Steve Wolfinbarger

Photo of Steve Wolfinbarger
Steve Wolfinbarger
Professor, Trombone
(269) 387-4699
(269) 387-1113
1420 Dalton Center, Mail Stop 5434
Mailing address: 
School of Music
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5434 USA
  • D.M.A., Trombone Performance, University of North Texas
  • M.M., Trombone Performance, University of North Texas

  • B.M.E., Evangel University


Dr. Steve Wolfinbarger is a Professor of Music at Western Michigan University where he teaches trombone. He earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, and the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in trombone performance from the University of North Texas.

Over the past few years Wolfinbarger has been recognized with several major teaching awards, honors and recognitions. He was selected as the Michigan Professor of the Year for 2013 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in Washington, D.C. He was one of 15 nominees statewide for the 2013 Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year Award. Wolfinbarger was the recipient of the 2010 Western Michigan University Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest award given to any professor at WMU, and he was also presented with the College of Fine Arts Dean's Teaching Award in 2009. He was also the sole recipient of the 2009 International Trombone Association's prestigious ITA Award (see previous winners and ITA Journal Article) "in recognition of his distinguished career and in acknowledgment of his impact on the world of trombone performance," the highest prize awarded by the International Trombone Association each year. He currently serves as President of WMU's chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.

Wolfinbarger was President of the International Trombone Association from 1994–96, and he was the Director of the International Trombone Festival and Chair of the International Trombone Festival Site Selection Committee from 1992–2001. Wolfinbarger also hosted and organized the 1990 International Trombone Workshop which was held at Western Michigan University. He is currently the chair of the ITA Governance Committee, and he has published articles in the International Trombone Association Journal. He served on a steering committee with six other leading trombone teachers to develop a national trombone pedagogy manual for public school music teachers in an effort to increase the quality and quantity of trombone students in the United States. He was also the subject of a feature article in Director Magazine.

Wolfinbarger has appeared as a guest soloist or clinician at numerous regional, national and international conferences, including the Midwest Trombone Workshop, National Fine Arts Festival, Midwestern Music Conference, the Arizona Low Brass Symposium, several Brazilian National Trombone Symposiums, and the Latin America Trombone Symposium. He has been featured as a guest performer or clinician at major music conservatories in The Netherlands, Finland, Mexico, and in the United States at the Chautauqua Institute, The Eastman School of Music, and at more than 25 colleges and universities. As a member of the Western Brass Quintet, he has performed in Canada, Germany, Russia, and The Peoples Republic of China. He has also performed as an extra with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and with the Springfield (Missouri) and Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestras.

Students in his studio have competed successfully and have won a number of important competitions. Since 2001 students have been selected as finalists in the various International Trombone Association competitions on 16 occasions (including nine of the last 10 years), and they have been selected as winners in their respective competitions five of the past seven years. In addition, they have been invited to compete as semifinalists or finalists at the Eastern Trombone Workshop’s National Solo Competition seven times since 2005. Two separate students have also been chosen as winner and honorable mention in the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition two of the last four years respectively. His students have been selected as finalists in both the Minnesota Orchestra's Steve Zellmer Orchestral Excerpt Competition and the Music Club of Detroit solo competition. Since 2000, graduates of his studio have been admitted to some of the most competitive music programs in the United States, including The Juilliard School, Yale University, The Eastman School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Cincinnati Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, Northwestern University, University of North Texas, Florida State University, and Indiana University, to name a few.

Trombone studio website