Craig Swartz
  • Instrument Trumpet

Craig Swartz grew up in Davenport, Iowa and attended the Davenport School system which was nationally acclaimed for their music program. Starting the cornet at age 9, Craig was able to play melodies by ear and progressed rapidly, although he never really learned to read music until his senior year in high school, even being selected to Iowa All State twice learning the audition material by listening to other trumpet players in the practice rooms outside of rehearsals.   As a sophomore in high school, Craig auditioned and was selected as a member of the trumpet section in the Tri Cities (now Quad Cities) Youth Symphony under the direction of James Dixon and fell in love with tsymphonic performance although he was still active in band, jazz and rock endeavors.

Choosing music education, particularly teaching band, as a 15 year old, he earned a BME from Augustana College (Rock Island, IL) in 1974 and an MS in Music Education from Bemidji State University in 1987. He was a member of Tri Cities (Quad Cities) Symphony from 1975-80, Clinton Symphony from 1978-82, and has been a member of the Des Moines Symphony since 1986. He is Principal Trumpet with the Bemidji Symphony, starting in 2007. He was a member of several rock bands in the Quad Cities from 1972-82 and performs during warmer months with the Upper Mississippians and the Northern Lights Opera Company in Park Rapids, Minnesota. He is also a member of the Bemidji Brass Quintet and has been a member of the Bemidji Area Community Band, Park Rapids Community Band, the Bemidji Big Band, and does freelance work in the Des Moines and Bemidji areas.

Among others, Craig studied trumpet with Raymond Brusen, George Opheim, Renold Schilke, and Charles Decker. He also was a principal conducting student at workshops with Frederick Fennell, Craig Kirchoff, Robert Reynolds, and Miles Johnson. He has performed with every artist who has appeared with the Des Moines Symphony over the past 30-some years as well as Benny Goodman, Clark Terry, Doc Severinsen, Vincent Abatto, Mannheim Steamroller and others over the past 50 years.

Craig is a retired public school music educator, having taught band for 40 years in Iowa and Colorado. Swartz was also a regular member of the Bemidji State University MusiCamp faculty for 28 years, conducting the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Jazz 2, and teaching trumpet and other brass lessons, Music Theory, Music Fundamentals and Beginning Jazz Improvisation. He has been on the faculty of Grinnell College (IA) since 1997, teaching trumpet studio lessons.

In free time Craig enjoys political activism, Alpine and water skiing, fishing; is highly involved in the shooting sports and is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association and several Iowa sporting organizations.

Craig has been a member of the Des Moines Symphony since 1987.