In Memoriam: Charles Gorham

ITG has learned of the passing of Charles J. Gorham, co-founder of the International Trumpet Guild and professor emeritus of music (trumpet) at Indiana University. Gorham passed away peacefully on May 14, 2018. 

Charles was born on June 16, 1930, in Atlanta, Georgia, to his late parents, Phyllis and Don Gorham. He followed his passion for music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he met then married his wife the day before they graduated in 1952. After being offered the associate principal trumpet position in the Cleveland Orchestra by George Szell, Charles enlisted and spent four years playing in the Unites States Air Force (USAF) Band, during which he earned a master’s degree at The Catholic University of America.

After completing his four-year tour of duty with the USAF Band, Charles accepted a teaching position at Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music and frequently performed with the Cleveland Orchestra under Robert Shaw. In 1969, he accepted a position on the faculty at Indiana University and served as chairman of the Brass Department for many years before retiring in June 1994.

In 1975, he co-founded the International Trumpet Guild (ITG) with Robert Nagel. He was also a long-time board member and ITG’s 4th President. He was presented with the ITG Award of Merit in 2006.  In a meeting in the fall of 1974, Mr. Gorham met in Bloomington, Indiana with Robert Nagel and Harvey Phillips to set in motion the establishment of the International Trumpet Guild. He and Bob Nagel worked for a year until at the first ITG Conference, hosted by Gorham at Indiana University, the leadership was entrusted to a steering committee. At that time, the ITG already had 600 members.

Charles loved the outdoors, including family trips to their summer cabin on Lake Penage in Ontario, Canada. He was an avid fisherman, woodworker, and sailor. His keen observations and enjoyment of the natural world opened up many of life’s wonders to each of his children.

Charles was at the side of his beloved wife, Ellen Gorham, when she passed away in January 2016. He was the brother of the late Martha Nash and Phyllis Apple and is survived by his brother, Don Gorham Jr. Charles was the father of Deborah Leigh Gorham (Bob Applegate), Scott Brady Gorham (Susan Elder), and Alison Lynn Pedersen (Olie). Four grandsons also survive him: Alex and Andy Gorham, and Blake and Graham Pedersen. 

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Charles Gorham Trumpet Scholarship at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music would be welcome. Donations may be made through

Simons Funeral Home, 7720 Perry Hwy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will be handling arrangements. Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on May 16. You are invited to share a memory or leave an online condolence at A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

(Sources: Edmond Cord, Kim Dunnick, and Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music)

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