John Sebastian Vera, a native of Texas, became the Principal Trombonist of the Pittsburgh Opera in 2010 and also joined the River City Brass as Principal Trombone in 2015. He is also currently Acting Principal Trombone of the Harrisburg Symphony and Wheeling Symphony. A dedicated chamber musician, he also was a founding member of the critically acclaimed Guidonian Hand Trombone Quartet in which he played from 2008–2014. He also co-created the Third Coast Trombone Retreat in 2014, a week-long seminar for trombonists in Michigan.
In addition to the Pittsburgh Opera, Mr. Vera has played with the symphonies of Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Buffalo, Kennedy Center Opera House, Malaysian Philharmonic, New York City Opera, Vermont, Charleston, Albany, Akron, Harrisburg, American Ballet Theatre, and Orquesta Sinaloa de las Artes in Mexico, amongst others.
He began his studies with Jon Bohls in Texas and continued his education at Southern Methodist University where he studied with John Kitzman of the Dallas Symphony. He then spent a year studying with Ed Zadrozny as a graduate assistant at the University of Akron and finished his graduate work in New York City at the Mannes College of Music studying with David Finlayson and James Markey of the New York Philharmonic.
In 2009, Mr. Vera was honored to be asked to play alongside the New York Philharmonic trombone section as well as members of the Metropolitan Opera to record two pieces for James Markey's solo release, On Base.
In 2011, he spent the summer in Haiti volunteer teaching and performing in the Orchestre Philharmonique Sainte Trinite as well as the Ecole de Musique Dessaix Baptiste which became one of the more profound experiences of his life.
With the quartet, Mr. Vera performed over 100 concerts and gave master classes all over the country. Heralded by the New York Times for their "expertly played performances," they have been recipients of numerous national grants which have enabled them to commission countless composers to create new and innovative works for four trombones. In 2014 was the premiere of River of Fundament, a movie by film artist Matthew Barney, in which Mr. Vera recorded for and acted in along with the quartet.
Mr. Vera can also be heard on the HBO documentary The Words that Built America, as well as on euphonium in the PBS documentary Abraham and Mary Lincoln, A House Divided.
M.M., Mannes College of Music
B.M., Southern Methodist University
Member, River City Brass Band