Biography – Teaching Philosophy

David Fetter

David Fetter

b. 1938

David Fetter is a Conservatory Trombone faculty member at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Also a composer, arranger, and publisher, his career as trombonist included two years as Assistant Trombone in the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell and sixteen years, ten of them as Principal, in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Sergiu Comissiona and David Zinman. Guest conductors in Cleveland included Pierre Boulez, Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Istvan Kertesz, and Bernard Haitink. Mr. Fetter has also been a member of the San Antonio Symphony, The National Ballet Orchestra in Washington, D.C., the Radio/Telefis Eireann Symphony Orchestra in Dublin, Ireland, and the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” He has performed chamber music with the Theater Chamber Players of Washington, D.C. under Leon Fleisher and early music with Musica Rara in Baltimore, and he has been a soloist with the Eastman-Rochester Symphony Orchestra, the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and the U.S. Army Band.

Mr. Fetter holds a Bachelor of Music/Education degree with a Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied trombone with Emory Remington and was a member of the Eastman Wind Ensemble under Frederick Fennell. Also, he holds a Master’s in musicology from the American University in Washington, D.C. He has conducted contemporary music and brass ensembles. His works have been recorded by leading soloists and are performed at colleges and universities and festivals in the U.S. and Europe.

Mr. Fetter is conductor of the Ellicott City Trombone Choir, a volunteer ensemble in the Baltimore suburbs. Those interested in joining the ensemble should contact Tim Collins at timjcolli[at]

Teaching Philosophy

In his trombone teaching, David Fetter often emphasizes fundamentals, since he frequently finds that students are more advanced in technique, performance experience, reading, and repertoire, than in basics such as tone, articulation, rhythm, intonation, ease through the range of the instrument, and breath management. For fundamental warm-ups and exercises, Mr. Fetter relies on his own compilation, collected over years, which is centered on the basic warm-up routine of his principal teacher, Emory Remington. At the same time, Mr. Fetter often crafts new exercises to suit a student’s needs. The music assigned in lessons includes etudes, solo repertoire, and standard orchestral repertoire. Attention is also given to parts the student may be playing in large ensembles. Mr. Fetter encourages solo recital performance, chamber music performance, and searching out new repertoire. As an introduction to teaching, he often addresses trombone pedagogy as a student nears graduation.

Mr. Fetter’s former students have gained positions in the West German Radio Orchestra in Cologne, Germany, the San Francisco Symphony, and the U.S. Marine Band, and they teach in colleges and universities. Former Preparatory students have continued on to music schools and professional positions.

David Fetter’s primary trombone teacher was Emory Remington at the Eastman School of Music. Other study was with Lewis Van Haney, then Second Trombone in the New York Philharmonic and later a faculty member at Indiana University. Mr. Fetter studied in Hamburg, Germany in the 1960s with Horst Raasch, Principal Trombone of the North German Radio Orchestra. Other strong influences at that time were Robert Marstellar, Principal Trombone of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Edward Kleinhammer, Bass Trombone of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and Heinz Walter Thiele, Second Trombone of the Berlin Philharmonic.

At Eastman, Mr. Fetter studied conducting with Herman H. Genhart and composition with Thomas Canning. He has conducted the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Peabody Brass Ensemble, ResMusic America, and the brass ensemble of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. He founded and directed the Baltimore Trombone Choir, which was active in the late 1970s and often performed his arrangements. He edited new works composed for the Baltimore Trombone Choir in cooperation with composers Ross Lee Finney, Vladimir Ussachevsky, John Davison, and Theodore Morrison.