March 27, 2024

MSM Spotlight: Meet MSM senior jazz trumpet major Kellin Hanas!

Senior jazz trumpet major Kellin Hanas (BM ’24) shares highlights of her time at MSM, her after-graduation plans, and tells us about the MSM Jazz Orchestra concert Celebrating the Composers of Now taking place on April 6.


Hailed in the International Trumpet Guild Journal as “one of the best up and coming jazz musicians on the globe”, 22-year-old trumpeter, composer, and comedian Kellin Hanas of Wheaton, Illinois, is a jazz trumpet student at Manhattan School of Music, and the recipient of the Carmine Caruso Scholarship. She is currently studying under Ingrid Jensen and Scott Wendholt. When she’s not at school, Hanas spends her time touring with celebrities such as Emmy- and Golden Globe-award winning actor Darren Criss, Grammy award-winning vocal group The Manhattan Transfer, and fashion designer and actor Isaac Mizrahi. She is the leader of her own band, the Kellin Hanas Quintet, which debuted in the summer of 2022 at the iconic Birdland Jazz Club in NYC, and now is traveling around the US. Hanas adds a unique touch of comedy into her shows, and has amassed millions of views for her original comedic content, stories and characters.

Kellin Hanas (BM ‘24) photographed outside Manhattan School of Music by Anna Yatskevich.

Tell us about your time at MSM? What have been some highlights so far?

Kellin: I’ve had so many great moments at MSM over the past four years, the first of course being studying with my amazing teacher Ingrid Jensen. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be able to have her as a mentor. Not only is she a great teacher, but she is one of the best trumpet players of all time in my opinion. The other thing that has really made my experience at MSM memorable is being a Resident Assistant, and being a part of the Residence Life team. My fellow RAs and the ResLife staff have made my time here so incredibly warm and welcoming. I’ve always felt like I had a family here, and it was even more fulfilling for me to be an RA for freshman for the past three years and watch them grow into themselves over the years. I’m incredibly lucky to be involved at MSM the way that I am, and the way that I’ve grown as a person since getting here is really incredible. I’m very grateful!

You’ll be performing in the upcoming MSM Jazz Orchestra concert featuring works by jazz composition students! How does it feel to perform new pieces for the first time?

Kellin: The composition big band cycle is always a fun one because I get to hear all of the amazing ideas that are in my friends’ brains. It really inspires me and opens my mind up to more possibilities I can include in my own compositions! The best part is, most of these pieces have never been played before, so we can take a lot of personal liberties and make it our own. A total creative space!

Do you have any exciting summer plans?

Kellin: This summer I will be going back and forth between traveling, touring, and playing eight weeks of a show called BeeHive at the Marriott Theater in Chicago! It’s a six-piece all-girl band, and we even get to be on stage in costume. I’ve also advanced to the semi-finals for the Jazz Division of the International Trumpet Competition, so I’ll be competing in California for that in the beginning of June.

You have 158,000 followers on TikTok — has that impacted your artistic career at all?

Kellin: TikTok and Instagram have their issues, but personally they’ve changed my life. I started my Instagram account in high school, and it had blown up by the time I got to college, which really helped in terms of getting work. The best part about social media for me though is connecting and creating. I love that people feel like they can get to know me over the screen, and I also love making content. It feeds another part of my creative side that music doesn’t fully hit. I love video editing and coming up with video ideas, and it’s also an outlet for my comedy, which is something else I’ll be focusing on in the future! The fact that I’m able to connect with and reach so many people through it is very beautiful, and I want to use that to incite joy for others!

“I’m incredibly lucky to be involved at MSM the way that I am, and the way that I’ve grown as a person since getting here is really incredible. I’m very grateful!”

What are you currently listening to?

Kellin: Right now, I am OBSESSED with the Carpenters. I have a playlist on Spotify called “I have a Carpenters problem” and it’s literally 120 distinct recordings that they’ve made, and I know EVERY SINGLE ONE of the lyrics. Is it a hyper-fixation? Absolutely. I love listening to jazz but sometimes I need to listen to something that I don’t automatically try to analyze. I need a brain break sometimes!

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