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The Mind Over Finger Podcast

Oct 11, 2019

In this episode, Billy Hunter, Principal Trumpet with the Metropolitan Opera, talks about how meditation transformed his approach to music-making – from practicing to preparing for audition, and performing.

Billy elaborates on:

  • How he used and still uses meditation and mindfulness to center himself before a performance
  • How he focuses his mind on “Intending to play well” when performing
  • How he believes in the importance of a regular meditation practice – in the cumulative effect of practicing meditation daily
  • Why he wants to feel like he’s practicing when he’s performing
  • How Bikram Yoga brought him a lot of focus
  • How mindfulness helps him learn faster





A native of Austin, Texas, Billy Hunter is currently Principal Trumpet with the Metropolitan Opera in New York and Assistant Principal Trumpet with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra in Chicago. Before this, he was Principal with the New World Symphony and Spoleto Festival Italy orchestras, and has performed as Guest Principal with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony in Germany, Malaysian Philharmonic in Kuala Lumpur, and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Other orchestras he has performed with are the New York Philharmonic, Boston, Baltimore, and Dallas Symphonies. As a chamber musician and soloist Mr. Hunter has performed with several ensembles and music festivals including Grant Park Orchestra, New World Symphony, University of Texas Symphony and Wind Ensemble, Prometheus Chamber Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival Orchestra, American Brass Quintet, the Martha's Vineyard Chamber Music Festival and the MET Chamber Ensemble. His honors and awards include first prize in the Kingsville International Solo Competition Brass and Non-string divisions, second prize in the National Trumpet Competition, recipient of the Roger Voisin Trumpet award as a fellow of the prestigious Tanglewood Music Center in the Berkshires, and most recently, the University of Texas at Austin Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the Juilliard School, his teachers have included Mark Gould (former Principal Trumpet of the Met), Raymond Mase  (Principal Trumpet of the NYC Ballet and ABQ), Raymond Crisara (former trumpet of the Met and NBC Symphony), and Harry Shapiro (former horn player of the Boston Symphony).


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Most sincere thank you to composer Jim Stephenson who graciously provided the show’s musical theme!  Concerto #1 for Trumpet and Chamber Orchestra – Movement 2: Allegro con Brio, performed by Jeffrey Work, trumpet, and the Lake Forest Symphony, conducted by Jim Stephenson.

Also a HUGE thank you to my fantastic producer, Bella Kelly!