James Dooley Principal Trumpet
Originally from Syracuse, New York, Jim arrived in San Jose in 1983, winning the audition for the principal trumpet chair in the San Jose Symphony Orchestra. Prior to that, he had been “existing” as a freelance musician in New York City. Jim graduated from the Manhattan School of Music in 1978 with a master’s degree in music performance, a student of William Vacchiano, former principal trumpeter of the New York Philharmonic. However, Jim feels that it was the actual work world after school—and the gift to have studied with Vince Penzarella, the second trumpeter of the New York Philharmonic at the time—that prepared him to audition in San Jose. Then came more learning. George Cleve was the music director of the San Jose Symphony Orchestra, and the depth of his musical knowledge was a graduate degree in itself. Thirty-three years later, Jim still occupies the first trumpet spot in the orchestra, having survived its troubled bankruptcy and reincarnation as Symphony Silicon Valley thanks in droves to Andrew Bales, founder and executive director, for his tireless dedication to keeping the ship afloat. As well, Jim teaches extensively on a private basis these days, having taught at San Jose State and Santa Clara Universities in the ’80s and ’90s. Outside of symphony work, Jim is an original member of The Bay Brass, a self-run brass chamber group of 10 players, nominated for a Grammy in 2012 for their CD Sound The Bells! At 60 years of age, he practices as much as humanly possible—because he’s still obsessed with improving.