Victor Haskins is a visionary, world-class trumpet and electronic wind instrument (EWI) player, improviser, composer/arranger, bandleader, interdisciplinary collaborator, and educator. As an artist, Victor seeks to be an advocate for, and a practitioner of, passionate and creative thought, activity, and existence, especially through (but certainly not limited to) situations involving, or based upon, the art of improvisation in its many forms.
Victor brings a one-of-a-kind spirit and perspective to all that he does. His worldly, empathetic, culturally astute approach to living is a result of growing up in a variety of diverse settings in Asia and Africa and traveling extensively (which continues through the present day). Through music, Haskins is able to synthesize his thoughts and experiences into audible emotions and sonic stories to connect with audiences.
Victor’s present main performing projects are Victor Haskins & Moving Sound Pictures and Victor Haskins’ Skein.
Victor Haskins & Moving Sound Pictures is a “one-man-band" project where Victor Haskins creates live-produced, extemporaneous music. Moving Sound Pictures utilizes EWI, synths, live sampling, cornet, voice, and virtuosic improvisation to transcend genre in order to present a very unique and wondrous experience of live orchestration and music production in real-time, seamlessly crafting interactive parts as though a full, shifting cast of live musicians were spontaneously composing together in real-time. Sometimes, dancers join Victor on stage, and they improvise conversationally across mediums in real time (kinetic improvisation vs. auditory improvisation).
A skein is defined as both 1) a tangle of threads (as in a skein of yarn), and 2) the V-formation in which swans fly where the “leader" of the formation changes as they travel. In Victor Haskins’ Skein, Victor is joined by a live bassist and drummer to explore the possibilities of collective improvisation through the forum of compositions and arrangements he has crafted for the ensemble, delighting and intriguing audiences with intense auditory interplay, effectively exhibiting both definitions of a “skein" (metaphorically)—the concept behind the ensemble’s inner workings.
In addition to being a consummate performer, Victor is an innovator— specifically in the area of improvisation. He is the originator of ImproviStory, a genre/concept of music where storytelling drives the creation of improvised music, all derived from audience suggestion and interaction. Because of the nature of its truly universal appeal to the human experience and imagination, ImproviStory is more than a medium for entertaining an audience—it is equally suited to educate. This performance medium heavily utilizes Victor’s brainchild concept called Melodic Improvisation. In practicing Melodic Improvisation, the careful treatment and manipulation of the melody of a piece of music is used as the basis for improvisation.
Some notable highlights from Mr. Haskins’ performance career thus far the release of his debut album of all original compositions-- "The Truth"--on 32 Bar Records in 2013, as well as appearances at a variety of stages and festivals around the world. Victor has been featured at the Richmond Jazz Festival (2013-2015), Richmond’s 2nd Street Festival (2011, 2016), the Elkhart Jazz Festival (2014), the Apex Jazz Festival (2014), and the Festival of New Trumpet Music (2014). He has performed in venues such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Millennium Stage, the W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts (Richmond, VA), the Jazz Gallery (NYC), iBeam (NYC), Résonance Café (Montreal), Diese Onze (Montreal), Snug Harbor (New Orleans, LA), Ewell Hall (Williamsburg, VA), the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa), and others. In addition, some of Victor's activities are supported by grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.
A list of artists with whom Victor has either performed or recorded includes (but is not limited to) Clarence Penn, Craig Handy, Delfaeyo Marsalis, Jason Moran, Jason Mraz, Keb Mo’, Kd Lang, Larry Willis, Lonnie Liston-Smith, Marc Cary, Phil Wiggins, Plunky Branch, René Marie, Robbin Thompson, and Steve Wilson, and the Temptations.
As an educator, Victor stays very active and engaged on various levels. Haskins currently serves as the Director of Jazz Outreach for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (since 2014), Professor of Jazz Trumpet at the College of William & Mary (since 2016), and the Director of the Jazz Ensemble at the College of William & Mary (since 2018). In his role as Director of the Kennedy Center’s Jazz Outreach program, Victor leads his ensemble in exposing elementary schools in the Washington Metropolitan Area to the traditions of Black American music through an interactive performance/demonstration. Previously, in 2015, Victor was the lead teacher for an ImproviStory class for the LiveArt outreach program administered by the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (SPARC), and prior to that, he served on the faculty of the inaugural Izmir International Jazz Camp (2012).
Independent of these organizations, Victor has administered masterclasses and clinics on a variety of music-related topics, ranging from ImproviStory, to improvisation, and beyond. A partial list of institutions where Victor has presented his knowledge includes the University of Richmond, the Jazz Education Network Conference (2015), the Royal Academy of Music, Virginia Commonwealth University, TEDxLizardCreek (2014), TEDxVCU (2014), the Collegiate School, Mountain View High School, Yasar University, the University of Georgia, George Washington Middle School, and J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School.
Victor holds a Jazz Studies/Performance degree from Virginia Commonwealth University where he completed the 4-year music program in only 3 years (the first and only person to ever accomplish this feat).
Victor is proud to be sponsored by Eclipse Trumpets, and Denis Wick mouthpieces. As a Denis Wick Artist, Victor plays exclusively on Denis Wick trumpet, cornet, and flugelhorn mouthpieces. Victor also plays a handcrafted, custom cornet from Eclipse Trumpets.