Classical trumpeter Mary Elizabeth Bowden is a highly in-demand soloist, praised for her “splendid, brilliant” playing (Gramophone Magazine) and her “pure, refined, and warm” tone (American Record Guide). A Gold Medal Global Music Award Winner, Opus Klassik Nominee, and Yamaha Performing Artist, Bowden works diligently to establish a new repertoire for the trumpet through creative, collaborative commissioning projects and award-winning albums.
Bowden’s 2023/2024 season brings an impressive lineup of solo performances, including four world premiere concertos. Highlights include her debut with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, where she performs a program including Clarice Assad’s Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra and Shostakovich’s Concerto in C minor for Piano, Trumpet, and String Orchestra with pianist Henry Kramer. In another key debut, Bowden appears as a soloist with the Austin Symphony Orchestra, performing Reena Esmail’s Rosa de Sal and Assad’s Bohemian Queen. With the DuPage Symphony, she premieres a new arrangement of Gala Flagello’s Persist, newly arranged for two trumpets, and performs as soloist on Grace Williams’ Trumpet Concerto. She debuts with Oregon’s Rogue Valley Symphony in Henri Tomasi’s Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra before touring the Fung and Assad concertos to the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra, Akron Symphony Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic, and Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra.
Over the course of the season, Bowden holds residencies and masterclasses at Oberlin College, Swarthmore College, the University of Michigan, Rogue Valley Symphony Orchestra, Central Michigan University, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, Haverford College, Grand Valley State University and the Fine Arts Center of Greenville, SC. International engagements bring Bowden to the Isla Verde Bronces International Brass Festival in Argentina, Festival de Metales del Pacifico in Mexico, and Lieksa Brass Week in Finland. Bowden’s Chrysalis Chamber Players embark on a U.S. tour of trumpet and string quartet repertoire, presented by Live On Stage, and with Seraph Brass, Bowden is recording an album of new compositions for brass quintet for Tower Grove Records.
Bowden will also be recording this season with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra for a new solo album – her first with full orchestra – to be released on Cedille Records in summer 2024. Made up entirely of trumpet concerti by living composers, the album will include works by Clarice Assad, Tyson Davis and Vivian Fung – all commissioned by Bowden for this project – as well as previously composed concerti, performed in newly commissioned arrangements, by Reena Esmail, Sarah Kirkland Snider and James Stephenson. Select tracks will also feature performances by David Dash, Bowden’s husband and a celebrated trumpeter.
Highlights of Bowden’s recent seasons include her debut with the Santa Fe Symphony, as well as prominent engagements with major international ensembles. During the 2022/2023 season, she performed as a soloist with the Busan Maru International Music Festival Orchestra in Korea and toured five cities in Argentina, performing Assad’s Bohemian Queen with the Shenandoah Conservatory Orchestra. She served as faculty at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in summer 2022. Prior to that, she performed in the Spanish premiere of James MacMillan’s Seraph with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria. She made her Turkish debut with the Izmir State Symphonic Orchestra. Over recent seasons, Bowden has performed works including Vivian Fung’s Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra (with the Philharmonia Northwest, Seattle), Anthony DiLorenzo’s Chimera: Concerto for Brass Quintet and Wind Ensemble (with the U.S. Army "Pershing's Own"), and Tyson Davis's Veiled Light (with the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, North Carolina).
Bowden has performed as a soloist across the U.S., appearing with ensembles including the Erie Philharmonic, Chautauqua Symphony, Waynesboro Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Peninsula Symphony (California), Chameleon Arts Ensemble (Boston), Springfield Symphony (in both Missouri and Ohio), Richmond Philharmonic Orchestra, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, and San Juan Symphony, and at Montana’s Big Sky Festival. In 2019, she made her German debut in Eisenach at the Wartburg Castle, and her French debut at the Château de Courances, both through the World and European Brass Association. She made her Russian debut with a performance in Sochi with famed trumpeter Otto Sauter’s handpicked “10 of the Best” trumpet soloists from around the world. Other international solo engagements have brought her to China’s Hunan Symphony Orchestra, Croatian Army Wind Band at the Velika Gorica Brass Festival, Lieksa Brass Week in Finland and The Banff Center in Canada, as well as residencies in Courances, France, and both Guadalajara and Cancun, Mexico. Bowden has collaborated in chamber music programs at the Marlboro Music Festival, Lakes Area Music Festival, the Banff Centre, and the Sydney Opera House (under the baton of Håkan Hardenberger).
Bowden has released two acclaimed solo recordings on Summit Records: her debut album, Radiance (featuring new American works), and her second solo album, Rêverie, with the Kassia Ensemble. Rêverie was featured as one of the Top Albums of the Year for the Global Music Awards and on Textura Magazine’s Top Ten Classical Albums of the Year.
Bowden’s many creative projects include her work as a founding member and artistic leader of both Seraph Brass and the Chrysalis Chamber Players. Seraph Brass, an ensemble of America’s top female brass players that was awarded the 2019 American Prize in Chamber Music, has performed at the International Trumpet Guild Conference, Busan Maru Music Festival, the International Women’s Brass Conference, Brevard Music Center, Tafalla Brass Week in Spain, and Lieksa Brass Week. The group’s debut album, Asteria, released on Summit Records, won the Silver Medal Global Music Award. Members of the ensemble also performed on Adele’s 2016 North American tour. Bowden also frequently performs with husband David Dash, both in solo recital programs and as the Dash Duo.
Further accolades include the Gold Medal Global Music Award, First Prize of the International Women’s Brass Conference Trumpet Competition, Second Prize of the 2019 American Prize in Instrumental Performance, and a nomination for the Opus Klassik awards in 2020.
An engaging orchestral musician, she is currently Principal Trumpet of the Artosphere Festival Orchestra and a member of the Iris Collective. She previously held a position with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and served as Principal Trumpet of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, Lakes Area Music Festival Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia in New Zealand, Daejeon Philharmonic in Korea, Lucerne Festival Academy in Switzerland, and Seraphic Fire’s Firebird Chamber Orchestra.
Bowden earned her Bachelor of Music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with David Bilger, then principal trumpeter of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She earned her Master of Music degree in 2006 from the Yale School of Music, where she studied on a full scholarship with trumpeter Allan Dean. Bowden is currently Assistant Professor of Trumpet at Shenandoah Conservatory.