Committed to Opera

Weston Sprott, Trombone

Weston Sprott is Dean and Director of the Preparatory Division at The Juilliard School, a trombonist in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and a Co-Founder of the Black Orchestral Network.

His work is based on mission-driven values developed over a twenty-year career in the arts. His approach to all elements of his career is steeped in basic principles—a commitment to excellence and fairness, an abiding sense of kindness and compassion towards others, and an unwavering sense of optimism that is not naive.

Sprott grew up in Spring, TX, immersed in the fabric of sports, marching bands, soul and R&B music, hip-hop culture, and the Pentecostal church. From an early age, his parents raised him to take pride in his identity, cultivate an industrious spirit, and embrace the heritage of leaders in arts and culture who speak truth to power. In a visit to his office, one will find photos of several individuals he views as inspirations, like Muhammad Ali, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Malcolm X.

Following studies at Indiana University and the Curtis Institute of Music, Sprott began a robust performance career that includes orchestral, chamber, and solo performances. Hailed as “an excellent trombonist” with a “sense of style and phrasing [that] takes a backseat to no one,” he has performed throughout the United States, Europe, South Africa, and Asia. In addition to being a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 2005, he has held positions with the Zurich Opera and Philharmonia, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Delaware Symphony. He has performed with several of the world’s leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and the Oslo Philharmonic. He can be heard on numerous solo, chamber, symphonic, opera, and film recordings, from “Live from Lincoln Center” broadcasts to the recent “Lion King” live-action movie. His chamber music and festival engagements include Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Gateways Chamber Players, Classical Tahoe, Festival Napa Valley, Walla Chamber Music Festival, PRIZM Ensemble, and numerous others.

Growing up in a home of educators, the value and importance of teaching was reinforced from an early age. His commitment to working with young people is evidenced by his prolific teaching career. Sprott’s former students hold positions in leading ensembles across the world as well as others who have forged successful careers in other fields. He holds faculty positions at Juilliard, Bard College, and Music Academy of the West. He frequently appears as a guest teacher for the New World Symphony and The Orchestra Now, and has presented over a hundred masterclasses at conservatories and colleges around the world. Previous faculty positions include Mannes College, Rutgers University, Purchase College, Juilliard’s MAP, PRIZM, Curtis Institute of Music’s Young Artist Summer Program, National Youth Orchestra-USA (NYO-USA and NYO2), Aspen Music Festival and School, and Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival.

In 2019, Sprott was named Dean of Juilliard’s Preparatory Division—comprising the Pre-College and Music Advancement Program (MAP)—becoming the first Black dean in the institution’s history. The inclusion of arts administration into his career was inspired by a transformational conversation with mentor Wynton Marsalis who encouraged him to “switch from the me agenda to the we agenda” and find a place where his personal mission could more fully live in his work. During his tenure as Dean and Director, Sprott has played a central role in securing multiple transformative gifts for both the Pre-College and MAP, including permanent endowment and episodic funding to increase access to music education and build a more inclusive repertoire for young musicians. With this support, Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program, which actively seeks students historically underrepresented and underserved in classical music, now serves over 50% more students and provides full-tuition scholarships to all students in perpetuity. The Preparatory Division has contributed substantially to the creation of new work, having commissioned over 50 new works and counting—including etudes, solos, chamber, choral, wind ensemble, and orchestral works—with a focus on increasing the diversity of composers introduced to young musicians, creating a more inclusive future, and meaningfully elevating the work of talented creators from every walk of life. Upon receiving the Sphinx Medal of Excellence—the highest honor bestowed by the organization—and recognizing the importance of year-round educational opportunities, he established the “Weston Sprott and Anthony McGill MAP Summer Scholarship Fund” in partnership with MAP Artistic Director, Anthony McGill. In 2021, he was awarded the Sphinx Venture Fund for “Composing Inclusion,” a partnership between Juilliard, the New York Philharmonic, and American Composers Forum that commissioned and premiered nine new works with flexible orchestration by Black and Latinx composers, performed side-by-side by Preparatory Division students and the New York Philharmonic.

In 2021, Sprott co-founded the Black Orchestral Network (BON), an organization that supports Black orchestral musicians by “cultivating community, lifting our voices, and telling our stories.” In addition to capturing the stories of historic figures in classical music through the podcast Black Music Seen and convening the community virtually and in person, BON has released multiple open letters to the field that light the path towards a more equitable future for Black musicians. Other efforts by Sprott have led to the creation of the National Alliance for Audition Support, Sphinx Orchestral Partners Auditions Excerpt Competition, and Classical Tahoe Academy, as well as numerous other initiatives that are shifting the landscape of the industry.

Sought after as a speaker, Sprott recently delivered the keynote address for SphinxConnect and the alumni commencement address at his alma mater, the Curtis Institute of Music. He has been a guest speaker and panelist for several professional associations, has consulted for various organizations, and has authored several articles in publications including Local 802’s Allegro. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and on the cover of the International Musician, the national publication of the American Federation of Musicians. He is the recipient of the Atlanta Symphony’s Aspire Award and the Community Music Center of Boston’s John Kleshinski Award.

Sprott is Board Chair of the Friends of SICMF, a member of the Sphinx National Advisory Board, and a member of the Avery Fisher Artist Program’s Recommendation Board. He has served as an advisory board member for Project STEP, Community Music Center of Boston, and the Bronx Arts Ensemble. As an artist and clinician for the Antoine Courtois Instrument Company, Sprott performs exclusively on the Creation New York trombone, an instrument he designed.


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