Betsy Bright Morgan has been a member of the Tucson Symphony since 2003. She was appointed 2nd trumpet in 2007 after having served as the orchestra’s 3rd trumpet player for four seasons.
Born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina, Betsy was a trumpet student of Robert Nagel. She attended college at the Shenandoah Conservatory outside of Washington, DC where she studied trumpet with Adel Sanchez and composition with Thomas Albert. She graduated summa cum laude in 2003 with a BM in performance and a minor in composition, earning the Wilkins Conservatory Award and the Symphony Orchestra award. Before moving to Tucson, Betsy performed several times with the National Symphony Orchestra and held summer positions with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra and Bay View Music Festival faculty brass quintet. In addition to TSO responsibilities, Betsy has subbed numerous times with the Phoenix Symphony and Arizona Opera and maintains a private trumpet studio. She is married to TSO’s principal tuba player, David Morgan.
What music is on your iPod?
Each year, I update a playlist with the music for the entire orchestra season and I use it to study parts. My running/exercise and fun listening playlists include mostly Pink Martini, Nellie McKay, and an assortment of Grateful Dead, Nirvana, Beatles, and Radiohead. I’m also really into podcasts of This American Life, The Moth, and many NPR podcasts that I’ve missed on the air.
What was your first musical experience as performer or audience member?
Piano. I started when I was 4 or 5 years old.
Why did you choose your instrument?
Going into 6th grade, my older brother informed me that “All the cool kids are in band,” so I signed up for band. During the first few classes, the band director had everyone try out instruments. I raised my hand to try many of them, but he didn’t see me in the back row. Finally, he got to the last instrument (trumpet) and said, “If you haven’t tried one yet, you have to try trumpet.” So I tried it and it seemed to fit. Also, the director was a trumpet player, so it helped to have him as an early role model.
What is your favorite music to perform? Genre or specific piece
Tough question. Here is my short list of favorites: Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra Stravinsky: Rite of Spring Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5. All Mahler and almost all Richard Strauss
What do you do besides music?
I love reading, running, hiking, spending time with family and friends, and traveling with my husband and our dog.
Where did you go to school?
All the way from preschool through the end of high school, I went to school in Irmo, SC. I went to college at the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA.
What are your favorite places in Tucson?
Raging Sage Coffee, the Desert Museum, and hiking trails.