Suresh Singaratnam is a trumpeter of uncommon breadth - unique not only for the small crowd he inhabits as a virtuoso of both classical and jazz styles but also for the continuity and clarity of his voice across both idioms. When he began to study the trumpet at age nine, it never occurred to him that he might have to choose between the two.
Torontonian by way of Zambia (where he was born) and the U.K., Singaratnam boasts a background that defies classification as nimbly as his artistic taste. In eighth grade he asked a music teacher if she knew of anyone who played both jazz and classical trumpet at a high level and she steered him to Wynton Marsalis, two of whose records he promptly went out and bought. Suresh studied with Canadian trumpet virtuoso Norman Engel throughout high school, and even then exhibited an uncommon aptitude for the technicalities of the trumpet, besting pianists and string players alike to win the Scarborough Philharmonic Youth Concerto Competition at the age of 17. In his last year of high school he studied with Toronto Symphony trumpeter Barton Woomert, then spent a year at the University of Toronto studying with Chase Sanborn.
After one year at the University of Toronto Singaratnam transferred to Manhattan School of Music in New York City, a move whose tremendous impact on his life and psyche he chronicles in his recent album Lost in New York. Even though Singaratnam focused on the classical style in his early lessons (probably because the technique came most naturally) it was jazz trumpet he went on to study as an undergraduate. Suresh studied with jazz great Lew Soloff but continued his classical trumpet studies with the New York Philharmonic's Vincent Penzarella.
Take Five With...
Read more articles