Q&A with Jazz Star Bria Skonberg

We caught up with jazz trumpeter and vocalist Bria Skonberg just before her April 27 Wharton Center debut. Check out our interview below!

When did you first start playing the trumpet?

I started on piano at age 7 and picked up the trumpet for 7th grade band encouraged by my dad who had played back in school.

What has been the most memorable performance of your career so far?

 The one that comes to mind right now is being able to play in Louis Armstrong’s backyard in Queens, New York.  They have a wonderful concert series and that relationship became greater as I volunteered for a while to talk to school groups that would come to the house.

If you could master any other instrument, which would you choose?


Where is the strangest place you have ever played a show?

Funny enough I really have to think on this. So many strange things happen all the time they’ve kind of become the norm. I’ve played everything from subway platforms to the top of Rockefeller Center, river boats and ferry docks, sitting on hay bales in the back of a truck then inside luxurious mansions… As a musician you get windows into so many walks of life and experiences.  I remember playing inside a plantation next to a fairly elaborate taxidermy room with lions staring at us; that was strange.


What was the first album you ever bought?

Ace of Base, 1994

What is your favorite tune  to play?


Who are your musical influences or inspirations?

 I love everything from Louis Armstrong to Queen, Perez Prado to Parliament.  I really respect and love artists that defy classification and cross over to multiple audiences while maintaining a jazz edge.. like Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, and of course Prince (RIP) 😦

When did you decide you wanted to pursue music as a full time career?

Still not entirely sure of that.. 🙂

If you could collaborate with any current popular musician, who would you work with?

 Harry Connick Jr.

What is your pre-performance ritual or routine?

Generally as band leader there’s a lot of details to take care of right before a gig, but if I can get 5-10 minutes of just quiet I’m grateful.  I go over my set list, make sure the horn is in working order and brush my teeth 😀

Tickets are available for Bria Skonberg,at 7:30 PM April 27! Visit www.whartoncenter.com,  call 1-800-WHARTON, or visit the Wharton Center Ticket Office. Specially discounted $15 student tickets are available; MSU students use your APID to redeem.

Posted in Wharton Center News

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