Dr. Luke Spence enjoys a multi-faceted career as a performer, educator, and recording artist. He is the newly appointed Visiting Assistant Professor of Trumpet at the SUNY Potsdam Crane School of Music, second trumpet of the Washington Chamber Orchestra, and a member of the award-winning chamber group Anima Brass. 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 NACWPI Journal, Spence's debut solo album 20th Century Art Songs offers a fresh approach to the genre of vocal transcriptions and highlights repertoire seldom explored by instrumentalists.
As a freelance orchestral musician, Spence has performed with ensembles including the National Philharmonic, Fairfax Symphony, Lancaster Symphony, Reading Symphony, Mid-Atlantic Symphony, Orchestra of Northern New York, Washington Opera Society, 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. He served as principal trumpet of Symphony of the Potomac from 2016-2019 and the International Chamber Orchestra of America from 2016-2018. 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 shared the stage with world-renowned performers and conductors including Denyce Graves, Joshua Bell, Leon Fleischer, Gerard Schwarz, 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. The group holds a deep passion for highlighting works written by composers who have been historically marginalized and excluded. Anima maintains an active performance schedule and has held residencies at institutions such as St. John's College, Frostburg State University, and Towson University. Most recently, Anima collaborated with minimalist composer Kali Malone to record several of her new works at The Bunker Studio in Brooklyn, NYC. These works will be featured on an album which is expected to be released in 2023. 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", which was 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. He recently served as trumpet judge chair of the inaugural Marie Speziale Mock Orchestra Competition and judge for the Susan Slaughter Solo Competition at the 2022 International Women's Brass Conference in Denton, TX. Dr. Spence has given masterclasses and clinics at the University of Akron, Towson University, University of Maryland, and the Music for All Mid-Atlantic Regional Concert Band Festival. 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. Dr. Spence previously held teaching posts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's OrchKids program, George Mason High School in Falls Church, VA, 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.
Dr. 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.