2021 Carmine Caruso Competition

International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition

armine Caruso  Trumpet Competition

October 1 & 2, 2021

Lamont School of Music
University of Denver

Al Hood, Host, alan.hood@du.edu

Sponsored by the International Trumpet Guild® in cooperation with the Herb Alpert Foundation

Herb alpert Foundation
Herb Alpert Foundation

The world’s most prestigious competition for jazz trumpeters comes to Colorado's front range and the University of Denver.

Carmine Caruso was one of the world's greatest brass teachers. It is to this man and his work that the 2021 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition is dedicated. All of Saturday's events are open to the public and will be held at the Lamont School of Music, Hamilton Recital Hall, Newman Center for the Performing Arts in Denver, Colorado, on October 2nd, 2021.


First Prize $10,000 US
Second Prize $5,000 US


  • Carmine Caruso
  • Competition Rules, Guidelines & Application

    Competition Rules and Guidelines

    The 2021 competition is open to all trumpet performers born after October 2, 1991 provided that they are not currently under major artist management.

    The online application will be available beginning March 1, 2021 and will close on June 15, 2021.

    At the ITG Competitions Website, you must complete the following: (Opens March 1)

    • Complete the online registration form.
    • Upload unedited recordings of the required repertoire with a live rhythm section. Recordings must be uploaded in an mp3 format only. You will be required to submit each selection as a separate mp3 file.
    • Upload copies of lead sheets of your chosen repertoire in PDF format for all selections with accurate chord changes as recorded for the preliminary round.
    • Upload a copy of a document (such as a passport, driver’s license, or birth certificate) in PDF format verifying your date of birth.
    • Pay a non-refundable application fee of $100.00 U.S. After uploading their recordings, applicants will be taken to a PayPal portal in which they can pay via credit card or PayPal balance. The email used to register for this competition should match the email on the PayPal account used for payment. Payment is required at the time of application.

    Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. You will be sent acknowledgement of receipt of your materials.

    Finalists will be contacted by the competition host and required to provide specific promotional materials. The competition host will provide complete instructions and a deadline for receipt of materials at time of notification.

    The competition has two stages:

    • A preliminary recorded round.
    • A final round performed live at the competition site — the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver in Colorado — on October 2, 2021.

      Rehearsals with the competition rhythm section will take place on October 1.


    First prize is $10,000.00 US
    Second prize is $5,000.00 US

    The judges reserve the right to award no first and/or second prize if they feel that no contestant meets the standards set for this competition. No ties will be awarded. Winnings of US and non-US citizens are applicable to US income tax laws and withholding requirements.


    Each contestant’s preliminary recording must include four (4) different selections from the following categories:

    Selections 1 and 2: Choose two of the five following standard tune styles. (One or both of these selections may be original compositions in these styles.):

    • Ballad
    • Latin Jazz
    • Up-tempo rhythm changes
    • Contemporary funk-rock fusion
    • jazz waltz or mixed meter

    Selection 3: Lee Morgan, Morgan the Pirate.
    If you need to purchase this lead sheet, you can find a copy in the Jamey Aebersold Play-a-Long Series, Volume 106. You can order this through almost any music store.

    Selection 4: Contestant’s choice in any jazz style.

    Preliminary (recorded) round:

    The preliminary round consists of the submitted mp3 recordings of all selections as listed above. The mp3 files should be of the highest quality possible and must be made with a live (not prerecorded) rhythm section. The recordings must be unedited except between selections. Do NOT announce the name of the contestant or the title of the selections on the recording. All recordings will be judged anonymously.

    Final Round:

    A maximum of five (5) finalists will be chosen to compete in the final round at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. All finalists will be notified by August 1, 2021. After all finalists have been chosen, the other applicants will be notified. All finalists will receive a travel expense reimbursement of up to $500.00 US. A professional rhythm section will be provided for each of the finalists to rehearse and perform their selections in Denver, Colorado on October 1 and 2, 2021. Finalists will have a maximum of 1 ½ hours to rehearse with this group prior to the final round. All finalists will perform 3 or 4 selections from the preliminary tape plus a new required selection to be given to the contestant at the rehearsal for a maximum performance time of 30 minutes. These rehearsals are not open to the public. The final round will take place in the form of a concert with each contestant drawing lots to determine his or her order of appearance.

    All prize winners must agree to allow ITG to release post-competition publicity that may include photos, video, audio, and/or materials from their bios. The first prize winner will be invited to perform as a featured artist at the 2022 ITG Conference.

    The competition chair is in charge of the competition and may, in case of an emergency or necessity, make decisions or adopt policies that would be beneficial to the operations for the competition. The awards ceremony will occur at the end of the final round concert. The Herb Alpert Foundation and the International Trumpet Guild provide all monetary prizes and operations for the competition.

    Competition Advisory Committee:

    Chair: Vern Sielert
    Host: Alan Hood
    ITG President: Jason Bergman

    Questions regarding the competition can be addressed by the host:
    Alan Hood — (303) 587-7590 or alan.hood@du.edu

  • Guest Artists / Judges / Clinicians

    2021 Esteemed Artist/Judges for the Live Competition Round in Denver on October 2:

    Jon Faddis

    Jon Faddis     ©️JOHNABBOTTPHOTO.COM

    Jon Faddis is a complete and consummate musician - conductor, composer, and educator.  Marked by both intense integrity and humor, Faddis earned accolades from his close friend and mentor John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie, who declared of Faddis, “He's the best ever, including me!”  As a trumpeter, Faddis possesses a virtually unparalleled range and full command of his instrument, making the practically impossible seem effortless.
    Read More


    Terrell Stafford

    Terell Stafford

    Terell Stafford, acclaimed trumpet player based in New York, has been hailed as “one of the great players of our time, a fabulous trumpet player” by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Stafford is recognized as an incredibly gifted and versatile player, he combines a deep love of melody with his own brand of spirited and adventurous lyricism. Stafford’s exceptionally expressive and well defined musical talent allows him to dance in and around the rich trumpet tradition of his predecessors while making his own inroads. Read More


    Michael Rodriguez

    Michael Rodriguez

                Grammy Award-Winning Trumpeter/Composer Michael Rodriguez was born on July 14, 1979 in Queens, New York.  Michael was inspired to pursue music as a career by his father, drummer Roberto Rodriguez.  Michael first studied at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida, continuing his studies at the University of Miami.  After completing two years at the University of Miami, he decided to transfer to the New School University in New York City, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree. 
    Read More

    2021 Carmine Caruso Guest Clinician/Artist:

    Vincent DiMartino

    Vince DiMartino

    Vince DiMartino is one of the most sought-after trumpet performers and educators. Since graduating from The Eastman School of Music in 1972, professor DiMartino had taught at the University of Kentucky until 1993. At that time, Mr. DiMartino began a new appointment as Distinguished Artist in residence at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. There he teaches trumpet, brass and jazz ensembles and jazz history. He has served two years as the Music Chair and was coordinator of the Centre College Instrumental Program. He was Distinguished Matton Professor of Music at Centre. Read More


    2021 Judges for the Preliminary Recorded Round:

    Rob Parton - Associate Professor of Jazz Trumpet, University of North Texas   
    Bio & Photo

    John Raymond - Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies/Trumpet, Indiana University   
    Bio & Photo

    Dr. Ryan Nielsen - Associate Professor of Music/Trumpet, Utah Valley University   
    Bio & Photo


    2021 Caruso Competition Rhythm Section:

    Dave Hanson

    Dave Hanson, piano

    Dave Hanson is an arranger, composer and pianist who has written for a diverse range of artists and ensembles, including the Boston Pops, Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, Denver Brass, Boulder Brass, USAF Falconaires, and Paul Winter.

    He is co-leader, with Al Hood, of the H2 Big Band whose 2011 release “You’re It” climbed to #10 on the Jazz Week radio chart, and was #1 on Bob Parlocha’s syndicated jazz radio show playlist. Read More


    Ken Walker

    Ken Walker, bass  

    Our “first-call” jazz bassist for the Rocky Mountain region, Ken Walker has played with a veritable Who’s Who of jazz artists including: Eddie Harris, Joe Pass, Marlena Shaw, Kenny Barron, Eric Alexander, Houston Person, Pharaoh Sanders, Phil Woods, Hal Galper, Jimmy Heath,Tom Harrell, John Abercrombie, Randy Brecker, Nat Adderley, Slide Hampton, Clark Terry, Herb Ellis, Freddie Hubbard, Henry Butler, Warren Vache, Larry Coryell, Lew Soloff, James Moody, Roy Hargrove, Peter Erskine, Ed Soph, Butch Miles, Art Lande, Barry Harris, Billy Hart, Bob Berg, Eddie Daniels, Benny Golson, Ravi Coltrane, Emily Remler, Jimmy Heath, Bobby Shew, Charles McPherson, Roseanna Vitro, Sheila Jordan, Mose Allison, Fred Wesley and Bob Dorough. Read More


    Paul Romaine

    Paul Romaine, drums 

    Paul Romaine felt drawn to music from the depth of his being throughout his childhood. He began playing drums professionally at age 14. Paul has led, recorded, or performed with countless combinations of the Denver area’s best players and with internationally acclaimed artists such as Eddie Harris, Benny Golson, James Moody, Larry Coryell, Gunther Schuller, Charlie Rouse, Eddie Gomez, Jack McDuff, Marlena Shaw, Rufus Reid, Clark Terry, Dave Grusin and Robin Eubanks. During his association with the Woody Herman Orchestra, Paul toured North America performing concerts and clinics. Read More


    2021 "Finale" Concert Big Band:

    H2 Big Band

    The H2 Big Band  Visit Origin Records Website

  • Host & Venue
    Alan Hood

    Host: Alan Hood, Professor of Trumpet, Lamont School of Music, University of Denver

    Trumpeter Alan Hood hails from the small upstate New York town of Pumpkin Hook and has been performing music for more than 38 years. Mr. Hood toured the world with the Phil Collins Big Band appearing at the Montreux and North Sea Jazz Festivals and New York City's prestigious Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. He is among featured soloists on the band's live compact disc recording A Hot Night in Paris, on the Atlantic jazz label and appears on well over fifty other jazz, commercial and classical recordings. Appearing with the orchestras of Woody Herman, Glenn Miller, Harry James and performing on stage with Ray Charles, Doc Severinsen, Natalie Cole, Manhattan Transfer, Arturo Sandoval, the Richie Cole Alto Madness Orchestra, the Summit Brass, Jon Faddis, Conte Candoli, Clark Terry, Curtis Fuller and Wynton Marsalis, to name just a few, has rewarded Alan with an array of irreplaceable memories and a well spring of professional experience. Read more


    Hamilton Recital Hall


    Venue: Frederic C. Hamilton Family Recital Hall,
    Robert & Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts

    The Hamilton Recital Hall is the workhorse for recital performances by faculty and students of the Lamont School of Music. Chamber music, solo recitals, piano concerts, organ concerts and even theatrical performances are all at home here. The space boasts the William K. Coors tracker action organ, which was designed, built, and maintained by the Karl Schuke Berliner Orgelbauwerkstatt in Berlin, Germany.

  • Schedule of Events

    Coming Soon

  • Directions & Hotel

    Coming Soon

  • Finalists

    Coming Soon