Trumpet Player, New England Conservatory
National Trumpet Competition Winner (2015)
Music Teachers National Association Competition Winner (2014)
YoungArts Competition Winner (2013)
Jack Kent Cooke Award (2013)
By: April M. Crehan
Music is in Elmer Churampi’s blood: his first trumpet teacher was his dad, whose entire family plays brass instruments, largely traditional Peruvian style.
Churampi took a slightly different path, entering a conservatory in Peru at age 9. He then left for the United States at only 13 to attend the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, an international magnet for talented young artists made possible by a scholarship.
Churampi and his family, who are from Lima, raised money for his schooling by creating a recording and running it on television. He said he didn’t speak English when he arrived, but music served as a universal language.
“It was already a big change: it was my first time on a plane,” he said, remembering the move. The food was different, the weather was different, but he felt connected to his fellow students.
“Everybody my age had the same dream to be a musician - a classical musician.”
In Peru, he said, being a musician doesn’t afford one the respect it does in the States. That’s one reason he feels so lucky to have gone to an American school.
“Here when you tell someone you're a classical musician, people treat you like you're a doctor or a teacher or someone important,” he said, comparing that reaction to the long hours his father spent playing on the street to make ends meet.
Interlochen was already a great challenge because of the competition; now Churampi is studying at the New England Conservatory.
“As soon as I got to Boston, that went to a different level,” he said. “It's always inspiring to me to see many people from around the world at this conservatory.”
While at NEC, Churampi is playing on occasion with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops. He also had the chance to play in Peru as a soloist with the Boston Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.
“It was one of my dreams to go back and do a concert there.”
His long-term goal is to be an official part of an American orchestra, but for now, he’s simply focused on completing his studies at the New England Conservatory.