Instructor of Trumpet Ken Larson is a versatile performer whose career has spanned orchestral, contemporary, and commercial musical styles. While living in Los Angeles, Larson taught at Pepperdine University, California Lutheran University and was interim Trumpet Instructor at California Institute of the Arts. As a performer Larson played on many film scores including Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Out for Justice, Fire Starter Rekindled, My Blue Heaven, Hot to Trot, Inner Space, the second, fifth and seventh installments of the Police Academy series, and a host of others. His television recordings include China Beach, The Flash, Beetlejuice, The Ollie North Story, and several radio and television news themes. As an orchestral performer, Larson’s recording credits include the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra, the Welsh National Choir, and the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra. Larson has performed with the Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and the San Diego Symphony. Larson has also served as a pit musician for many Broadway shows, and has played with various big bands and rock-and-roll acts throughout his career. Currently, Larson is Instructor of Trumpet at Interlochen Arts Academy, Principal Trumpet of the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, Larson designs and builds professional-level trumpets through his company BrassWerks.
About Ken Larson’s Brasswerks
My search for a trumpet versatile enough to fit my playing needs goes back to my early days in Los Angeles. I had a Bach Bb and C trumpet and neither of them really “fit me as a player.” I was playing new music at Cal Arts, playing in a Brass Trio that was part of the Los Angeles Music Center “Music Center on Tour” series, as well as a community orchestra gig and lead trumpet in a big band (the short story is I won the jazz chair in the band, but the lead player decided to take a cruise ship gig). While attending Cal Arts, I purchased a Chicago Benge Trumpet from a friend of mine. It worked well for the commercial stuff and the New Music I was playing.
In the trio I played my Bach C that had been converted to a tunable bell setup. I absolutely loved the blow of the Chicago Benge, however the sound above mezzo forte really didn’t work in an orchestral situation. I was fortunate to get a long term sub gig with the San Diego Symphony as Assistant Principal after playing a couple of seasons with Pacific Symphony. During my time in San Diego, I purchased a great Mt Vernon Bach Bb. It was at this time I thought if I could ever get the blow of the Benge and the sound of a Bach, I would have my perfect trumpet.
In 1990 I went to work for Bob Malone’s Brass Technology first in Larry Minick’s old shop and then in Van Nuys, CA. I continued to do the Opera, Ballet, Broadway Shows and Studio work during the 90’s and was able to test new ideas almost every night at work. I worked for Bob until early 1997 when it was time for me to tool up and open my own shop.
Being the only employee at BrassWerks is great! I get to see every project from start to finish, try new ideas, design new trumpets, lead pipes, mouthpieces, etc. I continue to perform so that I can continually test and evaluate new designs.
My goal is to design a trumpet that fits you at a price point that fits within your budget.