Bruce Chrisp


SRS Principal Trombonist Bruce Chrisp has been performing with the Symphony for 29 years. He also performs with six other area orchestras and the Carmel Bach Festival. He’s been playing the trombone since he was ten. When asked why he chose the trombone, he quipped, “It was shiny.” He was also enthralled by the slide.

In a complete departure from his work on orchestral stages, he also plays bluegrass banjo and mused that a “fantastic” gig his band played was at a roadhouse in Santa Maria, outside under a tin roof behind chicken wire. For those who have not seen the Blues Brothers and don’t frequent such establishments, the chicken wire is to protect the band from projectiles from the crowd. And payment was mostly drink tickets. But they had fun and want to do it again.

His favorite composer is Mahler, because his music is about real human experiences, from absolute grief to elation, and nature. He’s also a big fan of Beethoven’s string quartets. When he’s not performing, he mentors for the Muse program in Oakland, making good use of his Music Ed degree. “I am a player who likes teaching, rather than a teacher who likes to play,” he said.

And he’s an arranger. The two canzoni in the SRS @ Home October 11 concert, by Gabrieli, were arranged by him. “Gabrieli, to me, is by far the best composer that we know about at least, from that era. And that’s why his music gets played much more than anyone else from that era. He was truly a genius. And even though these pieces were written for the instruments of the day, they work on modern instruments.”

Currently, Chrisp is the low brass professor at the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music in Stockton, CA. I also teach in their Music Industry Studies program, digital music and A/V production.

Outside of his musical activities, a couple of his crowning achievements were solo cycling trips (camping as he went) from the Canadian border to San Francisco and the following year from San Francisco to the Mexican border.



A portrait of Bruce Chrisp and his trombone