Chris Van Hof

Trombonist-Educator-Music Arranger

A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Chris Van Hof is the assistant professor of trombone at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. Chris is a proud performing artist for S. E. Shires Custom Brass Instruments and Facet Mutes

Chris Van Hof headshot

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 is the auxilliary/extra trombonist with the Fort Collins Symphony (CO) and the Cheyenne Symphony (WY) and has been a substitute performer with the orchestras Madison, WI, Rochester, NY, and Southwest Fla. 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 as a chamber musician throughout Europe at venues in 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.

Since beginning in 2013 at Colorado State, he has founded the CSU Trombone Choir, the CSU Trombone Octet, and co-founded Neue Polka Colorado (German-style all-brass "pop polka" band). TheTrombone Choir made its world debut at the 2014 BigXII Trombone Conference in Lubbock Texas with guest soloist Larry Zalkind (Eastman School of Music), and has since featured soloists Mark Kellogg (Eastman), Mark Hetzler and Sinister Resonance, Jeremy Wilson (Vanderbilt University), and James Nova (Pittsburgh Symphony). The trombone studio at CSU has fourteen to eighteen students enrolled annually. Chris also teaches Jazz History at CSU, and regularly makes visits to Colo. high schools and middle schools for clinics and master classes, in addition to being the yearly sectional coach for the Colorado All-State Orchestra trombones.

As a recitalist and soloist, Chris programs ambitious and engaging repertoire, all presented in a personal and intimate manner from the stage. 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 2016/2017 season has Chris as a guest soloist with Gerry Pagano of the St. Louis Symphony during Gerry's visit to CSU, a faculty recital, a master class and recital tour to the San Diego area, teaching and performing in Panama at the Taller de Trombones, and a brass quintet tour of the San Francisco Bay Area with Emerald Brass. Chris will also be presenting a clinic with his wife (who is a public school band director) and his CSU colleague John McGuire at the 2017 Colorado Music Educators Association annual conference in Colorado Springs.

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, hikes, cooks, and compulsively watches both Food Network and "House of Cards" in Fort Collins with his wife Andrea, their sons Dexter and Fritz, and their dog Elsa.



Photo credits: Jennifer Clary