James Olcott is a native of Berkeley, California. He been teaching trumpet at the university level since 1968, beginning his career at Fort Hays State University, moving to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and for the last 35 years on the faculty at Miami University (Ohio). His degrees are from San Francisco State University and the Manhattan School of Music in New York where his principal teachers included William Vacchiano and Mel Broiles.
Recently retired as principal trumpet of the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra and the Middletown (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra, he continues to perform as an active free-lancer throughout the Cincinnati-Dayton area in large and small group settings. In addition, he is the founder and music director of the Cincinnati Herald Trumpet Ensemble. From 1979 to 2009 he was on the faculty of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp where he taught on both classical and jazz sides of the camp, performed as principal trumpet, and toured Europe 14 times as conductor of the camp’s International Jazz Band.
Active as a composer and arranger, his compositions and arrangements have been published by Crown Music Press of Chicago, Tromba Publications of Denver, and by his own publishing firm, Triplo Press. He is also an active member of the International Trumpet Guild, for which he has served terms as secretary, vice president, and president. He is currently serving as the ITG’s CD Project Coordinator, as a member of the ITG Journal Editorial Review Committee, and as a member of the ITG Board of Directors. In 2005 he was a recipient of the Guild’s Award of Merit.
At Miami University Mr. Olcott conducts the school’s trumpet ensembles and teaches trumpet. He is the founder of the Southwestern Ohio High School Jazz Festival, which was held annually on the MU-Oxford campus for 31 years, finishing in 2010. For his work with the jazz festival he was honored by the City of Oxford, with April 7, 2008 being officially named James L. Olcott Jazz Day in Oxford by proclamation by the city’s mayor.
He is also the recipient of the A.K. Morris Award, given in 2011 by the Miami University Alumni Association for his long-time work in organizing and conducting the alumni gatherings of the famed MU student jazz band at MU during the 30’s to the 60’s, the Campus Owls.
Page last modified May 31, 2012