Meet Eric Schweingruber of Timberdale Brass

An Interview with Eric Schweingruber

Eric Schweingruber is a native of Mount Gretna and a talented trumpeter. On Sunday, June 16, he will be back in town with his brass quintet, Timberdale Brass, for a performance at Gretna Music. In anticipation of their visit, we got the chance to ask Eric some questions about his time with The Philadelphia Orchestra, his experiences in Gretna, and his successful covid experiment. Read the full interview below and be sure to reserve your tickets for Timberdale Brass today!

How did you become interested in music and performing? Is there a reason you chose to play the trumpet specifically?

I grew up with musicians and musically inclined individuals on both sides of my family. My paternal grandmother was a piano teacher and church organist, and various people on my mother’s side were music teachers or music therapists. Even as a child I enjoyed hearing live music. As for picking the trumpet, there was a family instrument that had been my father’s and several of his siblings’. It made the decision of what instrument to try a simple one, and it stuck!

Schweingruber (right) performing outside Philadelphia City Hall, March 2021. Photo credit: Kenneth Hutchins.

How did you come about forming Timberdale Brass? Can you tell us a little bit about the group?

Timberdale Brass was a Covid experiment that really worked. In late 2020 I had access to some grant funding through the musician’s union that covered the cost of performing concerts in-person, if someplace was willing to host some live music. I found a location that was game, a mall in Center City Philadelphia; there was the needed space for us to be distanced from each other, and plenty of room for an audience to hear us at a distance. I called up some friends and colleagues; we all knew each other, and in some cases had played together in various groups for nearly thirty years, but never in the exact configuration we were in. Something about it just really clicked. We were having fun, playing for each other. At the end of five months we had played about thirty-five concerts together, and we haven’t looked back!

Timberdale Brass, 2024. Photo credit: Kyle Cassidy.

You’ve completed over 600 performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra, could you share a little bit about your time with the orchestra and what performing means to you?

My playing with The Philadelphia Orchestra has been an honor and a truly special experience. I’ve been lucky enough to play with some of the world’s most talented soloists and conductors, with one of the best orchestras on the planet. And as a part of their international touring, I’ve been to many cities and countries I would have never seen otherwise. The collection of musicianship on that stage is astonishing, and being an occasional part of that has given me overflowing satisfaction.

Schweingruber performing on European Tour, 2022. Photo credit: Todd Rosenberg.

I read that you serve as the Director of Instrumental Operations and an adjunct faculty member at Boyer College of Music & Dance at Temple University. What’s your favorite part of teaching and working at the college?

By far it is seeing the students flourish, and hearing their musicianship grow. College is an important time in their lives, where they can take the time to grow their talent. Just as importantly it is a time when they start to more fully discover who they are as people.

Schweingruber representing Temple University at a Career Fair presented by Project440. Photo credit: Kenneth Hutchins.

You’ll be performing in Mount Gretna on June 16. What is it like to be performing back in Gretna?

I have many, many wonderful memories of Mount Gretna. Not only did I hear many excellent concerts presented by Music at Gretna (as it was known then), Gretna was also home to my maternal grandparents, and my parents live right outside Mount Gretna to this day. Many a Sunday were spent at their home in the Heights, and other stand-out memories include attending the Art Show, where my grandfather was an original exhibitor and my niece now shows her pottery. Being able to create for others the same experiences and memories I had growing up is something unexpected and wonderful.

Timberdale Brass performing at Fashion District Philadelphia, early 2021. Photo credit: Kenneth Hutchins.

As a native of the Lebanon Valley, do you have a favorite place or memory from the area?

I admittedly was absorbed with practicing and performing, even in middle school and high school, so I didn’t get nearly the socializing in my peers did. But I would have to say Hershey Park. Even though I’m not that adventurous when it comes to rides, I always enjoyed the time spent there. Even the two summers I worked there!

Timberdale Brass photographed by Kyle Cassidy, 2024.

Here in the Lebanon Valley, we’re honoring 2024 as the Year of the Arts. Could you share a little bit about how music and the arts impact you?

Music is part of my lifeblood. I can’t imagine a life without it, and it is truly a global language. I’ve seen it in person as I’ve performed around the world, in far off countries and nearby communities. You don’t need to understand a word of someone’s native language to bring a smile to their face by performing something they enjoy. The arts in general make us whole as human beings. Artistic expression, whether experienced by the artist or attending public, is a necessary component of our humanity.

Timberdale Brass, 2024. Photo credit: Kyle Cassidy.

Listen to Timberdale Brass Live at Gretna Music this Summer!

After a crowd favorite show last summer, Timberdale Brass will be returning to the Playhouse stage on June 16 as a part of Gretna Music’s 2024 season! Gretna Music brings world class musicians to the beautiful Mount Gretna Playhouse on summer evenings to perform chamber music, as well as jazz, folk, world music, choral, and dance. Children are also welcomed with big ticket discounts and some special daytime programs created especially for them. There are also various ticket discounts for teens, young adults, military, music teachers, and more. Check out the full lineup for Gretna Music’s 2024 season at

Keep up with Timberdale Brass by following their Facebook page here!

Check out our Year of the Arts feature from last month here!


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