Spending the summer playing music is nothing new to Anthony Limoncelli.
The New Hyde Park native attended the Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts in Wheatley Heights from fourth grade through his last year in high school. But for the past two years, he has gone to a more elite retreat in Massachusetts to hone his craft: the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, a small town in the Berkshires.
Limoncelli, 24, is currently the principal trumpet player for the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra. He said Tanglewood, an intensive summer academy run by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, could propel him toward his musical dreams.
“There was always talk about being the elite — you wanted to go there during the summer because you’d be around the best,” Limoncelli said.
Founded in 1940, the Tanglewood Music Center allows the nation’s top up-and-coming musicians to train with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for eight weeks.
The program is highly competitive — about 1,500 people audition for about 100 spots each summer, according to the center. Those Tanglewood fellows spend each day in classes and playing or attending concerts, with only three days off, Limoncelli said.
Limoncelli took part in elite programs as a high schooler, such as the New York State Summer School of the Arts and the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, which plays at Carnegie Hall. The challenges they provided helped him learn more about his instrument, which is tough but versatile, he said.
“It makes you discover a lot about yourself and your tolerance in a lot of regards, and how you deal with setbacks, and also how you deal with successes,” Limoncelli said.
Limoncelli said he hopes to eventually play in a major symphony orchestra such as the New York Philharmonic. His work at Tanglewood could help him get there, but a trumpet chair might not open up for another five or 10 years, he said.
Limoncelli started playing trumpet at age 9 and developed his skills at New Hyde Park Memorial High School, from which he graduated in 2010. He went on to get a bachelor’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music in 2014 and a master’s degree from the Juilliard School this year.
Limoncelli’s father, Stephen, was an amateur trombone player and a mechanic who liked to tinker with stereo equipment, he said. His band directors at New Hyde Park Memorial nurtured the love for music that they knew he had at a young age, he said.
Limoncelli’s sister, Angela, now 29, also played a big role in developing that love, he said. She was the first in the family to ask for a piano, and even attended Tanglewood in 2012, when Anthony was a sophomore in college.
“She gives perspective but also she’s not jaded in the sense where she’s not discouraging me,” Limoncelli said. “… It’s easy to be jaded because it seems like there aren’t a lot of opportunities, but if you keep working hard then you make your own opportunities.”
While the siblings’ age difference meant they didn’t perform together much, they practiced around each other a lot and could see how hard each other worked, Angela Limoncelli, who now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said.
Angela stopped playing music professionally in 2015, but there “was never a doubt in my mind” that her brother would get into Tanglewood and go far as a musician, she said.
“[I]t’s really a testament to his hard work apart from anything I could say or do,” said Angela, who received an MBA from Boston College this year and now works in marketing.
Limoncelli has a broad taste in music, he said. He enjoys playing baroque pieces and brass-heavy works by composers like Richard Wagner and Gustav Mahler, but he also listens to artists in nearly every genre. One of his favorite new albums is the rapper Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.”
Limoncelli said he would encourage young musicians to similarly “surround” themselves with music. Performing as much as possible is also key to forming one’s musical identity, he said.
“It’s important to get out and share what you love to do because then you can start to say something,” Limoncelli said.