Debra Taylor is currently Principal Trombone of the New Mexico Philharmonic. She had been Principal Trombonist with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra for eighteen years and recently joined some of New Mexico’s finest jazz players as a member of the Southwest Jazz Orchestra. She has taught trombone and chamber music at UNM since 2000.
Ms. Taylor grew up in rural New York State and spent six happy years performing with her small town marching band. She studied at Boston University and received her Bachelor’s degree from the renowned Curtis Institute of Music. In May 2007 she completed a Master of Music degree at UNM, with a focus on jazz improvisation.
Her artistry has taken her from an appearance at Carnegie Hall, with the New York Trumpet Ensemble, to solo performances at several international brass festivals. Ms. Taylor was the soloist for two world premiers at the University of New Mexico Composers’ Symposium. She has been a guest artist at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and has played recitals and concertos throughout the United States.
In 2006 Ms. Taylor traveled to Beijing, China, with the New Mexico Brass Quintet. Her master class there was so well received that a second class was added to accommodate a larger audience. She has been a clinician at several international brass festivals and at universities nationwide. While living in Chicago, Ms. Taylor was the Trombone Instructor at Roosevelt University.
Ms. Taylor has held positions with Chicago’s Grant Park Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, the Taipei (Taiwan) Festival Orchestra, and the Florida Symphony. Her collaborations have included intensive work with composer Patricia Repar and a four year project with modern dance legend Bill Evans.
Ms. Taylor’s teaching is insightful, engaging, and keeps students focused on their career goals. She has written for the International Trombone Journal and is a clinician for the Edwards Instrument Company.
She and her husband, attorney Whitney Johnson, are busy raising their two children, Noah and Ava. The family enjoys camping, music, and outdoor sports.