John Sebastian Vera

John Sebastian Vera, a native of Texas, became the principal trombonist of the Pittsburgh Opera in 2010 and joined the River City Brass as principal trombone in 2015. He is a founder of the Third Coast Trombone Retreat and also professor of trombone at Duquesne University and faculty member at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he teaches a course on Music Entrepreneurship and Digital Media as well as coach chamber music.
In addition to the Pittsburgh Opera, Sebastian has played with the symphonies of Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Buffalo, Kennedy Center Opera House, Malaysian Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, Vermont, Harrisburg, Charleston, American Ballet Theatre, and Orquesta Sinaloa de las Artes in Mexico amongst others.
He began his studies with Jon Bohls in Texas and continued his education at Southern Methodist University where he studied with John Kitzman of the Dallas Symphony. He then spent a year studying with Ed Zadrozny as a graduate assistant at the University of Akron, and finished his graduate work in New York City at the Mannes College of Music studying with David Finlayson and James Markey of the New York Philharmonic.
In 2011, he spent the summer in Haiti volunteer teaching and performing in the Orchestre Philharmonique Sainte Trinite as well as the Ecole de Musique Dessaix Baptiste which became one of the more profound experiences of his life.
A dedicated chamber musician, he also was a founding member of the critically acclaimed Guidonian Hand Trombone Quartet in which he played from 2008–2014. With the quartet, Sebastian performed over 100 concerts and gave master classes all over the country. Heralded by the New York Times for their “expertly played performances” they have been recipients of numerous national grants which have enabled them to commission countless composers to create new and innovative works for four trombones. In 2014 was the premiere of River of Fundament, a movie by film artist Matthew Barney, in which Sebastian recorded for and acted in along with the quartet.
Sebastian can also be heard on the HBO documentary The Words that Built America as well as on euphonium in the PBS documentary Abraham and Mary Lincoln, A House Divided as well as many commercial and video game soundtracks as well as James Markey’s solo release, “On Base”.
Sebastian is an artist for THEIN Brass, has a signature JSV mouthpiece line he developed with Houghton Horns and resides in Pittsburgh. His favorite musicians include Sigur Ros, Radiohead, the Books, and Efterklang. When he can get away from the trombone he most enjoys basketball, traveling and reading about psychology, and social science. Check out his podcast he hosts with Nick Schwartz called the Trombone Retreat available everywhere you download your podcasts. Follow him on Instagram @js.vera.