A native of Austin, Texas, Billy Hunter has been principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 2004. He enjoys a versatile career in the classical music world that includes orchestral, chamber, and solo performances as well as several educational and outreach initiatives. He is also a former member of the Grammy nominated Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago.
In addition to his yearly work with the MET, Hunter has appeared as guest principal trumpet with The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Malaysian Philharmonic in Kuala Lumpur, The Frankfurt Radio Symphony in Germany, The Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Italy, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina, and the Chineke! Orchestra in London. He has also had concerts with the New York Philharmonic, New Jersey, Dallas, and Boston symphonies throughout his professional career. He has held previous positions of principal trumpet, second trumpet, and third associate trumpet with the New World, Baltimore, and Grant Park symphonies respectively.
As a chamber musician, Hunter has concertized with the MET Chamber Ensemble, Prometheus Chamber Orchestra, Classical Tahoe Chamber Orchestra, Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival, Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Festival, Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival, and with the Music Kitchen concert series in Lower Manhattan, which features free lunchtime performances of various types of music for different homeless shelters across Manhattan.
As a soloist, Hunter has performed with several different ensembles including the UT Wind ensemble and Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, NJCU Wind Ensemble and Symphony, Lake Tahoe Chamber Orchestra, Prizm Festival Orchestra, the New World Symphony, Serafic Fire and Firebird Chamber Orchestra, Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival, and the Chineke!Orchestra. In addition to this, Hunter has also appeared as recitalist at several venues nationwide, in Europe and in Asia. His awards include the Roger Voisin Outstanding Trumpeter Prize from the Tanglewood Music Center in the Berkshires and first prize in the Kingsville International Solo Competition Brass Division. In 2010, he was granted the University of Texas Outstanding Young Texas-Exes award, one of the highest honors granted to alumni. In addition to this he has also won two Grammy awards for the MET Opera performances of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic and Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
Hunter has given master classes nationally and internationally with several universities and schools including Curtis, Juilliard School, University of Mary, UT Austin, James Madison, Memphis, and Pittsburgh State universities, Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and various venues in Tokyo, Japan. In addition to this, he is a frequent coach for the New York Youth Symphony in Manhattan and the National Youth Orchestra. He is currently on faculty at NJCU and the Manhattan School of Music.
Hunter currently holds a Bachelor of Music in trumpet performance from UT Austin and a Master of Music in trumpet performance from The Juilliard School. His teachers were former MET principal trumpeter and NBC Radio Symphony member Raymond Crisara, Raymond Mase of the American Brass Quintet and the NYC Ballet, and Mark Gould, former principal trumpeter of the MET Opera.