David Perkel

Trombone Principal

David Perkel headshotWhat city are you living in now? My wife, MaryAnn Perkel (Cellist with the Annapolis Symphony) and I live in Ellicott City, MD.

Where did you study? University of North Texas, Manhattan School of Music, and received my doctorate at Catholic University of America.

What is your favorite piece of music? Too many answers, but I love listening to the music of Duke Ellington, Maria Schneider, Mahler, Bruckner…basically all of the jazz and classical masters.

What do you enjoy in your spare time? I enjoy spending time with family and friends, and following my hometown sports teams, the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Blues!

What is your fondest Annapolis Symphony memory? There have been so many great musical moments, but if I had to narrow it down to three they would be performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Jennifer Higdon’s Low Brass Concerto, and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.


Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, David Perkel was hailed by the Baltimore Sun: “…it was beautifully realized, especially by the trombonist who tapped into the mysticism of the score with soulful, sustained tone and graceful phrasing.” The National Society of Arts and Letters wrote “…the piece’s novelty was a pair of melodious solos for trombone, handled with gorgeous sonority by principal trombonist David Perkel.” All About Jazz wrote, “…mention must be made of lead trombonist David Perkel’s lustrous tone on the cozy ‘If the Shoe Fits.’ ”

Perkel is a versatile orchestral and jazz artist. He was the Second Trombonist of the Richmond (VA) Symphony for five years and has performed with many other orchestras including the National Symphony Orchestra, Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, Harrisburg Symphony, San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, National Philharmonic, Virginia Chamber Orchestra, and the National Gallery Orchestra. Additionally, in 1999, he was appointed principal trombone of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. He has been featured as a soloist with the ASO several times, including “Overture for Trombone and Strings” by Alan Hovhaness and the 2nd movement of Jim Pugh’s “Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra.”

As a jazz musician, Perkel has performed and/or recorded with numerous jazz luminaries including Chris Potter, Steve Turre, Branford Marsalis, Dianne Schuur, the Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra, the United States Air Force Airmen of Note, Afro Bop Alliance, Steve Williams and Jazz Nation, Jane Monheit, Jerry Bergonzi, Bob Mintzer, Jim Pugh, the famed University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band, and New York Voices. Since 2002, he has been the lead trombonist and soloist for the Navy Band Commodores jazz ensemble.

Perkel earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Texas, a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Catholic University of America.

An active educator, Dr. Perkel is professor of trombone and euphonium at Towson University and professor of trombone at George Washington University. Previously, he was the low brass professor at Frostburg State University, and spent five years as an artist-in-residence at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival in Tennessee. Perkel is also a sought-after clinician, having given master classes across the United States, including the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of New Mexico-Albuquerque, Midwest Clinic, University of Delaware, Tennessee Tech University, Eastern Trombone Workshop, and Towson University. Dr. Perkel is an Edwards Artist and plays Edwards trombones and Griego mouthpieces exclusively.