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The Atlanta Trumpet Ensemble was created in February 2004. The inspiration to create the group occurred during a visit to the Western Carolina Trumpet Festival. As the Atlanta Youth Trumpet Ensemble, the group gave its first performance in April 2004. The ensemble was comprised of members of director Kay Fairchild's private trumpet studio and consisted of nine players.

Following their graduation from high school, several members expressed an interest in continuing with the ensemble. In June 2004, the group was renamed the Atlanta Trumpet Ensemble and comprises some of the top high school and college trumpet players in the metropolitan Atlanta area.

Membership is by invitation only. Members must display strong performance and interpersonal skills. ATE performers are encouraged to develop a lack of ego related to ensemble participation and in their determination to succeed in personal endeavors. A genuine love of music and musical performance is essential. Members are required to be an active member of their school music programs.

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