In Memoriam: Charlie Geyer


The International Trumpet Guild mourns the loss of trumpet legend Charles Geyer.

Charlie Geyer began trumpet lessons at age six. Between the ages of seven and ten, he played in the highly esteemed band program in Joliet, Illinois. By age twelve, radio performances in Peoria, Illinois, hinted at his future professional career. While attending Northwestern University, he performed as principal trumpet with the Chicago Lyric Opera. He joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra following his senior year. During his twelve years with the CSO, he was principal trumpet with the Grant Park Symphony Summer Orchestra, and the Houston Symphony engaged him as principal trumpet in 1978, where he performed for three seasons.

Geyer received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University. His teachers were Herb Stoskopf, Adolph Herseth, and Vincent Cichowicz.


Geyer served as professor of trumpet at the Eastman School of Music and was a member of the Eastman Brass from 1980 through 1998, when he took the position of professor of trumpet at Northwestern University. In 2013, he was appointed trumpet professor at Rice University. Notably, Geyer and his wife, fellow trumpet legend Barbara Butler, engaged in team teaching at Eastman, Northwestern, and Rice, enriching the lives and careers of many students through their combined expertise and dedication.  Geyer and Butler are undoubtedly two of the most successful trumpet teachers of all time, placing many students into prominent positions both as performers and teachers.

Geyer was a frequent recitalist and soloist with orchestras and music festivals throughout the world. He recorded and played on international broadcasts with the Chicago, Houston, and Grand Teton Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Eastman Brass, Music of the Baroque, and Chicago Chamber Musicians.

He was a recipient of the 2024 ITG Honorary Award, our most prestigious award, recognizing him for his many contributions to the trumpet community and to the world. 

The International Trumpet Guild extends our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and students. Charlie Geyer’s legacy will live on through the countless lives he touched and inspired.

(Source: Ryan Gardner)

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