My story begins in Erie, Pennsylvania, USA...... I was 9 years old and took my first piano lesson. I was “hooked“. Later, in high school, I met up with my second „friend“, the trumpet. The city of Erie had much to offer a young eager musician: a fine community theater orchestra, jazz bands, marching bands, drum and bugle corps, big bands, etc. I wanted it all! In 1984, I received my diploma in music education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Still looking for more musical experience, I enlisted in the Army Band program and ended up with the 4th Army Band in Chicago, Illinois. Talk about an education! Chicago was (and still is!) a hotbed of musical activity. I learned a lot! In 1986, I auditioned for and was accepted into the 33rd Army Band, based in Heidelberg, Germany.
After 2 years (and approx. 300 concerts!), my term of enlistment was over. I opted to stay in Germany (there´s an old song: „I lost my heart in Heidelberg...“). From 1988 to 1993, I freelanced on trumpet with various dance bands, big bands, and jazz ensembles. I travelled extensively, backing artists such as: Tony Marschall, Irene Sheer, Bernd Clüver, Rocco Granata, Joan Orleans, and countless others.
Since 1992, the piano has slowly but surely crept back into the picture. Over the years, I built up a sizable „cocktail piano“ repertoire and started playing in local hotels and gourmet restaurants. It was also around this time that I met the talented singer Ute Ullrich. Duo Casablanca was born. Since 1997, I have been playing trumpet with the “Dixie Heroes”, a 5 man „strolling“ Dixieland band. I have had the pleasure of performing with many fine musicians, in some of the most exclusive venues in Germany. I currently live in Mannheim, happily married, with 2 children.
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