2021 Carmine Caruso Competition

International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition

Competition Logo

October 1 & 2

Lamont School of Music
University of Denver

Alan Hood, Host  alan.hood@du.edu


David Sneider


1st PRIZE David Sneider, Hartsdale, NY

2nd PRIZE Joey Curreri, Marina del Rey, CA


2021 Caruso YouTube livestream link for October 2nd (starting at 8 a.m MST, going to likely 9:15 p.m. MST):

Watch Streaming

Caruso program booklet

Read the Program Book


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

  • 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

    2021 Caruso YouTube livestream link for October 2nd (starting at 8 a.m MST, going to likely 9:15 p.m. MST):

    Watch Streaming

    Caruso program booklet

    Read the Program Book

    Saturday, October 2nd

    All Events to be Live Streamed on YouTube

    8:00 a.m.      Clinic (in honor of Carmine Caruso) by Vincent DiMartino

                        PDF to accompany Di Martino Clinic

    10:00 a.m.    Clinic by guest adjudicators Jon Faddis, Terell Stafford & Mike Rodriguez

    Noon             Lunch Break

    1:30 p.m.     The Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition
                             Brandon Choi
    Joey Curreri
                             Austin Ford
    Giveton Gelin
                             David Sneider
                             Oriol Vallés Lopez  

    5:00 p.m.      Dinner Break

    7:00 p.m.     The Finale Concert & Awards Ceremony

                             1st half: featuring the six finalists

                            Brief (15-minute) Intermission

                             2nd half: featuring our guest artists

                             Awards Presentation

                             Finale Selection

  • Tickets, Parking & COVID19 Restrictions

    Tickets must be purchased from the Newman Center Box Office and all seats are reserved. ON SALE NOW.

    Getting your tickets in advance is highly recommended.

    Newman Center Box Office    Phone: 303-871-7720

    The Clinics & Competition ticket

    includes the clinic by Vincent DiMartino; clinic by Jon Faddis, Terell Stafford & Mike Rodriguez; and the solo competition. All ticketing for this event will be ONLINE. The box office will not be open on Saturday until 6:00 p.m. for the concert.

    The Finale Concert & Awards Ceremony ticket

    brings the competition to a conclusion with Finale Concert featuring the finalists and guest artists, and the Awards Ceremony.

    While the events are free, ticketing service fees still apply. Reserving your ticket online is the lowest fee.

    Saturday, October 2
    Clinics & Competitions

    Includes -
    8:00 a.m.    Clinic (in honor of Carmine Caruso) by Vincent DiMartino
    PDF to accompany Di Martino Clinic
    10:00 a.m.   Clinic by guest adjudicators Jon Faddis, Terell Stafford & Mike Rodriguez
    1:30 p.m.    The Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition
    Hamilton Recital Hall
    Free Ticket, All seats reserved, Complimentary parking (Gate open: 7:00a.m. – 9:00.a.m.)

    Saturday, October 2, 7:00.p.m.
    Finale Concert & Awards Ceremony
    Hamilton Recital Hall
    Free Ticket, All seats reserved, Complimentary parking (Gate Open: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)


    Newman Center Box Office    Phone: 303-871-7720

    Complimentary Parking is in the Newman Center Parking Garage on East Wesley Avenue. The gate will be open from 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. & 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

    COVID19 Restrictions

    All patrons ages 12 and older must show proof of vaccination to enter the Newman Center. Proof may be a physical or photo of a vaccine card, or by using the MyColorado app. For those unvaccinated, proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance attended must be presented.

    All visitors to the Newman Center will be required to always wear a mask while in the venue, including during the performances except when actively eating or drinking.

  • Directions & Hotel

    Official Competition Hotel

    Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Denver Cherry Creek

    1680 South Colorado Blvd 
    Denver, Colorado 80222 
    Hotel Phone and Reservations: 303-691-2223 or 800-690-9799

    Contact Name: Ryan Bergh, Senior Sales Manager
    Email: ryan.bergh@interstatehotels.com

    Book here for the DU rate


    Directions to the Newman Center for the Performing Arts:

    Campus Map

    The Robert & Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts (lower right corner of the map #53) is south of I-25 (South Valley Highway) on University Boulevard between East Iliff Avenue and East Wesley Avenue. The parking entrance is on Wesley.
    Address for GPS: 2344 East Iliff Avenue, Denver, CO 80208

    Directions to the hotel:

    Exit I-70 at Colorado Boulevard (South) exit to light and turn left (South). Travel 12.8 miles to Mexico Avenue, turn left and the hotel is on the left.

    Exit I-25 at Colorado Boulevard (North) exit to light and turn right (North). At the next light (Mexico Ave.) turn right and the hotel is on the left.

    Directions from the hotel to the Robert & Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts:  

    Exit the hotel by turning right (West) on Mexico. At the light turn left (South) on Colorado Boulevard. At Evans Avenue, turn right (West). At University Boulevard turn left (South). After you pass the Newman Center on your right, turn right (West) on Wesley Ave.and the parking entrance is on your right. (1.7 miles)

    Fairfield Inn & Suites Denver Cherry Creek

    is located just minutes from the University of Denver The hotel offers free secure garage parking right on the first three levels of the building, as well as complimentary breakfast.

    Fairfield In & Suites
  • Finalists

    After a wide array of world-class entries from all around the globe, our preliminary judges have decided upon the following finalists for the live competition to take place in Denver, Colorado on October 1st and 2nd.

    Congratulations to each of our six finalists in the ITG Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition! (in alphabetical order):


    Brandon Choi, Astoria, NY
    Brandon Choi

    Brandon Choi is an improvising trumpet player. A recent transplant to New York City, he enjoys making music and sounds with the kindred spirits he’s found there. Brandon is enjoying a burgeoning career as both a performer and composer, having had the distinct pleasure to make music with luminaries such as Miguel Zenon, Ingrid Jensen, Joe Martin, Jim McNeely, and Bill Holman. Brandon draws on his experience as an in-demand freelancing trumpeter all across Upstate and Western New York, as well as the rich experiences garnered at the Eastman School of Music, in his current and future endeavors. In 2019, Brandon placed first in the ITG Jazz Trumpet Competition. Brandon considers himself fortunate for every opportunity to connect, through sound, with all those around him.

    Joey Curreri, Marina del Rey, CA
    Joey Curreri

    Joey Curreri is a jazz trumpeter from Marina del Rey, CA. He is 21 and currently in his fourth year at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, studying under Brian Lynch. Joey began playing music at age six when his parents introduced him to classical piano. Joey began playing trumpet at age 10 and ventured into the jazz improvisational language in his first year of high school. Joey leads a quintet in Miami that has released two EPs of original music by him and his band.

    Since starting college, Joey has been selected as a semifinalist in the National Trumpet Competition’s jazz division in both his first and second year. In high school, Joey was selected as the jazz trumpet finalist in the National YoungArts competition, was a member of the the 2017 and 2018 Grammy Camp Jazz Session Big Band, a member of the 2017 and 2018 Thelonious Monk Peer-to-Peer All-Star Sextet (touring Dallas [2017]  and San Diego [2018], performing with Delfeayo Marsalis, Bobby Broom, and Lisa Henry, and toured Japan as a member of the 2018 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. Joey has performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, and the Newport Jazz Festival, and in 2018, studied with Terell Stafford and performed at the Vail Jazz Festival and Workshop. In 2017, Joey was selected to receive the LA Jazz Society’s Shelly Manne New Talent Award, performing at the Montalban Theater in Hollywood.

    Austin Ford, Denton, TX
    Austin Ford

    Austin Ford is a trumpet player and composer originally from Portland, OR. He recently completed his undergrad from the University of North Texas where he was a two year member of their seven-time Grammy nominated One O’Clock Lab Band. During his time there, he had the fortune of playing and or recording with guests such as Tom Harrell, Maria Schneider, Gary Smulyan and more. In the past, Austin has been a three-time semifinalist in the National Trumpet Competition as well as a second place finisher in the 2021 ITG Ryan Anthony Memorial Jazz Trumpet Competition. Austin loves to write music, with his brand new composition “Cool Kids” appearing on the upcoming One O’Clock Lab Band album Lab ’21. Austin is active on social media and can be found under the username "austinfordmusic" on Instagram and Tiktok, and “Austin Ford” on Youtube.

    Giveton Gelin, New York, NY
    Giveton Gelin

    From mentorship under Roy Hargrove and Dr. Eddie Henderson to playing with luminaries like Wynton Marsalis and Jon Batiste, renowned trumpet player Giveton Gelin is destined for greatness. He taught himself how to play the trumpet in his youth, and has grown to walk with the masters of the music.

    Picking up the trumpet at the age of ten, Gelin taught himself to play by emulating his favorite records. After years of self-tutelage, Adrian D’Aguilar, bass player, began to mentor him; thereby, providing him the tools to play jazz. Later on, the Nassau-born trumpeter would study with Dr. Eddie Henderson at the Oberlin Conservatory. The same year, he received recognition at the Young Arts Foundation and Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program. Thereafter, he continued his studies at the The Juilliard School – graduating in 2021.

    In the span of three years, Gelin has played with pioneers of the NY jazz scene such as Curtis Lundy, Bobby Watson, Roy Hargrove, Sullivan Fortner, Wynton Marsalis, Ben Wolfe, and Jon Batiste. Additionally, the 21-year-old trumpeter has received tutelage from some of the world’s greatest including Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Ralph Peterson, and is the protege of the late Roy Hargrove. Earlier this year, the Bahamas-native was awarded the 2020 LetterOne Rising Star Jazz Award, and ASCAP’s Herb Alpert Award. Ultimately, Gelin’s artistic vision is to pay tribute to his ancestors, and unify others by incorporating universal human experiences into sound. Through his quintet, the young trumpeter brings forth a new narrative to jazz music.

    David Sneider,  Hartsdale, NY
    David Sneider

    David Sneider is a jazz trumpet player who is currently pursuing his Masters at The Juilliard School. He is the 1st place winner of the 2019 National Trumpet Competition and a previous member of the prestigious Stamps Jazz Quintet at the Frost School of Music. In addition, he has played with legendary musicians such as Joel Frahm, Larry Goldings and Dom Salvador.


    Oriol Vallès Lopez, Barcelona, Spain
    Oriol Valles Lopez

    Born in 1993 in Terrassa, Barcelona, Oriol Vallès Lopez has been performing actively since 2009. In 2011, he finished his Professional Degree in Classical Trumpet with honors at the City Conservatory of Terrassa. In 2015 , he graduated with honors as a Jazz Trumpet major at ESMuC (Superior School of Music of Catalonia). In 2018, he obtained his Master's Degree in Jazz at the Manhattan School of Music.

    Oriol has performed extensively in New York, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Besides his activity as a leader of his quartet, he co-leads other projects such as the quintet Smack Dab, with the Casares brothers, and the Smack Big Dab. He also founded The Changes, the jazz collective in Barcelona, a project that works as a record label, promotion, and creates opportunities that make jazz happen in Barcelona. As an educator, he teaches private sessions on trumpet and jazz, and he has given lessons as a guest teacher at the Superior Conservatory of Mallorca, as well as Tenerife Jazz Camp 2019.

    He received good reviews nationally and internationally. The National Television of Catalonia called the big band "one of the best big bands in the country." In a review of his album Smack 7 Dab, from 2016, the Jazz Journal Magazine (UK), Mark Gardner wrote:"Vallès is a vigorous trumpeter exhibiting the undisguised influence of Freddie Hubbard. Played as a blindfold test, this music would fool anyone into thinking that this is a contemporary New York outfit; they are that good. It will be worth waiting to hear how these musicians develop these abilities."