Senior Lecturer, jazz history and trumpet

Ray Vega grew up immersed in the heart of two vibrant New York City music scenes: Jazz and Salsa. In addition to learning about these two musical styles with some of the great legends, he received his formal training studying trumpet with Sidney Baker, Henry Nowak, Mike Lawrence, Stan Shafran, Richard Brezowski and Jerry Gonzalez. He studied Jazz harmony and improvisation with Susan Winder, Bobby Rogovin and Lonnie Hillyer. Vega studied Afro-Caribbean percussion with Luis Bauzo.

As an educator, Ray Vega has conducted master classes in trumpet performance, jazz improvisation, brass performance techniques and afro-caribbean jazz at many schools and organizations including, but not limited to: Manhattan School of Music, The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, The Music Advancement Program at the Julliard School, The New School in NYC, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, University of the Arts in Philadelphia, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Notre Dame University/Lebanon. He has also served as Artist in Residence for the Flynn Arts Latin Jazz here in Burlington (2003 through the present).

In 2015, the University of Vermont honored him with the distinguished title of University Scholar for 2015-2016. He was the first creative in the history of the university to receive this high honor.

"(Ray Vega's) creating a very, very valuable bridge from the classroom to the bandstand... That's the magic that Ray brings. He transcends academia and makes it real." — Todd Coolman, renowned bassist and jazz educator.

Groups accompanied: A native of the South Bronx, Ray Vega is a veteran of the bands of Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria, Mario Bauza, Luis "Perico" Ortiz, Hector LaVoe, Johnny Pacheco, Larry Harlow, Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez and Louie Ramirez to name a few. Ray has performed and/or recorded with Joe Henderson, Lionel Hampton, Mel Torme, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Israel Lopez "Cachao", The Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, The Lincoln Center Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Paul Simon, Yomo Toro, Eddie Palmieri, La Orquesta Sinfonica De Simon Bolivar, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Bebo Valdez, and Celia Cruz, among numerous others. Ray currently works with the renowned Comtemporary Classical composer Osvaldo Golijov, performing first and solo trumpet in the critically acclaimed work; "La Pasion Segun San Marco".

In the news:

Awards and Recognition

Ray Vega recorded with Tito Puente's Orchestra many times over including the three Grammy-winning albums "Mambo Birdland", "Dancemania '99" and "Obra Maestra".

Ray Vega

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Jazz combos, trumpet, jazz history


  • undergraduate studies at Long Island University


  • (802) 656-1927
Office Location:

Music Building A320


Courses Taught

MUL M - Applied Lessons, jazz trumpet

MUL V - Applied Lessons, trumpet

MU 005 - Intro to Jazz History

MU 159 - Introduction to Jazz Improvisation

MUE 101 C - Latin Jazz Ensemble

MUE 101 E - Nonet

MUE 201 A - Post Bop Ensemble