Robert Sears enjoys an active career balancing his love of teaching and performing as both a classical and jazz musician. He is the second trumpet in the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, member of the Afro-Caribbean Jazz Collective and regularly plays with Sycamore Brass, his own jazz quintet, and Transit Brass. Robert is the artistic director and a founding member of Transit Brass. Transit Brass is a brass octet that focuses on writing and performing original music in both classical and jazz genres. Transit Brass is as equipped to play in a concert hall as it is to play in a jazz club. In 2018 Transit Brass released its debut album Soundscapes.
As a performer Robert has played with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Heartland Festival Orchestra, Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia da Camera Chamber Orchestra, Urbana Pops Orchestra and Iron Post Jazz Orchestra. He has been a soloist with Millikin University's Wind Ensemble (2019), Illinois Wesleyan University’s Wind Ensemble (2018), the University of Illinois Summer Band (2017 and 2016), and Brigham Young University-Idaho’s Symphony Band at the 2014 CBDNA conference in Reno, Nevada with the BYU-Idaho Faculty Brass Quintet. Robert was a member of the BYU-Idaho Faculty Brass Quintet from 2013-2014. Robert has also performed alongside jazz artists Chip Stephens, Glenn Wilson, Jeff Halsey, Jim Pugh, John Clayton, Ernie Watts and Doc Severinsen. In 2018 he was a featured soloist and clinician at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Jazz Festival, and in the summer 2019 Robert arranged and recorded the horn section parts for gospel, R&B and soul artist Julius Adams. Robert has also recorded with the Afro Caribbean Jazz Collective (NEW CD RELEASED in September 2019) and Indy rock, soul guitarist and vocalist Dan Hubbard on his latest CD Attention released May 2019. Robert can also be heard on the CD Astral Canticle released April 2015 under Nimbus Records with the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra as co-principal and section trumpet.
Photo by Amber Hunter
Robert is an Adjunct Professor of Music at three universities: Millikin University, Illinois Wesleyan University and Illinois State University. At Millikin University he oversees the trumpet studio, directs Jazz Band II, co-directs the jazz combos with Professor Chris Nolte, coaches a brass quintet, and teaches classes in music theory and ear training. At Illinois Wesleyan University he oversee the trumpet studio and at Illinois State University he aids Dr. Anne McNamara in applied trumpet instruction.
In addition to performing and teaching, Robert is an avid composer and arranger, having studied jazz composition and arranging with Chip McNeill, former musical director for both Maynard Ferguson and Arturo Sandoval’s bands. Some of Robert's music can be purchased through his e-music publishing company Soundscape Music Press.
Robert holds a B.M. in Music Education from Brigham Young University-Idaho, a M.M. in Trumpet Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently ABD (very near completion) of a D.M.A. in Jazz Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His primary trumpet instructors include Tito Carrillo, Charles Daval, Ronald Romm, Dr. Ryan Nielsen, Dr. K. Newell Dayley and David Evans.