The current 17 members of the Northwestern Trombone Studio hail from around the world. Past and present members have won national and international awards and competitions and have held positions in world class ensembles and institutions, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Pops Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Drake University, Dunshan Symphonic Wind Orchestra, Eastern Illinois University, Finnish State Opera, New World Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the University of Michigan, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and the United States Navy Band (Washington, D.C.). So many of our alumni have gone on to do incredible things, so take a look below!

Spencer Schaffer, Tenor Trombone



Spencer Schaffer is a native of beautiful Portland, Oregon, where his music career began to blossom. He currently attends Northwestern University, studying Trombone Performance.


Spencer’s extensive ensemble experience includes participation and membership with The Oregon Symphony, Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Orchestra, Portland Youth Philharmonic, Conservatory Orchestra, and Wind Ensemble, Oregon All-State Wind Symphony and Orchestra, All-Northwest Band, Rose City Trombone Choir, Portland State University Trombone Choir, Lakeridge High School Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Pit Orchestra, and Brass Quintet, among several other brass quintets, trombone ensembles, low brass ensembles, brass choirs, and chamber groups. Spencer has also performed on stage with the Boston Symphony Brass Quintet, Pink Martini, as well as on the TED stage.


In addition to being an active ensemble musician, Spencer has strong solo experience, including appearances as soloist with the Oregon Symphony, Portland Youth Philharmonic, Young Musicians and Artists Connoisseur’s Orchestra, and Lakeridge High School Wind Ensemble. He was a competitor at the Oregon State Solo Competition for three years, claiming the State Champion title in 2016.


Spencer has taken his trombone overseas, leading a masterclass for a local community band in Germany. He has served as counselor at Young Musicians and Artists camp, as well as Brass at Wallowa Lake. He once collaborated with a rapper, performing an innovate musical duet.


Spencer is forever indebted to is lifelong teacher Charles Reneau, who encouraged and guided him throughout high school. In addition, Spencer has had the privilege to work individually with Joseph Alessi, Michael Mulcahy, Toby Oft, Timothy Higgins, Jamie Williams, Jeremy Wilson, Stephen Lange, Randall Hawes, Douglas Wright, Daniel Cloutier, Robert Taylor, Ron Barron, James Sommerville, Aaron LaVere, Christopher Davis, Henry Henniger, Doug Rosenthal, Carson Keeble, John Neurohr, Alex Rodriguez, David Krauss, JáTtik Clark, Graham Kingsbury, Dave Bamonte, Mic Gillette, John Church, Bob Fechner, Steve Conrow, and Doug Reneau. He has performed under the batons of Ken-David Masur, Carlos Kalmar, Paul Ghun Kim, Paul Haas, Lawrence Loh, Shawn Vondran, David Hattner, Jeff Williams, and Lawrence Johnson.


Sean Holly, Tenor Trombone



Sean is originally from DeKalb, IL. He is a trombone performance and music theory double major at Northwestern. He has played trombone for multiple standard extended units of time. Sean's long term goals include playing the trombone easily and with a great sound while simultaneously not starving. 

Sean has performed with the Northwestern University Symphonic Band, Wheaton Symphony Orchestra, Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Midwest Young Artists Conservatory, NAFME All-National Honors Concert Band, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, and has played in the pit for a myriad of musicals for various companies. He has also participated in the Southeast Trombone Symposium and the Eastman Summer Trombone Institute.

Sean obsessively listens to music including prog rock, psychedelic rock, funk, fusion, and the CSO recording of Mahler 7 conducted by Solti, specifically the last few minutes of the first movement in which Bud Herseth plays a monster slur up to a high B

Kenton Campbell, Tenor Trombone



For the past two and a half years, Kenton Campbell has adopted the daily routine of lifting things up... and putting them down... Kenton plans on continuing to lift things up... and put them down...

Aside from that, Kenton Campbell hails from the suburbs of Gwinnett County in Lawrenceville, GA, where he studied with Colin Williams, Nathan Zgonc, George Curran, and Greg Leathers. His main goal is to develop fundamentally as a player and just find his voice as a musician. Kenton is looking forward to working and with and learning from the trombone faculty and studio.
Aneesh Kumar, Tenor Trombone



Aneesh Kumar is straight out of Pearland, TX, where he studied with Brian Logan. Now a current junior in the studio, he is enjoying his time studying with the wonderful trombone faculty here at Northwestern. He has played in the summer festival orchestra at Texas Music Festival as well as the TMF Jazz Ensemble. Besides his participation at TMF, he was also selected as a fellow for the Summer Brass Institute in California this past summer. 

As a disciple of the Based God, Aneesh has been trained to live the based lifestyle. With a free and positive outlook on life, he loves traveling, sports, the outdoors, and living life. But most important, Aneesh aims to be the very best at NBA 2K while also schooling the studio on the court. Ball is life.
James "Pudz" Seymour, Tenor Trombone



James Seymour, a Columbus, OH native, is extremely excited to be in his junior year at Northwestern University. James has primarily studied with Michael Mulcahy, Chris Davis, Doug Wright, Tim Higgins, Randy Hawes and 
Jessica Sneeringer. He is an associate member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, the Central Ohio Brass Band, the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, among other freelance experience. He has taken part in several competitions, most notably the North American Brass Band Association Low Brass Technical Solo competition in 2014, placing second in the adult division. His non-musical interests include cycling, following baseball college football, and meticulously preparing for the upcoming NU Sliders season.

Nick Kemp, Tenor Trombone



Nick Kemp is a tenor trombonist completing his fourth year of study at Northwestern University, where he studies with Michael Mulcahy, Timothy Higgins, Doug Wright, Randall Hawes, and Christopher Davis. A native of Northern Virginia, Nick studied with National Symphony trombonist Barry Hearn before attending Northwestern. Other teachers significant to his development include Toby Oft, Mark Lusk, and Bruce Docherty. Nick is active as a freelancer in the greater Chicago area, performing engagements with diverse ensembles such as the Bill Porter Big Band and the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, the latter of which included performances of Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem at Symphony Center in Chicago under Maestro Jay Friedman. Recent summer engagements have included individual study with Toby Oft, Denson Paul Pollard, and Nitzan Haroz.

Outside of trombone, Nick enjoys writing and has been published in Northwestern's premier literary magazine, Helicon. Other interests include Washington Nationals baseball, literature, cinema, coffee, page-turning, and distance running.

Lena Piazza-Leman, Tenor Trombone



Lena Piazza-Leman comes to the studio from Kansas City, MO. Lena is ecstatic to be completing her fourth year at Northwestern, where she has performed with Symphonic Band, Jazz Orchestra, active chamber groups with formal recital and community engagement initiatives, and soloing with a small Jazz Ensemble performing a concert of Cachao. In addition to the excellent faculty at NU, Lena’s influential teachers include Tom Riccobono, Toby Oft, Drew Leslie, Don Lucas, and G. Murray Oliver. Lena graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy in 2013, having performed with the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and in active chamber groups. Highlights of her performances while at Interlochen include performing with the IAA Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble on Interlochen's 50th Anniversary tours to Grand Rapids, Detroit, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles as well as performing in the pit orchestra for local musicals, on the Interlochen Public Radio with the Take Four Trombone Quartet, and in solo recitals.

In the summer of 2014, Lena was invited to participate in the rigorous Eastern Music Festival where she performed with the EMF Orchestras as well as in chamber and outreach concerts. In the summers of 2012 and 2013, she performed with the Boston University's Tanglewood Institute Orchestra and Wind Ensemble as well as on solo recitals and as a member of the iBrass Brass Quintet and the Fourth Movement Brass Quartet on venues including Tanglewood on Parade and community outreach concerts. She was also selected to perform the Tuba Mirum solo in Mozart’s Requiem with the BUTI Orchestra and professional vocal soloists. During her time at Tanglewood, Lena was coached by the members of the Axiom Brass Quintet, Don Lucas, and David Krauss.

When she’s not bonding with her trombone, Lena can be found writing poetry, working on a creative project, being a selfie-master, jogging, practicing her Australian accent, or going on an adventure.


Tommy Holmes, Bass Trombone



Tommy Holmes is a fictional detective created by author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A London-based "consulting detective" whose abilities border on the fantastic, Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to adopt almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve difficult cases.


Actually Tommy is a senior at Northwestern University from the east bay area of California pursuing a five-year double degree program in Electrical Engineering and Bass Trombone, and a Certificate in Design from the Segal Design Institute. Over the course of his trombonistic career, Tommy has taken lesson(s) with Tommy Davidson, Van Hughes, Dave Ridge, Tim Higgins, John Engelkes, Joseph Alessi, Randall Hawes, Michael Mulcahy, Peter Ellefson, Christopher Davis, and Douglas Wright. In his free time, Tommy dabbles in arrangement/composition, billiards, piano, ultimate frisbee, ukulele, YouTube, and standup comedy. Tommy is also a brother of the Iota Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity at Northwestern. OAS, AAS, LLS!

Charles Dieterle, tenor trombone

Master of Music Candidate


Charles Dieterle comes from a very musical family from Marquette, West Virginia, where he was encouraged to learn music by his parents and older sister, all of whom are professional musicians. At age seven, he began studying the harp, and he made his solo debut with the Rosedale Philharmonic at age ten. One year later, he started playing jazz saxophone and began to gig regularly in the greater Marquette metropolitan area during his late middle school years. When he was 16, he began to suffer from a rare tendon abnormality in his right wrist and forearm, and was ultimately forced to give up the harp and saxophone. Determined to continue life as a musician, he decided to learn trombone.

For the next many years, Charles committed himself completely to trombone. He spent, on average, six and a half hours each day on technique. His discipline was such that he only allowed himself to use second position after an entire year of mastering first position. He then only allowed himself to use third position after another year of mastering first/second positions, and the delicate interplay between the two. He then only allowed himself to use fourth position after another year of mastering first/second/third positions, and the delicate interplay between the three. And so on.

After seven years of this, Charles deemed himself ready to learn the intricate variations in slide positions that occur as the result of the imperfections in the trombone's harmonic series. He spent another seven years dedicated to this. When Charles bought a trombone with a valve, he spent another five years mastering most of the valve slide positions. He is still currently learning w to the slide in the correct place for a low 

After all this time, he decided he was ready to audition for colleges. At the first audition, he was made aware that there is more to playing trombone than putting the slide in the correct position. On that day, for the first time, he put the mouthpiece into the receiver, took a breath, and buzzed his lips.

Charles completed his undergraduate studies at DePaul University in Chicago, where he studied with Mark Fisher and Charles Vernon. He studied with Per Brevig at the Aspen Music Festival for three summers, and there developed a love for hiking and the outdoors. Charles has summited 12 of Colorado's 14,000+ foot mountains, and plans to finish the remaining 46 as soon as possible.

Charles plays exclusively on a 1682 Bach Stradivarius Sackbut with a Jinbao Bass Trombone Valve Section, tuned to Bb/F/F/Db.

Dillon MacIntyre, tenor trombone

Master of Music Candidate


Bio coming soon...

Brandon Bird, bass trombone

Master of Music Candidate


Bio coming soon...

Andre Prouty, bass trombone

Master of Music Candidate


Bio coming soon...

Ashley Carter, Tenor Trombone

Master of Music Candidate


Ashley Carter was born in Mt Isa in central Queensland, Australia, and began playing the Trombone at age 12. Learning from his Grandfather, after only playing for 3 years, Ashley was awarded his Associate Diploma in Music (A.mus.A) at the age of 15 from the Australian Music Examination Board (AMEB). After graduating from Shalom Catholic College in Bundaberg he moved to Brisbane to study a Bachelor of Music Performance and Graduate Diploma of Music Studies with Benjamin Marks (ELISION) and Jason Redman (Principal Trombone, Queensland Symphony Orchestra) at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University.  In 2012 Ashley moved to Melbourne, Australia, to commence his first year at The Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) under the instruction of Michael Bertoncello, Trombone player of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. 


Ashley has been involved in a number of youth ensembles including the Queensland Youth Orchestra, Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute, Tasmania Discovery Orchestra and the Australian Youth Orchestras.  Ashley has performed with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the New South Wales Police Band.

Stephanie Lebens, Tenor Trombone

Master of Music Candidate


Stephanie Lebens, 23, from Everett, WA, is a trombonist at Northwestern University. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, studying with Peter Ellefson. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has performed as principal trombonist of the Concert, Chamber, Symphony, and Philharmonic Orchestras. In addition, she was principal trombonist of the New Music Ensemble for a semester, and regularly plays with the Brass Choir on euphonium. In the summer of 2014, she was chosen as a participant at Michael Mulcahy’s master class series at Northwestern University, and in 2013, she was a member of the Fellow Class at the Alessi Seminar. While attending high school in the Seattle area, she performed with many local groups, including the British-style brass band Puget Brass and Seattle Youth Symphony. For three years running, she won the euphonium division of the Washington State Solo and Ensemble Competition, culminating in 2011, when she also won the trombone division and both the large and small brass ensemble divisions. In addition, she also received the honor of participating in Washington All-State and All-Northwest ensembles in 2009 and 2010, and the National Association for Music Education’s National Honor Concert Band in 2010. She has also studied with Ko-Ichiro Yamamoto and Danny Helseth. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking cookies, kayaking, skiing, and hiking.
Cory Wurtz, Bass Trombone

Master of Music Candidate


Cory is an incoming graduate bass trombone performance major native to the Texas Panhandle. Cory received his undergraduate degree in music education from West Texas A&M University where he studied with Raimundo Morales and John Shanks. During his time there, he performed with various ensembles at venues such as the Big 12 Trombone Conference, the Eastern Trombone Workshop, the Texas Music Educator's Association Convention and the International Trombone Festival. Additionally, he has performed multiple times with the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Jacomo Rafael Bairos. In addition to the faculty of WTAMU and Northwestern University, Cory has also received coaching from some of the leading trombonists in the country, including George Curran, Nathan Zgonc, and Brian Hecht at the Southeast Trombone Symposium, where he was also selected as a finalist for the Orchestral Excerpts Competition in 2014 and 2015. Cory hopes to one day perform as the bass trombonist of a major symphony orchestra, and is excited to continue on this journey in a fantastic new environment here at Northwestern University!

Mary Tyler, Tenor Trombone

Doctor of Music Candidate


Mary is a passionate beer enthusiast with a penchant for single-serving mug cakes and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Internationally renowned within the Northwestern Trombone Studio community as a baker of cookies, cakes, and pies, Mary provided exquisite delicacies for studio class each week during the 2009-2011 academic years.

Hailed by critics as “crazy” and “masochistic”, Mary ran her first marathon in Philadelphia during the fall of 2013, completing the course in just under 5 hours. Since then, she has run competitively in many half marathons, placing as high as 9,786th. Mary will run in the Big Sur International Marathon in April 2016, hoping to finish within the grueling course’s 6-hour time limit.

Mary is also a passionate knitter, having begun her training with the YouTube School of Knitting in November of 2014. Her rapid ascension to advanced styles and techniques has been celebrated by close friends and family as well as several yarn shop owners, including Genevieve Day of JP Knit & Stitch. Mary hopes to expand the reach of the craft and has made it a personal mission to find and engage new audiences. 

Mary received her Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University in 2011, under the tutelage of Michael Mulcahy, Peter Ellefson, Timothy Higgins, Charles Vernon, and Randall Hawes. She received her Master of Music degree from The New England Conservatory of Music under the instruction of Toby Oft. A native of Gainesville and the Gator Nation, Mary enjoys almost nothing more than a Saturday spent watching Florida football and trash talking with rival fans

Luis Fred, Tenor Trombone

Doctor of Music Candidate

Puerto Rico

Luis Fred currently serves as principal trombonist of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico, and is professor of trombone and chamber music at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico. Previous to thess appointments, he was co-principal trombonist of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid and Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla in Spain.  In the United States, he was the tenor trombonist with the Springfield Symphony in Massachusetts. He has had the opportunity to work with music directors of internationally renowned orchestras such as: Esa-Pekka Salonen - Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, Eiji Oue - New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Christoph Eschenbach - Houston Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas, at the Pacific Music Festival in Japan.


Mr. Fred has performed as a soloist with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico on subscription programs and also in pops- outreach concerts. He has on several occasions performed as a chamber musician or co-produced concerts for the Festival Casals de Puerto Rico. Among his credits with the Casals;  a joint concert with members of the New York Philharmonic Brass (2003), works of Igor Stravinsky (2007), and Metales del Festival Casals (2011), an all brass concert in which Derek Bourgeois Osteoblast was premiered in Puerto Rico. On the summer of 2014, Mr. Fred did concerts and went on tour with Trombones de Costa Rica. As part of this tour, he performed Vinizio Meza’s Concierto para Cuatro Trombones with the Santa Fe Provincial Band.


He has given master classes at Northwestern University, Manhattan School of Music, University of Texas-Austin, Texas State University-San Marco, Oklahoma State University, Texas Christian University-Fort Worth. Outside of the mainland United States he has taught at Trombonanza-Argentina, Costa Rica, Peru, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and the Harlaxton International Chamber Music Festival (United Kingdom). As a professor of trombone at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, he has been a promoter of major initiatives that have provided the impetus for the formation of a new generation of young musicians. Players of major symphony orchestras and professors of universities in the United States have frequently done master classes or artistic residencies. In 2002 he founded the Seminario Song and Wind, an innovative summer camp aimed towards high school students and teachers. Musicians from: Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Panama, have participated in such seminars.


Luis F. Fred is a graduate of the Free School of Music in San Juan where he studied with Antonio Salcedo. He studied his Bachelor of Music at Indiana University under the tutelage of Keith Brown and Edwin Anderson. He is a Performer's Certificate recipient from Indiana. His graduate work was done at Manhattan School of Music in the Orchestral Performance Program, where he studied with David Finlayson (New York Philharmonic). He is a recipient of the John C. Clark award as outstanding brass student at MSM.  Having completed his graduate work, Mr. Fred did extensive work with Steve Norrell, (MET Opera) on Song and Wind. He has done additional studies with: Joseph Alessi (New York Philharmonic), Manny Laureano (Minnesota Orchestra), and Michael Mulcahy (Chicago Symphony Orchestra). Mr. Fred is currently on sabbatical leave from both the Puerto Rico Symphony and Conservatory to pursue doctoral work at Northwestern University.

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