Chorale Conversations: John Coulton


What led to you choosing the trumpet as your instrument?

When I was at primary school in the 1980s my older sisters were playing Brass instruments in the school band program (Trumpet and Trombone to be exact) so I was exposed to brass playing early on in life. For whatever reason, I just loved the look and the sound of the Trumpet. One day, my sister got a brand-new shiny silver Trumpet for her Birthday, and I thought it was the most magnificent thing ever! That was it, I was hooked, and I couldn’t wait to start playing! Kids at my school were supposed to start their new instruments in year 4 but I actually nagged the Brass teacher at my school and he let me start at the end of the Year 3 so I got a bit of a head start.

What is your favourite “party piece” to play as a trumpet solo and why?

My favourite “Party Piece” to play would have to be “Tico Tico” by Zequinha De Abreu (listen to “Tico Tico” here). Lots of very cool Pyrotechnics and such a catchy melody.

Throughout your career, we’re sure you’ve been part of more than a few memorable performances, but has there been a particular favourite?

I have been very fortunate to participate in many amazing concerts over my career, so this is very difficult question! Too many to sift through! Playing the Concerto for Trumpet and Piano with Nikolai Demidenko at the British Proms, 3 performances for the late Queen Elizabeth II, performing as Principal Trumpet on Mahler’s 5th Symphony at Snape Maltings and playing the Lord of the Rings soundtrack with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra are some of the highlights that quickly come to mind.

Did you ever have any career in mind other than professional musician and if so, what was it?

I was thinking of becoming a Marine Biologist when I was at high school. I actually did two weeks of work experience at AIMS (Australian Institute of Marine Science) and absolutely loved it! But ultimately chose a career in music in the end. I do have those “what if” moments from time to time.

What advice would you give to young musicians just starting out on their careers?

To start a career in music is incredibly challenging, so you have to really love it in order to succeed and survive. You have to eat, breathe and sleep music. You have to be obsessed with music and unable to imagine doing anything else in your life. If your level of passion isn’t as high as this then think about becoming a doctor or lawyer instead!

Last but definitely not least, what are you most looking forward to about Brisbane Chorale’s Joyful Noise concert on November 19th?

It’s cliché I know, but I’m looking forward to filling that amazing hall with glorious music and hearing the Brass, Choir and Organ from every direction. It’s an incredible place to play and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to put this concert on with the mighty Brisbane Chorale. I also can’t wait to hang out with all my Brass buddies and catch up with Emily and Christopher too!