Zachary Ploeger is a promising up and coming musician at only twenty-two years of age. His versatility spans through trumpet, composition, and conducting. Zach holds undergraduate music degrees from Western Michigan University in trumpet performance and composition where he graduated summa cum laude. He now studies trumpet performance at Arizona State University; one of the world’s most prominent trumpet studios where he is the Rafael Mendez Brass Scholar. Zach hails from the small town of Pipestone, MN, and currently lives in Tempe, AZ.
As a trumpeter, Zach has achieved a high level of acclaim. He has performed in both Carnegie Hall and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; in addition to other venues around the United States and Europe. Over the past few years, Zachary has soloed on numerous concertos with orchestra. They include: Neruda, Telemann, Vivaldi, Fasch, and Manfredini. He has also been recognized by the International Trumpet Guild as the first alternate for their annual solo competition in 2016. Zach also attended the prestigious and highly competitive Bayview Music Festival. He frequently performs as a member of other chamber groups, premieres new music, plays with bands and orchestras, and gives solo recitals. Zachary has studied trumpet extensively with Scott Thornburg, WMU, Dr. John Colson, Professor Emeritus at SDSU, and Dr. David Hickman, ASU. He is an active member of the ITG.
As a composer, Zach’s style represents his unique and personal musical voice. Always at the core of this style is his use of surprise to captivate and engage the listener. What is expected to come next almost never occurs, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. This style has garnered him many awards and commissions. Zach has received recognition from the American Prize Organization for four of his works, one in 2015 and three in 2016. He was also named a Minnesota Public Radio Finalist in their young composer’s contest. He has also been commissioned to compose a work for the Western Michigan University Symphonic Band that is set to be premiered in the Fall of 2018. And his piece “Proclamation” was commissioned by Professor Scott Thornburg and was premiered at the International Trumpet Guild’s 2017 New Works Recital in Hershey, PA. Zach has also worked with distinguished composers during masterclasses and private lessons. They include; Frank Ticheli, Steven Bryant, John Mackey, Robert Carl, Anthony Plog, Eli Fieldsteel, Dana Wilson, Kate Soper, Christopher Biggs, Richard Johnson, and many more. Zachary has studied composition with Dr. Richard Adams, WMU, and Dr. Lisa Coons, WMU.
As a conductor, Zach has mounted early success. He served as the founder and conductor of the Western Michigan University Brass Ensemble for five semesters. During his tenure, they performed and toured 12 times, while tackling the hardest works of the repertoire. They include: Tomasi’s “Fanfares Liturgiques,” Gunther Schuller’s “Symphony for Brass and Percussion,” Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” Dukas’s “Fanfare from La Peri” and many more. Zach has also conducted Western Michigan University’s top orchestra on multiple occasions, and served as the conductor of the University Campus Strings Orchestra for four semesters. He also has conducted musical productions like Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.” And he has attended prestigious conducting seminars, including the International Conductors Workshop and Festival, and the Eastern Music Festival. Zach is also an advocate of new music and frequently conducts new compositions, including his own. Zachary has studied conducting briefly with Larry Rachleff, ICWF, Donald Schleicher, ICWF, Gerard Schwarz, EMF, and extensively with Dr. John Colson, Professor Emeritus at SDSU, and Bruce Uchimura, WMU. He is a member of the Conductors Guild.
- updated December 2017