Jeffery Karlson, A Man On The Rise

By Ruth Augustin '15

Published On Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015


At ten years old, Jeffery Karlson ‘11 picked up his first trumpet and never looked back. Years later, Karlson began his quest for a college education and discovered Lynn’s Conservatory of Music, where he studied Music Performance. Jeffery was inspired to pursue music after the tragic death of a young man in the community where he grew up. After earning a memorial scholarship to attend Interlochen, a celebrated arts camp in Michigan. Jeffery said that, “It was at that camp that I first came upon musicians and artists that shared my enthusiasm and passion.  Since then I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by the world’s finest emerging artists. The united passion of those students and my mentors have continually inspired me to pursue the thing I love most. I am proud to consider myself a part of that legacy.”


While Jeffery benefited from the various opportunities that he was given to perform at Lynn, he was very active in his music career and credits Lynn for providing him with real world experience in his field. For Jeffery, studying at Lynn was challenging between practicing music and focusing on academics, but it was possible with his drive. “My schedule was extremely busy and highly intensive, musically speaking. There was a fine balance between music and academic courses, but the musical courses challenged me to excel,” said Karlson. After graduating from Lynn, Jeffery was accepted into the master’s program at Manhattan School of Music. He took full advantage of the inspiration that New York City held for artists. His weekends were spent at Lincoln Center enjoying the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera.


Currently, Jeffery has returned to his hometown, Ketchikan, Alaska. He credits the people of Alaska for his return. Because of their appreciation of music during their performances, it is an honor to perform for them. He is a volunteer musician for the First City Players, a local community theater. He is also the principal trumpet of the Juneau Symphony where he travels to Alaska’s capital every month to perform. Additionally, he has a private trumpet studio. “I enjoy sharing my passion with young talented trumpet players within my community,” he said. He also plays lead trumpet in a local pop band in Ketchikan. He is performing almost every weekend at either the theater, the local big band or with the Juneau Symphony. But, when Jeffery is not working on his musical profession, he is committed to numerous other projects. “I work as a laborer for a construction company in Ketchikan.  Our latest job was to build over 100 helipads in remote areas to provide maintenance access to a power line that is only accessible by helicopter.  I never thought in my time at music school I'd ever get the opportunity to ride in a helicopter!  I'm also on call as a load operator for a rock crushing facility.  He also went on to earn a master’s level captain’s license so that he could pursue another passion; the ocean. This upcoming summer, I look forward to being a tour boat captain, entertaining the nearly one million visitors we receive each year in Ketchikan,” said Karlson.


For those who are pursuing music, Jeff want’s to remind you, “Learn something else! Develop practical skills. Be a well-rounded person, not just a drone in the practice room every day. If you take the time to apply the same discipline you have in music to something else, you will be utterly surprised at what you are capable of doing. I have known people who would blow you away when they sit down and play their instrument, but scarcely know how to boil water. I truly wish them the best of luck in their musical career, but in a constantly shrinking professional world, I fear for the people who have no skills outside of music.”


As Jeffery said, “There is nothing more motivating than passion.”

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