Connor's first instrument, the guitar has captivated him since the age of 7 when his father tried to teach him piano and Connor flat out refused for two weeks and demanded a guitar. He began studying with the great Chicago guitarist/pedagogue, Dan MacIntyre during his younger years and moving on to study with Fareed Haque at Northern Illinois University. Currently Connor plays guitar in the neobluegrass ensemble Android Mandela as well as his original groups.
Connor Bernhard is an in demand trumpeter in Chicago, Illinois where he plays every genre, from esoteric creative music, to simple and tight groove-based hits. He started playing at the age of 10 and was mainly self-taught until college when he studied trumpet with Art Davis and learned the roots and rhythm of blues and swing music from reknown jazz educator, Ronald Carter at Northern Illinois University. Later, he would study with Victor Garcia at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts where he received his Bachelor's in Music Performance in 2017. While finishing his degree, Connor auditioned numerous times to be selected as one of the 5 recipients of 2017 Luminarts Jazz Fellowship. He plays/has performed with groups such as Mike Zabrin's Funktastic, Infrared, Hush Train, The New Lionel Hampton Band Feat. Jason Marsalis, The Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Eryn Allen Kane, Sir the Baptist, Anthony Pavel, Zoofunkyou, The Right Now, Cameron Phifner's Marco Polo, Neil Carson's New Nostalgia, and many others in addition to his own ensemble.
"My creative mission is to combine the beautiful and complicated harmonies of learned music with the more accessible sounds and feel of vernacular dance music."
Connor writes everything from his original jazz compositions (featured below) to folky songs with lyrics that he creates and sings. He is a main creative force in most ensembles that he is a member of and is always looking for new projects to sink his teeth into!
Be on the look out for a mixtape coming out in late 2018!!
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An exerpt of the Connor Bernhard Quartet playing his original composition, "Jackalope"
A taste of the past and some peeks into the future. The real stuff will be released soon...