James Vaughen, originally from Champaign, IL, is excited to be joining the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for a one year principal trumpet position. James graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2023 and serves as assistant principal trumpet of the Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra. James has performed throughout Europe while trialing as principal trumpet with the London Symphony Orchestra and spent four months touring with the Canadian Brass.
Placing in numerous national and international competitions, James most notably took first in three divisions of the 2021 International Trumpet Guild Ryan Anthony Memorial Competition and won the 2020 Roger Voisin Memorial Trumpet Competition. Most recently James placed 3rd in the 2021 Ellsworth-Smith International Trumpet Competition and was awarded Special Jury Prize at the 2022 Maurice André International Trumpet Competition. James was a member of the Pacific Music Festival Academy in 2018, a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow in 2020-2021, and toured internationally with Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra from 2015 through 2017.
Prior to his studies at Curtis, James spent a year working as an AmeriCorps Intern for Spring Initiative, a nonprofit transformative after-school program in the Mississippi Delta. James began studying the piano at age six and the trumpet at age ten. His teachers have included David Bilger, Tom Rolfs, Ronald Romm, and Sal Percoco. Outside of playing in orchestra, James loves all types of chamber music, free improvisation, running, tennis, and playing soccer. James is looking forward to being close to his family in Champaign to make music with his mother, a pianist, and watch sunrises with his dad.