Skip to main content
2024 Yamaha "40 Under 40" educator Dr. Jacquelyn Lankford

Dr. Jacquelyn Lankford

Assistant Professor of Trumpet
Mississippi State University
Starkville Mississippi

Promoting the role of women in music, and in particular trumpet composition and playing, is a huge driving force for Dr. Jacquelyn Lankford, Assistant Professor of Trumpet at Mississippi State University.

She created the Women Composing for Trumpet (WCFT) Competition to add to the list of “standard” trumpet repertoire composed by women. “While there are many incredible compositions by women for solo trumpet, the only one that is considered standard by the trumpet community is the ‘Pakhmutova,’ written in 1955. It was the goal of this competition to bring light to this matter, as well as give modern women composers the opportunity to contribute to this list of standards and be recognized for their accomplishments,” Lankford explains.

The competition announced two winners (Katie Jenkins and Madeline Lee) who were awarded $2,000 each, a recording of their work and a publishing deal with Murphy Music Press.

Another event that Lankford spearheaded was the Powerful Women in Music Concert Series, which was created to continue to initiate ways to change the fact that underrepresentation of women is prominent in the music world. “This is true when it comes to performance opportunities for individual women performers and groups, as well as an audience’s exposure and opportunities to attend events featuring these women,” she says.

To accomplish this, a concert series was created featuring women soloists and groups of women performers from various genres, backgrounds and ethnicities. Performers included Alexa Tarantino (Jazz at Lincoln Center) with the Jazz Band, Caeley Jackson (U.S. Navy Band) and Calypsus Brass (a professional women’s chamber ensemble that Lankford is a member of).

Lankford strives to inspire and motivate those often forgotten or neglected in the trumpet community — so last semester, she started the Trumpet Festival at Mississippi State. Trumpet players at the high school level and beyond were able to come together for this free experience where they could learn, perform and connect. She brought in three guest artists with different genre specializations: Jason Bergman from Indiana University, Pancho Romero from New Mexico State University and Josh Kauffman from U.S. Army Blues. Each provided a masterclass, private lessons and a concert at the end of the festival. “My goal with this event was to provide accessible, high-quality educational and performance opportunities for trumpet players who typically do not get to experience them because of their location or financial situation,” Lankford says.

At Mississippi State University, collaboration is not just something that happens between professors, the students are also inspired to collaborate often. “This includes everything from putting ensembles together for their recitals, dedicating themselves to a trumpet ensemble with a goal to compete at the National Trumpet Competition, meeting outside of any scheduled events to practice together, and even meeting to work on their audition music together,” Lankford says. “This behavior is evident in the trumpet studio, and I have seen it influencing other music students, as well as non-majors who want to be a part of this healthy and inspired culture.”