Ryan Gardner
Professor of Trumpet
Brass + percussion

Ryan Gardner is Professor of Trumpet at the University of Colorado Boulder. Originally from Santa Monica, California, 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. 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.

Gardner has been teaching students for more than a decade. Prior to his appointment at CU Boulder, 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. 

Gardner has one of the most visible and distinguished trumpet programs in the country. Within the last nine years, Gardner’s students have won every collegiate division at the National Trumpet Competition including the Undergraduate Solo Division three times (2017, 2018, 2021), the Graduate Solo Division (2016), the Military Band Division (2022) and the Ensemble Division seven times (2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2021, 2022 (small), 2022 (large)) in addition to placing a total of 19 times during this span. They have performed to standing ovations and rave reviews at six International Trumpet Guild Conferences where his students have also won first place in every classical competition. His students have also won both brass divisions at the Music Teachers National Association Solo Competitions, prizes at the International Women’s Brass Conference, and have had success in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and the Roger Voisin Memorial Competition. 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 premiere military bands.

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, Gardner has played with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Colorado Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony, the Honolulu Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Artosphere Festival Orchestra, 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. Gardner continues to have an active orchestral performing schedule. He plays principal trumpet with the Distinguished Concerts International Orchestra in New York City.

Gardner also stands out as an avid chamber musician and soloist. Ensembles of note are the Colorado Brass Quintet, 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. Gardner has also performed with Broadway touring shows including Young Frankenstein and The Three Phantoms. Gardner continues to be a featured soloist and recitalist around the world. 

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 sophomore album, Sempiternal Songs, features new music and arrangements for trumpet and harp.

Holding memberships with professional associations, Gardner actively participates with the International Trumpet Guild where is Vice President/President-Elect, College Music Society, and National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, as well as the National Trumpet Competition. In 2010, Gardner was honored for his philanthropic work as Spotlight Artist of the Year by Music for Autism. He is now the Artistic Manager 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.  

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