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WRTI is proud to highlight the accomplishments of young artists in our local communities. You can donate now to champion and support WRTI's education initiatives! Learn more about what inspires and motivates these musicians through the interviews in this series.

WRTI Young Artist Spotlight: Trumpeter Aidan Peterson

Trumpeter Aidan Peterson
Joseph V. Labolito
Trumpeter Aidan Peterson

Aidan Peterson is an 18-year-old classical and jazz trumpeter from Ardmore, PA. He began his trumpet studies at age five and also plays the cello. In the eighth grade, he was accepted into Juilliard’s Pre-College Division as a classical trumpet student and has studied with Kevin Cobb and David Krauss and is a member of the Pre-College Orchestra.

Currently, he studies jazz with Tony Miceli and is a member of the Helen K. Schwartz Advanced Jazz Ensemble at Settlement Music School. He was recently accepted into the 2024 Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America.

Peterson is most recognized for how he uses his musical gifts to serve the veteran community. Since 2015 he has been a member of Bugles Across America as well as the Youth Trumpet and Taps Corps, where he volunteers to sound live Taps at military funerals and events. To date, he has completed over 600 military assignments and has received dozens of awards, including eight President's Volunteer Service Awards.

10 Questions with Aidan Peterson:

1. What inspired you to start using your musical skills to serve the veteran community?

I realized early on that I wanted to be able to use my musical skills to serve the world and I was introduced to Bugles Across America. They provide a live bugler to perform Taps at military funerals free of charge to the family and I thought that it was a fantastic way to get myself involved in my mission of giving back.

2. When did you start playing trumpet and bugle?

I started playing the trumpet at five years old and the bugle at nine years old.

3. Who are some musicians that have influenced your playing?

The biggest influence that encouraged me to start playing the trumpet was Chris Botti. I just loved his tone and control of the instrument and ever since I first heard him, my goal was to sound just like him. Since then, I have had major influences from Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Wynton Marsalis, and others.

4. How would you describe the role of the trumpet in a jazz band and in an orchestra? How do they differ? 

The trumpet in a jazz band is typically the highest and sometimes the loudest. The lead trumpet player is normally the leader of the entire horn section and sets the bold and big sound that can be heard on many famous records. In the orchestra, the trumpet has many different roles and in the early days of classical music, it sounded the fanfares and represented the brighter moments in symphonic works. Since then, composers have written trumpets to have a more diverse role in playing elegant melodies and harmonies. Similar to the role of the trumpet in jazz band, orchestral trumpets are typically one of the loudest instruments in the orchestra but differ in the way they are used in both circumstances.

5. What was your dream job as a kid?

As a kid, my dream job was to become a professional musician. I absolutely loved the trumpet and music in general and could not see a life without it.

6. What was one thing about your instrument that surprised you when you started learning to play?

I never expected how much breath control you truly needed to play the instrument. Before I learned how to control my air flow, I just took a big breath and hoped that the sound I was thinking of would come out the other end of the trumpet.

Trumpeter Aidan Peterson
Joseph V. Labolito
Trumpeter Aidan Peterson

7. What’s your favorite thing about Philadelphia?

My favorite thing about Philadelphia is the passion that this city has for sports. I love going to Philly sports games because you never know what to expect from the fans (in a good way). They care deeply about their teams and support them immensely.

8. What type of ensembles do you enjoy playing in and why?

I enjoy participating in a wide variety of ensembles such as orchestras, chamber groups, jazz combos, jazz bands, and many other unique groups. I love immersing myself in everything trumpet and continue to want to learn different styles and genres of playing in order to better understand all aspects of the instrument.

9. What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading through the Harry Potter series again as I have a feeling there is more to know about one of my all-time favorite book/movie series.

10. Any advice for people just getting started learning an instrument?

My advice to people would be to not let the challenges of the instrument discourage you. Every instrument has at least one component that is difficult to get better at, but if you practice deliberately and put the work in, you will master it!

Aidan's Recommended Playlist:

Lydia Veilleux has worked in music education and arts administration for the past 20 years, and has taught students of all ages in various community settings. As WRTI's Education & Outreach Manager, she oversees educational partnerships, sponsorships, events, and coverage.