Tawnee Lynn Lillo discovered her passion for playing the horn in the 8th grade and has been living her dream as a versatile professional horn player. Ms. Lillo grew up and started playing horn in Hemet, California and her mom traveled back and forth to Los Angeles so she could be a part of the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association. She then began her college training at The University of Arizona and received a Bachelor's Degree in Horn Performance. She relocated to Los Angeles to continue her education and earned her Master’s Degree at The University of Southern California. Ms. Lillo feels to have been extremely fortunate to have studied with some legendary horn players in Los Angeles including Richard Todd, Vincent DeRosa and James Decker. Other influential teachers in her life include Ken Biskie, Keith Johnson and Kristy Morrell. As a versatile player, she plays with several ensembles in many different styles throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
Ms. Lillo’s career has brought her great opportunities to record in studios. She can be heard on television shows and motion pictures such as Family Guy, American Dad, Cleveland, Fringe, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, John Carter, Star Trek Into Darkness and the new Star Wars: Rogue One. She has also played and/or recorded with several bands and artists including Portugal. The Man, Gungor, Randy Newman, Jeff Beck, Chuck Negron, Yo Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin, Sean Combs, Kanye West, Rihanna, Mannheim Steamroller, Stars of Track and Field, Holmes, The Jicks and others.
As a classical artist, she has played with the San Diego Symphony and was principal horn with Center Stage Opera (as well as their previous orchestra manager). She has also played with the Long Beach Opera, Orchestra Novo, San Luis Obispo Symphony, Bakersfield Symphony, and the Culver City Chamber Orchestra. The skills she acquired afforded her the opportunity to put together some incredibly talented musicians for a PBS special that introduced an exciting young tenor, Nathan Pacheco!
In the jazz world, she thoroughly enjoys being a part of The Ron Jones Influence Orchestra (past composer for Family Guy). You can hear her on Ron Blake's new Assimilation album, and has had the honor of playing with artists such as Frank Sinatra Jr., Gene Cipriano, Amel Richards, the late Keith Emerson, Abraham Laboriel, and Bonnie Raitt among others. She also plays regularly with the rock/jazz fusion ensemble, The Orchestra Surreal.
Ms. Lillo has been offered many wonderful opportunities to perform a variety of musical theater as well including The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Phantom of the Opera, and several productions of Sweeney Todd! Getting the opportunity to play Wizard of Oz and ET this past New Years Eve live to the movies with Orchestra Novo was a childhood dream come true!
In every artist there is adventure and she has traveled her fair share with her horn over the years. Portugal. The Man had Ms. Lillo traveling with them recently. She was a soloist in the Tony Award-winning show Blast! and toured across Northern America with the show Shockwave. She has also toured with a rock n’ roll show Flashback, joined the Boston Brass on tour. In May of 2011, she toured the world with Josh Groban’s “Straight to you Tour” throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.
Currently, Tawnee is teaching as the adjunct professor at both Fullerton College and El Camino, as well as stating after school music programs at Limai Academy for K-12. Most recently, Tawnee traveled with Dreamcatcher-Events, and plays her horn wherever it will take her. She is educating herself of the ins and outs of the the union and working ways to better pay and protect musicians. Personally you ask, the photograph in the middle says it all...