Chris Van Hof

Trombonist-Educator-Music Arranger

A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Chris Van Hof is the assistant professor of trombone at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and serves as principal trombone for the Muncie Symphony Orchestra. Chris is a proud performing artist for S. E. Shires Custom Brass Instruments and Facet Mutes

Chris Van Hof

Chris leads an active and varied career as a performer in all styles on the trombone and euphonium; a teacher and clinician in brass, chamber music, and jazz; and a writer and arranger of music for ensembles from trombone choir to symphony orchestra. He has performed regularly with the Fort Collins Symphony (CO), the Cheyenne Symphony (WY), and the orchestras Madison, WI, Rochester, NY, as well as the acclaimed Boulder Brass. He recorded two albums with the funk band the Po Boys Brass Band that also included many of his original compositions. He co-founded the Emerald Brass Quintet and still performs with that group throughout the United States. He has played in big bands backing up Johnny Mathis, Slide Hampton, Stefon Harris, Clay Aiken, and Frank Sinatra, Jr. He was principal trombonist on the Eastman Wind Ensemble’s 2008 recording collaboration with the Canadian Brass called Manhattan Music. He has performed internationally as a chamber musician  at venues in Panama, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, and Finland. For three years, he was the Afternoon Drive-Time host of the all-classical-music radio station WXXI Classical 91.5 in Rochester, N.Y. And he has been an associate producer for recordings by artists including flutist Michelle Stanley, tubist Stephanie Frye, euphoniumist Matthew Mireles, and the Madison, Wis.-based Isthmus Brass.

An experienced educator at the collegiate level, Chris has previously taught at Colorado State University (Assistant Professor, 2013-2017), the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (Adjunct, 2012-2013), and Nazareth College (Adjunct, 2008-2011). His students have earned scholarships to reputable music institutions and prominent trombone workshops including the Pokorny Seminar and the Alessi Seminar. He has presented master classes for both college and high school students throughout Colorado, California, New York, Texas, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Chris is able to teach in both English and Spanish, and was also a faculty member of the 4th Panamanian Trombone Workshop in May 2017 (el 4o Taller de Trombones Panamá). 

Chris is passionate about his career teaching college trombone students. He strives to create a nurturing yet challenging environment in which students set and achieve professional and personal goals. Each student gets individual instruction while studying at Ball State, with a unique curriculum designed to help them grow steadily as a musician. Chris places the highest priority on creating art and connecting with an audience, with technique always focused on serving that ultimate end.

As a frequent recitalist and soloist, Chris programs ambitious and engaging repertoire, all presented in a personal and intimate manner from the stage. He has participated in recent consortium premieres of a new concerto by Dana Wilson, and has recently performed the concertos of Jeff Tyzik, Launry Grondahl, Georg Christoph Wagenseil, and Lars-Erik Larsson with various ensembles at Colorado State and Ball State. Along with his friend Evan Conroy of the Louisiana Sympohony, he is commissioning a number of new works for tenor and bass trombone duo, with world premieres occurring frequently over the course of 2018. He revels in interacting with the audience, collaborating with other performers of all styles and instruments, and broadening his own and his listeners’ musical horizons. His collaborative solo performances range from Renaissance dances to modern jazz.

The 2017/2018 seasons includes a concerto performance with the Ball State Symphony Band, recitals and master classes at Texas Tech University, the University of Delaware, and Louisiana State University, two world premieres with Evan Conroy at the 2018 American Trombone Workshop, the first-annual Ball State Trombone Fest in April 2018 (with special guest artists Natalie Mannix of the University of North Texas, and Freddie Mendoza, jazz trombone faculty at Ball State), a workshop with the St. Louis Low Brass Collective, and frequent performances in east-central Indiana in solo recital and as a member of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra.

Chris earned his degrees from Western Michigan University (Bachelor's of Music Education and Bachelor's of Music Performance), the Eastman School of Music (Master of Music) and the University of Wisconsin (Doctor of Musical Arts). His primary teachers were Steve Wolfinbarger, Mark Kellogg, and Mark Hetzler as well as Scott Cowan (arranging and jazz) and Johannes Wallmann (jazz).

He lives, bikes, cooks, and compulsively watches both Food Network and "House of Cards" in Muncie with his wife Andrea, and their sons Dexter and Fritz.



Photo credits: Jennifer Clary, Catie Hickey, Karina Castillo Alonso