ArtsForce Asks: Musician & Composer Tony Glausi

September 06 2020

by Katie McLaughlin 

Hello CFA students!

Over the summer, I began thinking about ways to prepare for my future career while I’m in college. I reached out to Tony Glausi to learn more about becoming a freelance musician. I wanted to know what it takes to bridge the gap between art school and “making it” as an artist. I admired Tony because of his vast creative output as a twenty-something public college graduate.

Tony is a professional trumpet player, keyboardist, composer, producer, and teacher living in New York City. He completed his undergraduate and master's studies at the University of Oregon and has since won multiple international trumpet competitions and released over seven records.

I began by asking Tony what qualities are required to succeed in his line of work. While technical acumen is needed, Tony emphasized that young artists must “know what [they] want” and “know how to work with people.” In other words, if you want to be a performer, perform as much as you can. If you want to be a film set designer, get involved with productions as much as you can. If you want to become a stage manager, do that as much as you can.

Tony asserted that art school is a good source of technical training, but it alone will not deliver career options. The young artist must “be in the room” with employers as much as possible. Whether that means performing at the right venues or attending the right gallery shows, making deep connections starts by showing up prepared to impress. Tony also said he views his networking process as a “search for meaningful friendships” rather than a calculated game. I used to visualize “networking” as a terrifying version of speed-dating at work or school. Now, I see that it’s merely an ongoing journey of helping the people you admire and learning from them in turn.

Marketing yourself professionally is one of those tenets of “adulting” that actually pays. It usually leads to better career opportunities, financially and artistically. So how to do this? More than anything else, Tony suggests, be yourself as thoroughly as you can, especially on the internet. At the same time, however, consider your audience; think about what the fans or patrons would want. In terms of personal branding and attention, Tony says, “you attract what you put out.” This means that cultivating a specific aesthetic will bring in a specific audience; tailor that to what feels right for you and your art. 

As a senior trying to get connected to the local industry, I wanted to know what Tony did in college to better prepare for the “real world.” His response drove home his earlier sentiments. He said that winning the National Trumpet Competition got his name out in the industry. Tony wished he was more comfortable with this early attention so that he could confidently market himself earlier. He also wished that he practiced more. (Always the advice of musicians: practice practice practice!)

“Go above and beyond what your classes require of you. There are no hacks.” -Tony Glausi 

In a podcast with Outside In Music, Tony described the artistic intentions behind his latest EP, "Sabor a Mi." The four songs tell the true story of an amicable end to a relationship. “It’s important to me that each endeavor of mine is very personal,” Tony said. He also mentioned that he prefers to present his art in ways that are accessible to wide audiences, even if that means removing some levels of complexity. As a freelancer, Tony reaches a larger audience by creating music videos and posting on social media frequently.

From Tony, I learned that his biggest freedom with his career choice is also its biggest challenge. There’s no boss, no set path, and no right or wrong way to make a career for yourself. Sometimes for artists, there will be moments of putting in a lot of hard work and getting nothing out of it. Still, when talented individuals consistently work hard to create art and connect with art lovers, there’s no telling where their careers will go. 

You can follow Tony on Instagram or FaceBook, and listen to his music on SpotifyApple MusicSoundcloud, or Youtube.


ArtsForce Takeaways: 

  • Get involved with your art industry as much as possible - you’ll hone your skills while making important connections.

  • Be ready to work hard and be vulnerable for your creations. 

  • Present yourself authentically, in your art and in communicating with others.


*Author Katie McLaughlin is an ArtsForce Emerging Leaders Intern and an instrumental music education major in the U School of Music.