Cory Mixdorf
Trombone Professor - The University of Arkansas

Dr. Cory Mixdorf is thrilled to be a part of the distinguished faculty at the University of Arkansas. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Northern Iowa as well as Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees in trombone performance from Indiana University.


While maintaining a strong studio, Dr. Mixdorf sustains a regular schedule as a guest artist and clinician on the national and international levels. In addition to frequent solo recital tours, his most recent endeavors include: presenting at the 2016 International Trombone Festival at The Juilliard School, performing at the 2015 American Trombone Workshop, touring Germany and recording a CD with the brass ensemble, Eurobrass and traveling to the Universidade de Brasilia where he was invited to solo with the Trombones Sociedade Anônima and give a master class to the University's trombone students. Dr. Mixdorf was also fortunate to have been selected as a fellow in the 2011 Alessi Seminar in Tuscaloosa, AL.


Outside of his collegiate duties, Dr. Mixdorf enjoys performing with several area ensembles. He is the current Principal Trombonist of the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra. Before coming to Arkansas, he served as the Acting Second Trombonist with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and has also performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra Augusta, the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra and the Georgia Brass Band, a group with which he recorded the album, A Christmas Festival.

While attending Indiana University, he held the positions of Principal and Second Trombone in the Columbus, IN Philharmonic from 2006-2009. Other orchestral experience includes performances with the New World Symphony in Miami, FL, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Richmond Symphony Orchestra and Evansville Philharmonic. He has appeared as a soloist with the Indiana University Symphonic Band where he performed Richard Peaslee's Arrows of Time. Dr. Mixdorf has also toured with the Mr. Jack Daniel's Silver Cornet Band.


Before his appointment at the University of Arkansas, Dr. Mixdorf served as Assistant Professor of Trombone at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA, adjunct instructor of brass at Vincennes University, associate instructor at Indiana University, and adjunct instructor of trombone at St. Ambrose University.


His principal teachers include Peter Ellefson, M. Dee Stewart, Nancy Vogt, D. Paul Pollard, Bruce Tychinski, and Brad Edwards. Dr. Mixdorf is a Conn-Selmer Performing Artist.


Jim Nova
Trombone - Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

In the Fall of 2009, James Nova joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as its Second/Utility Trombone. Before joining the PSO, Jim served 8 seasons as the Assistant Principal/Second Trombonist of the Utah Symphony Orchestra.

Jim began playing the trombone at age nine in his home state of Connecticut. As a child he received his early musical exposure and training from his father, Anesti Nova. During high school, Jim studied with his first private trombone teacher, Assistant Principal/Second Trombonist of the Hartford Symphony George Sanders.

After graduating high school Jim attended the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He received his Bachelor’s Degree there studying with the Philadelphia Orchestra’s then Principal Trombonist Glenn Dodson. Jim then moved to Boston to pursue a Master’s Degree on a full scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music, studying with then Boston Symphony Orchestra trombonist, Norman Bolter. In addition to his college education, James attended the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan and was also a member of the Tanglewood Music Center Fellowship Orchestra for three summers. After finishing his Masters degree, he freelanced in Boston for several years, substituting on a regular basis with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops Orchestra, making several recordings and television broadcasts with both groups as both principal and second trombone. In 2001, Jim moved to Salt Lake City to join the Utah Symphony Orchestra.

From 2003 to 2007 he enjoyed playing at the Grand Teton Music Festival and recently played and taught at the Brevard Music Center in the summer of 2013. He is also the former second trombonist of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra in Orange County, California, former principal of the Rhode Island Philharmonic, former principal of the Vermont Symphony, and former assistant principal of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.

Jim’s solo recording “Albanian Rhapsody” is a debut in both performance and composition for the father and son team, composer Anesti Nova and trombonist James Nova. All but one piece in this world premiere collection of compositions is for solo trombone and either string or chamber orchestra. The music is ethnically charged, deriving much influence and flavor from Jim and Anesti’s strong Albanian background. It is at times tragic, languid and yet uplifting as it chronicles (with the trombone as storyteller) the journey of the Nova family through hardships and eventual triumph over adversity. 

In March of 2012, Jim made his solo debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, performing the Henri Tomasi Trombone concerto as well as his own arrangement of the famous Tommy Dorsey jazz ballad, “I’m Getting’ Sentimental Over You” which is the material Tomasi based his trombone concerto on.Since 2012, Jim has found a new passion using recording technology to explore multitrack recording, also known as "overdubbing" and created numerous stunning recordings of challenging new arrangements he's done of a variety of exciting repertoire for trombone choir. These employ a number of trombones: contra bass, bass, tenor, small tenor, alto and even soprano trombones! To hear these, got to www.

Visit Jim’s website,, or soundcloud site, www., for more info.

Jim is an SE Shires Artist and performs on Greg Black Mouthpieces.

Greg Waits
Jazz Trombonist/Composer

Greg Waits has had a remarkable and impressive career, having played in a wide variety of genres.

He has played with countless artists, including Dave Douglas, Kenny Wheeler, Joe Williams, Al Grey, Red Garland, Benny Goodman, Harry Connick, Jr., et al. He toured with the Woody Herman Band as lead and solo trombonist. In addition, he performed on 5 cross country big band tours with Columbia Artists International, and was employed by the cruise ship orchestras of the S.S. Norway and the S.S. Constitution. Greg is a veteran of the US Army’s Jazz Knights big band of West Point N.Y.  (1981- ’84).


Greg has lived in Europe where he toured and recorded with a number of bands, including his own. While overseas, he continued his connection with  jazz trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, the acknowledged master of technique multi-phonics. Albert cited Greg as the one trombone player on the scene today who not only understands what it is that he is doing, but is carrying on the tradition. In 1999, Greg released his debut CD. He is joined by jazz artists Dave Liebman, Ed Soph, John Adams and Dan Haerle, et al. His CD was selected as one of Cadence Magazine’s “Critic’s Choice” CDs for that year. Greg earned Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Jazz Studies from the U. of North Texas, and authored the popular trombone text “Advanced Flexibility Studies for the  Jazz Trombonist”. Locally, Greg can be heard leading his own quintet, as well as playing with other bands. In addition, he leads his own dance bands. He also teaches a select number  of private jazz trombone and composition students in the area.


Greg plays Conn trombones exclusively.


Vanessa Fralick
Associate Principal Trombone - Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Vanessa Fralick joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as Associate Principal Trombone in 2013. Prior to her current position, Ms. Fralick played three seasons as Acting Associate Principal Trombone of the St. Louis Symphony. She won her first orchestral position with the San Antonio Symphony in 2009, while pursuing her Master’s degree at The Juilliard School with Joseph Alessi of the New York Philharmonic. Ms. Fralick completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, studying with Jeffrey Hall and Gordon Wolfe, and at McGill University with James Box. She has performed with major orchestras in Montreal, Malaysia, Utah, and Jacksonville, and with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops orchestras. She played two summers in the prestigious Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland, and has attended the Tanglewood Music Center as well as the 2012 Alessi Trombone Seminar in Italy.

As a soloist, Vanessa Fralick has won first prize in several major competitions, including the 2012 Elora Festival Competition, 2011 OSM Standard Life Competition, and 2010 Susan Slaughter International Solo Brass Competition, where she also performed as a guest artist at the International Women’s Brass Conference. In 2009, she won concerto competitions at Juilliard and at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, winning the chance to perform the Grondahl Trombone Concerto in concert with both orchestras. Ms. Fralick is an alumna of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra, and the National Academy Orchestra of Canada. She occasionally plays alongside her brass-playing parents in the Niagara Symphony Orchestra in her hometown of St. Catharines, ON.

Rai Morales
Trombone Professor - Texas A & M University - Corpus Christi

Rai Morales is the Associate Professor of Trombone at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He currently serves as the Music Director for the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Islander Trombone Choir and Mariachi de la Isla. 

Dr. Morales received his Bachelor of Music Degrees in Music Education and Trombone Performance from Texas A&M University-Kingsville as well as his Masters of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts Degrees in Trombone Performance from the University of Texas at Austin.  His Primary teachers include Ralph Morales, Hector Navarro, Victor Gunnoe, Dr. Paul Hageman, and Dr. Nathaniel Brickens.

As a solo musician, Dr. Morales has won or placed in several prestigious solo trombone competitions including the International Trombone Association Frank Smith Competition, The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Eastern Trombone Workshop, The Kingsville Young Performers Competition, and The Texas Tech University Big XII Solo Trombone Competition. 


As an active solo performer, chamber performer, and clinician.  He has recently performed and taught at various locations throughout the United States, including The University of Iowa, The University of North Texas, Texas Tech University, Texas State University, Huston-Tillotson University, Florida State University, The University of Florida, and Valdosta State University.

Dr. Morales’ Islander Trombone Choir has performed at the Texas Tech University Big XII Trombone Conference, The Texas State University  Trombone Symposium, the U.S. Army Band “Perishing’s Own” American Trombone Workshop, and has presented a clinic performance at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention.

Dr. Rai Morales is a Michael Rath Trombone Artist and Clinician. 

When he is not teaching or performing, he enjoys spending his time with his wife Rosie and his two children, Katie and Rai.

Kenneth Thompkins
Principal Trombone - Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Kenneth Thompkins was appointed Principal Trombone of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra by Neeme Järvi. Prior to this appointment, he held positions in the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Florida Orchestra and performed with the New World Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. A former participant in the Detroit Symphony’s African American Fellowship Program, he has been a mentor to several Orchestra Fellows over the years.


Thompkins has been invited to perform and conduct master classes at many music schools, including the Curtis Institute of Music, Mannes College, the University of Michigan, and Interlochen Arts Academy. An active chamber musician, Thompkins performs frequently in recital and is a member of Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings. Thompkins has performed concertos with both the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and New World Symphony.


Thompkins has toured Europe with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and has also performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He can be heard on recordings by Detroit Chamber Winds, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He has also contributed a chapter to The Brass Player’s Cookbook: Creative Recipes for a Successful Performance.


A native of Severna Park, Maryland Thompkins received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and Master of Music degree from Temple University. His principal teachers include Frank Crisafulli and Eric Carlson. Kenneth Thompkins is an S.E. Shires Trombone artist.