Conferences where his students have also won first place in both the Solo and Orchestral Excerpts competitions. Dr. Gardner’s students have gone on to study at prestigious graduate schools, to teach at outstanding high school and college programs and to play professionally in orchestras, brass quintets and military bands.

Dr. Gardner, outside of his work at the University, maintains his private studio and additionally gives master classes and lectures internationally while continuing to perform.

As an orchestral performer, Dr. Gardner has played with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Kansas City Symphony, the Honolulu Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Tulsa Symphony, the Tulsa Opera, the Tulsa Ballet, the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, the Fort Smith Symphony, the New World Symphony, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra USA, the Music Academy of the West Orchestra, the Aldeburgh Festival Britten-Pears Orchestra in England, and the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland, directed by James Levine. He has also performed in many prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, Merkin Concert Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and the Palau de la Musica Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. Dr. Gardner continues to have an active orchestral performing schedule. He plays principal trumpet with the Distinguished Concerts International Orchestra in New York City and is a member the Artosphere Festival Orchestra. 

Dr. Gardner also stands out as an avid chamber musician and soloist. Ensembles of note are the Three-Fifths Trio, the Eastman Brass Quintet, the Rochester Philharmonic Brass Quintet, the Houston Symphony Brass Quintet, and the Seventh Partial Brass Quintet, as well as the new music ensembles Alarm Will Sound and Crash Ensemble. Dr. Gardner has also performed with Broadway touring shows including Young Frankenstein and The Three Phantoms. Dr. Gardner continues to be a featured soloist and recitalist around the world.

Dr. Gardner has been privileged to work with artists such as Ray Charles, Doc Severinson, Wayne Bergeron, Lenny Pickett, Mark Inouye, Don Green, Allan Vizzutti, the Canadian Brass, Michael Tillson-Thomas, Esa-Pekka Solonen, and David Zinman, to name a few. He can be heard on the Naxos, Mark Records, and BX Entertainment labels and is a Bach performing artist and clinician. His first album, On Track, has been lauded as having a velvety tone that never loses roundness, strength and technical skills, and playing with all the feeling we want to hear (American Record Guide).  His newest album, Sempiternal Songs, features new music and arrangements for trumpet and harp.

Holding memberships with professional associations, Dr. Gardner actively participates with the International Trumpet Guild, College Music Society, and National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, as well as the National Trumpet Competition. In 2010, Dr. Gardner was honored for his philanthropic work as Spotlight Artist of the Year by Music for Autism. He is now the Artistic Coordinator for Music for Autism, programming music nationally for those with autism and their families, and most importantly, helping raise awareness and advocating for those with autism.  Dr. Gardner also serves on the Board of Directors for the International Trumpet Guild since 2016.

Dr. Gardner is indebted to all of his main trumpet teachers: Vincent Penzarella, Mark Gould, Marie Speziale, James Thompson, Boyde Hood, and Paul Salvo.