Jan Donner



Jan Donner grew up in the Bergisches Land region and began his musical education with the piano and the drums, as well as the euphonium. 
This was followed by his studies in trombone in Hannover and Berlin. 


In October 2022, Jan Donner was appointed as Professor of Trombone at the HfM Dresden.

From 2018 to 2022, he was a lecturer at the HMT Rostock. Since 2019, he has been teaching at the Bach-Gymnasium, a Berlin-based specialized school for highly gifted orchestral talents.

Jan has collaborated with numerous brass ensembles on a national level and taught at various masterclasses. 

Orchestral Career


From 2017 to 2023, Jan served as Principal Trombonist at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. He has also been a sought-after guest musician in renowned German and international orchestras, including the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Gürzenich Orchester Köln, Staatskapelle Berlin, Deutsches Sinfonieorchester Berlin, and Mahler Chamber Orchestra.


Ensemble Musician and Soloist


As a soloist, he has performed with ensembles such as the Polish Chamber Philharmonic, Bergische Symphoniker, and the Stabsmusikkorps der Bundeswehr Berlin. Jan was a founding member of 10forBrass and performed with the ensemble throughout Germany. 


Organ, Mediation and Mental Coaching, Music Physiology:


Jan's deep passion for church music led him to pursue a C-level training in organ playing at the Seminar der Kirche Berlin Brandenburg Schlesische Oberlausitz until 2017. He completed a mediation training at Fernuniversität Hagen until 2020 and obtained a certified mental coaching qualification at ILS Hamburg the following year. In 2022, Jan received a certificate in "Music Physiology" from UDK/HMTM Hannover.

Jan's Recordings


Check out his album "Meanwhile" (2021) available on Amazon or meanwhileCD@gmx.de.


Interview with Annette Zerpner:


Annette Zerpner: Jan, how did you become involved in music?


Jan Donner: Ultimately, I owe my existence to music: My parents aren't professional musicians, but they met in a brass choir. I started with piano lessons, but at some point, I was handed a euphonium with the fourth part's sheet music. "Why not give it a try?" they said. That's how I found myself in the brass scene of Lennep and its surroundings. It shaped me.


Annette Zerpner: Lennep is a small town in the Bergisches Land – is it still home for you?


Jan Donner: It's located right between Cologne and Düsseldorf. When I see a certain shade of green, I immediately know I'm home. Home, for me, is strongly linked to music: In communities like Lennep, it has a much stronger social aspect than in places like Berlin.

Diesen Aspekt vernachlässigen wir meiner Meinung nach in der Großstadt zu oft, wo Spitzenförderung stark im Vordergrund steht. Wir müssen uns aber fragen, wo die Leute herkommen sollen, die in 30 Jahren nicht im Orchester, sondern im Publikum sitzen. Das sind nämlich die „Breitensportler“ der Musik. Es reicht nicht, Kampagnen mit dem Titel „Klassik ist cool!“ oder ähnlich anzuschieben. Cool findet man klassische Musik vor allem, wenn man aktiv erlebt hat, wie sie das eigene Leben bereichert.


Annette Zerpner: You teach a lot, including amateur ensembles and youth groups.


Jan Donner: It brings me great joy to be able to impart something to young people at a crucial stage in their lives. When you don't see them for two or three weeks at ages 12 or 13, things have already changed. Experiencing this constant development, which is also reflected in their musical skills, gives me a lot in return and connects me to my own roots.


Annette Zerpner: You have a great passion for church music, especially works by Johann Sebastian Bach.


Jan Donner: This passion runs so deep that I pursued a C-level training to become an organist. Bach's organ works, his masses – everything by him has a brilliant structure, not in a flashy way, but in diverse forms that endlessly fascinate me.


Annette Zerpner: Which composer resonates with the trombonist in you?


Jan Donner: Richard Strauss. Aber ich finde mich auch in Beethovens Musik wieder, seiner Ernsthaftigkeit und einer Bereitschaft zum Kampf im positiven Sinne. Ich habe meine Ohren immer gern in unterschiedliche Richtungen geöffnet. Heute spiele ich verschiedene Mitglieder der Posaunenfamilie, also Alt-, Tenor- und Bassposaune, außerdem Basstrompete. Die Orgel begleitet mich seit langem. Und früher, vor allem zu Schulzeiten, habe ich auch Schlagzeug in einer Band oder Pop auf dem Klavier gespielt. Diese Freiheiten gehören für mich dazu.


Annette Zerpner: You've completed two additional training programs in mediation and mental coaching. What led you to that?


Jan Donner: As an orchestral musician, you spend a lot of life in a bubble where decades of excellence are the norm. This can potentially be challenging, and I want to approach it reflectively and with focus. Firstly, it's crucial for me not to lose touch with the "normal" world outside. We can't isolate ourselves while also wanting to tell stories through our music that touch our listeners. Equally important to me is maintaining a clear connection to why I started with music and chose it as a lifelong theme. There's a core that can easily get lost in the myriad distractions of our time if we don't consciously counteract it. Creativity comes from stillness, from a free mind. The mental coaching training, in particular, helps me on this path and enables me to pass on something that I consider essential.


What people say


"Was mich besonders fasziniert: dass Jan bei jedem sehr schnell eine individuelle Entwicklungs-möglichkeit erkennt und bei wirklich jedem innerhalb der 30-minütigen Einzelstunde eine für den Einzelnen und die Zuhörer deutlich erkennbare Verbesserung erreicht, indem er aus dem reichhaltigen Schatz seiner Methoden treffsicher jene auswählt, die individuell am besten passen und umgesetzt werden können."

Gisela Wook

Trompeterin, Workshopteilnehmerin


"Donner impresses with not only a fluid style but also with playing that ranges from strong to extremely delicate"

"Here, Donner continues to offer music making without distraction, resisting the urge to play impressively for the sake of being impressive. Seemingly always in service of the composition the sounds are meaningful and inspiring without the need for extended techniques or extreme ranges" 

Ilan Morgenstern 
Basstrombone Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (ITF Magazine)


"Having seen Jan develop from a young age, I have always been impressed by his focus and dedication. Now an established orchestral player and soloist of immense talent, he continues to inspire me by his mature and persuasive performances."

Chris Houlding

Prof Posaune & Blechbläserensemble
Folkwang Universität der Künste Essen
Visiting Tutor, Guildhall School of Music & Drama
Chairman of the International Trombone Association


Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig


Gewandhaus Leipzig


Posaune und Orgel


Konzert mit Thilo Ratai um 18 Uhr in ev. Kirche Remscheid Lennep


Workshop Jugend Musiziert Sachsen


HFM Dresden

Kurs für Studienieninterssierte


Thein Brass Bremen


1.BrassSpectrum Festival Dresden

5./6. April 2024
HFM Dresden

Masterclass Helsinki


Masterlass at Sibelius Academy Helsinki 

ITF Festival

Rezital im Rahmen des International Trombone Festival

Aufnahmeprüfungen HfM Dresden


Aufnahmeprüfungen HfM Dresden

Campus Konzert mit den Studierenden der Blechbläserklassen HfM Dresden



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