O.J.'s Trumpet Page Great artists

"Bud" Herseth

Adolph Sylvester ("Bud") Herseth was principal trumpet in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since he became a member in 1948 and until he retired in 2001 (53 years!).  He is generally recognized as one of the world's greatest symphonic trumpeters.
Born in Lake Park, Minnesota on July 25, 1921. Passed away on April 13, 2013, at home in Oak Park. (Obituary from CSO)

Started playing at 7

His father was the band director at this little school in Letcher, South Dakota where he got his first trumpet:
"I remember very distinctly my very first time playing in the band. It was a summer band concert on the main street of that little town. I was sitting on the bandstand, way down on the 3rd or 4th part, and playing some little march. I was only 8 at the time, but I can remember it to this day. I thought, Man alive! What a kick this is! And I'll never forget my Dad looking over at me and smiling a couple of times. He could see that I really dug it."


The first teacher was James Greco during the summer of 1937 when Bud went to the first high school state band camp that Gerald Prescott held at the University of Minnesota. He had heard Bud play at a regional contest and invited him to play solo cornet in the summer band. "We had a terrific time down there."

The next teachers, Marcel Lafosse and Georges Mager, at the New England Conservatory in Boston when he went there for two and a half years on the GI Bill after World War II. The first year and a half, Bud studied with Lafosse (the second trumpet player in the Boston Symphony; first trumpeter Mager's schedule was full), and with Mager for his final year. Mager was a very famous orchestral trumpet player in those days - he played in Boston under Koussevitsky, even Monteux, and must have played there 30 years or more. He was a very, exciting, player and a very inspiring teacher. "I owe a great deal to that man."

Players who influenced him

In a book by Louis Davidson (Trumpet Profiles), Bud lists a number of players he admired and whose playing most influenced his own playing:
Louis Davidson "One of the first records we had at home - one I played a lot was the recording of the Shostakovitch First Symphony by the Cleveland Orchestra with Artur Rodzinski conducting. I didn't know at that time who the first trumpet player was, but I was very impressed with that recording. Later I heard Louis several times in person and I always thought him a really very elegant and marvelous player. I heard many things that I liked in his playing."
Harry Glanz played in the New York Philharmonic (Mengelberg, Toscanini, others) then moved over to the NBC Orchestra a year or two after it was formed. He was a big influence on all symphonic trumpet players. "With Glantz I think I was more impressed with the solidity of his playing. To my way of thinking he was not as inspiring a player-in terms of really getting turned on when he played-as Mager was. But he was very reliable, with an excellent sound and style of playing-one that I think probably influenced more players than any other during that period."
Maurice Andre"Well, let's face it, Andre is . . . he's it in terms of solo playing. The guy sounds fabulous, that's all . . .that's all I can say. I heard him play live a couple of times, once in Amsterdam, and also in this area. I have nothing but the greatest admiration for the man's playing-fabulous."
He also list other players: Adolf Scherbaum's playing because he was the first to really go into the Baroque high trumpet playing in a big way-a very exciting player. And jazzplayers like Maynard Ferguson: "Yes, I think Maynard Ferguson is the greatest brass player in this part of the century."

Other musician

The Swedish tenor Jussi Bjoerling. "Ahh ,.. his singing was out of slight, out of sight."
Frank Sinatra "The guy really puts across the lyrics of a tune."

Preparation for performances

"As far as the individual players are concerned, preparing for the job is just mainly keeping up with fundamentals. I practice scales, long tones, and nice broad vocalise-type studies every day."

Books, specific materials

He try to vary it quite a bit, but there are several books he use, like the Charlier 36 Etudes, the Walter Smith Top Tones, the Herbert L. Clarke second and third books. And of course he practice the difficult things that are coming up. But he try not to over-practice and go stale on them. He always like to go on the stage with the feeling that he is doing this for the first time. . . "and let's really go!"

Warmup routine

Bud does not use any particularly warmup routine. "I do believe in warming up, and as I grow older I find that it takes a little longer to get all the brain cells and all the red corpuscles going. It's a fact of life. You know, a warmup is just a practice session gradually approached - that's really all it is. You try to cover some of the fundamentals, first of all to get a nice freely-produced musical quality sound. And then you go through a few articulations, and gradually extend the range until your top, bottom, and middle registers, articulations, and lungs, are all there."


Herseth used a Bach 1B mouthpiece with 22 size throat, and sometimes a 1, both on the C trumpet that he uses 99 percent of the time. On the higher pitched trumpets (piccolo for the Bach Brandenburg) he used a shallower cup.

Advice from Bud


Lesson with Bud

Here are some notes that Tim Kent took when he studied with Bud.

Commentary from Bud

Here are some comments from Bud that Bill Dishman compiled and sent to TPIN.

The CSO trumpet section

In the book Arnold Jacobs: Song and Wind, by WindSong Press you can find an appendix with info on all the brass players in Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO). The author, Brian Frederiksen has given permission to use this info here.

Bud on DVD

CSO recorded Mahler 5th in Germany, 1997.
Hindemith conducting CSO in 1963 - (was on YouTube for a while)

Bud on records

Here is an incomplete list of his recordings. Except for a few (where Assitant Principal played), Bud play on all the CSO records (where there are trumpet parts) for the last 50 years!

Bud and Norway

His anchestors came from Norway, so in 1977, he visited Norway to see the places where his relatives lives (in Stange in Hedemark). Bud also held a seminar.

News, other sites, etc.

Sources: THE INSTRUMENTALIST (April 1977), Trumpet Profiles by Louis Davidson.