Dr. Luke Spence enjoys a multi-faceted career as a performer, educator, and recording artist. He is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Trumpet at the SUNY Potsdam Crane School of Music, second trumpet of the South Florida Symphony, and a member of the chamber groups Anima Brass and the Potsdam Brass Quintet. He is proud to be a performing artist for both S.E. Shires Co. and Denis Wick Products.

Praised by Fanfare Magazine for his “great artistry”, labeled “exquisite” by the International Trumpet Guild Journal, and hailed as “a true expert in phrasing” by the National Association of College Wind & Percussion Instructors Journal, Spence is known for his impact on the genre of vocal transcriptions. His debut solo album 20th Century Art Songs is recognized for its unique approach and emphasis on repertoire seldom explored by instrumentalists. In 2023, the album was honored as a finalist for The American Prize. As a freelance orchestral musician, Spence has performed with ensembles including the National Philharmonic, Fairfax Symphony, Lancaster Symphony, Reading Symphony, Washington Chamber Orchestra, Mid-Atlantic Symphony, Orchestra of Northern New York, and The New Orchestra of Washington. In recent years, he has performed at the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center, toured across the U.S., Europe, and China, and was a featured soloist with the Washington Sinfonietta. In past summer seasons, Spence performed with the Endless Mountain Festival Orchestra in PA and NY, the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria, and as principal trumpet with Opera in the Ozarks at Inspiration Point in Eureka Springs, AR. He has appeared on programs with world-renowned artists including Denyce Graves, Joshua Bell, Leon Fleischer, Gerard Schwarz, Gordon Lightfoot, Leon Bridges, and Jennifer Nettles.

Spence is particularly passionate about chamber music for its ability to capture audiences through intimacy and versatility. Upon his appointment to the SUNY Potsdam Crane School of Music faculty, he joined the Potsdam Brass Quintet, one of America’s oldest professional brass quintets. Spence’s other chamber group, Anima Brass is dedicated to performing, recording, and promoting new works for brass quintet. They have held residencies at institutions such as St. John’s College, Frostburg State University, and Towson University. Anima Brass can be heard playing the music of celebrated post-minimalist composer, Kali Malone on her 2024 album titled All Life Long. Upon its release, All Life Long was named Pitchfork’s “Best New Album”, The Guardian’s “Album of the Week”, and rose to the #4 spot on Billboard’s Classical Crossover chart. Critics have called Anima’s contributions “enthralling” and said that All Life Long will “pull on the listener’s heartstrings” and leave them in “a state of transcendental bliss”. Previously, Spence was a member of the Oberlin Brass Quintet, which notably toured 17 cities throughout mainland China in 2015. That same year, OBQ premiered David Maslanka’s brass chamber work Letter to Martin, written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s commencement speech at Oberlin College.

Outside of mainstream classical music, Dr. Spence has performed with Baltimore and D.C. theatre companies, toured with the Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra, and premiered new works by living composers with groups such as Stage Free and the District New Music Coalition. With a deep interest in early music on period instruments, Spence has appeared twice with the Washington Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble. Following a nearly sold-out concert of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 with WCSE and The Choral Arts Society of Washington at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington Classical Review praised the cornetto players for being “solid on the virtuosic solos.”

Prior to his appointment at SUNY Potsdam, Dr. Spence served as Lecturer of Trumpet at Frostburg State University, Instructor of Trumpet at Frederick Community College, and Director of the Young Artists of America Trumpet Academy. In 2020, he created and served as director for a new brass ensemble and repertoire course at the University of Maryland School of Music, which continues to thrive and grow today. In recent years, Spence has given masterclasses and residencies at institutions such as Oberlin Conservatory, Colorado State University, the University of Akron, Towson University, and the University of Maryland. Additionally, he has chaired and served as a judge for competitions at the International Women’s Brass Conference (IWBC) and the International Trumpet Guild (ITG) Conference, and conducted the ITG New Works Trumpet Ensemble. Dr. Spence previously held teaching posts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program, the Sheridan School in Washington D.C., the Wyoming Seminary Performing Arts Institute in Kingston, PA, and the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra in Oberlin, OH.

A firm believer that music has the power to be an agent of social change, Spence is a founding Board of Directors member of the International Pride Orchestra, a non-profit charity orchestra that brings together LGBTQIA+ musicians from around the world to present concerts, celebrate community, and raise funds for LGBTQIA+ causes. He also serves as co-chair of the ITG Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and as a mentor for the IWBC Mentorship Program.

Spence earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts and Master of Music at the University of Maryland, where he studied with Distinguished Professor Chris Gekker. He also holds a Bachelor of Music with a minor in musicology from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Associate Professor Roy Poper and was the recipient of the 2014 James Stamp Award.