Trumpet artist Stephen M. Wadsack is an enthusiastic performer, music educator, arts administrator, and entrepreneur. His skyrocketing career has already taken him around the country, sharing both stage and classroom with world-renowned musicians across various genres.
Currently based in the Greater Cincinnati area, Stephen regularly performs in major symphony orchestras, as a soloist, in chamber ensembles, as a champion of new music, and in venues ranging from jazz clubs to cathedrals. He is a frequent guest musician with the Cincinnati May Festival, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra (OH), Lexington Philharmonic (KY), Kentucky Symphony, and Richmond Symphony (IN), as well as nearly a dozen additional regional orchestras in the Tri-State area. Recent appearances as a soloist include engagements with the Wilmington HS Symphonic Band (2022), Butler Philharmonic (2021), Queen City Chamber Orchestra (2020), the Merit Theater Company Orchestra (2019), the Round Lake High School Jazz Band (2019), and Bowling Green State University’s
‘Falcon Marching Band’ (2018).
For nearly ten years, Stephen played trumpet, led educational programming, and performed arts leadership duties for the nationally touring and award-winning ensemble, Grand Avenue Brass. Currently, he leads a quintet of top freelance musicians and educators in the Cincinnati area, presenting dozens of performances each year. This ensemble recently partnered with Linton Chamber Music (an affiliate of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra) to present a three-month series of educational concerts for their “Peanut Butter & Jam Sessions” program. As a Baroque trumpeter, Stephen has performed with world-renowned international soloist Friedemann Immer, the Kentucky Baroque Trumpets, and as a featured artist at the North American Baroque Trumpet Conference.
Equally at home in all musical styles, Stephen is also frequently called upon to perform in jazz and commercial music idioms, as well as for studio recording and arranging work. Wadsack has recently recorded for Berkshire Hathaway corporate events, as well as Carnival and Celebrity Cruise Lines. He can be seen and heard regularly in the live band at Kings Island amusement park, which performs for approximately 3.5 million guests each year over an 8-month season. As a jazz/commercial musician, Wadsack has also performed alongside greats such as Randy Brecker, Dave Douglas, the Yellowjackets, and the American rock band KANSAS.
As an educator, Stephen works passionately to inspire future generations of musicians, teachers, and patrons of the arts; a unique aspect of his teaching philosophy is an emphasis on leadership and ‘soft skill’ development as holding equal importance to that of musical ability and content knowledge. Wadsack is frequently called upon to speak on these topics, perform as a guest artist, adjudicate competitions, and lead masterclasses at various institutional levels - to date, he has worked with over 30 university and high school programs across 16 different states.
Stephen encourages his students to apply the same concepts used in pursuit of musical excellence to all aspects of their lives - resulting in greater artistic satisfaction, self-honesty, a fulfilling musical journey, and a more entertaining performance for everyone involved. Many of his former students have secured prominent positions in the world as successful performers, teachers, and arts advocates.
In May of 2022, Wadsack began his tenure as the trumpet professor at Wright State University; in addition to his responsibilities teaching applied trumpet, Stephen also serves as the director of the WSU Jazz Ensemble and performs in the critically acclaimed Faculty Brass Quintet. Prior to joining the faculty at Wright State, Stephen previously served at Wilmington College (OH), Thomas More University (KY), the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), and the University of Wyoming. When his schedule allows, Stephen also maintains a private studio of serious and committed musicians, ranging in age from middle schoolers to retired or “comeback players”. In the summers, Wadsack teaches at Encore/Coda, an artistic retreat and musical arts education camp with programs in classical music, jazz, rock, pop, and musical theater.
Stephen is a lifelong learner and advocate of music’s communal role in society. He is a published author in both the International Trumpet Guild Journal (2022) and the music education journal Wyoming Windsong (2015). Recent scholarship activities include selection by the Historic Brass Society and North American Baroque Trumpet Conference to present research on the trumpet writing of world-renowned composer J.S. Bach (2022), as well as selection by the International Trumpet Guild (ITG) to present a collection of case studies and best practices on the college audition process at the 2022 conference in San Antonio, TX. In 2014, Wadsack was a recipient of the prestigious Theodore Presser Undergraduate Scholar in Music award.
Stephen is also committed to exploring new works for trumpet. Through recent collaborations with six-time American Prize winning composer, Martin Hebel, Wadsack has co-commissioned two arrangements for trumpet quartet - both of which were awarded top honors at the National Trumpet Competition and received invitations for performances at the ITG Conference (2017, 2018). Stephen also commissioned and performed the world premiere of Hebel's Rhapsody for One, a composition for unaccompanied trumpet that commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the birth of American musical juggernaut, Leonard Bernstein.
At both the local and national level, Stephen has been recognized for his infectious personality, enthusiasm, and oratory skill as an arts leader. In 2021, Wadsack was appointed as an inaugural member of the Linton “Peanut Butter & Jam Sessions” Advisory Board, which oversees programming and direction of free arts education concerts, presented to thousands of children and their families throughout the Greater Cincinnati area. During the Summer 2022 season, Stephen also served as the Interim Education Director and Manager for Linton PB&J, alongside his life partner and spouse, Casey.
In the trumpet community, Wadsack serves on the leadership board of the Ohio ITG chapter, and also holds the position of Midwest District Coordinator for North American ITG affiliate chapters. In 2017, Stephen also served as the Executive Staff and Competition Host Assistant of the National Trumpet Competition in Lexington, KY.
Outside of musical pursuits, Stephen enjoys connecting with friends, family, and current/former students. He is very passionate about the outdoors, hiking, fly fishing, and traveling to new places (especially National and State Parks). At home, Stephen regularly enjoys hosting board game nights, reading up on theology, all things coffee, and even brewing his own beer. He is also particularly proud of his Wyoming heritage (Go Pokes!). Stephen is happily married to his wife and "adventure partner," Casey - together, they reside in the Norwood neighborhood of Cincinnati.