January 18, 2017
American Brass Quintet Releases Album of Commissioned Works

The distinguished American Brass Quintet released their new recording, Perspectives, January 13 on Summit Records. This album of commissions, written for the Quintet by Sebastian Currier, Eric Ewazen, Robert Paterson and Jay Greenberg, was produced and engineered by Grammy Award-winning producers Judith Sherman and Adam Abeshouse.

With Perspectives, the American Brass Quintet continues its tradition of championing new works by distinguished American composers. The four compositions showcase the vast array of styles for brass chamber music today, interpreted with the Quintet’s consummate style. With the recent introduction of two new members and in collaboration with emeritus members, Perspectives truly represents the past, present and future of the American Brass Quintet.

A “modern day master” and often the “highlight of the program” (New York Times), Robert Paterson’s music is praised for its elegance, wit, structural integrity and sense of color. In the composer's own words, “My father is a sculptor who worked with bronze, so as a child, I was always watching him cast bronze sculptures by pouring crucibles of molten metal into giant molds. In many ways, this is probably what caused me to have an affinity for brass instruments… Shine is in four movements and explores colorful aspects of four different types of metal: brass, gold, mercury and steel.”

Born in 1991 and the youngest composer to have an exclusive agreement with Schirmer/AMP, Jay Greenberg has had a prodigious career to date. Quintet for Brass was completed in 2012 after being awarded a commission from the American Brass Quintet Emerging Composer Commissioning Program, funded by the Jerome Foundation. The work is a phenomenal display of special techniques such as sliding glissandos, high muted chirping in the trumpets, and lyrical, long-breathed melodies in the horn.

Heralded as "music with a distinctive voice" by the New York Times and as "lyrical, colorful, firmly rooted in tradition, but absolutely new" by the Washington PostSebastian Currier’s music has been performed worldwide by acclaimed artists and orchestras, including Anne-Sophie Mutter, the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and the Kronos Quartet. Cadence, Fugue, Fade for Brass Quintet was commissioned by The Juilliard School for ABQ. According to Currier, “When I started to think about writing a brass quintet, the first sound that came to mind was that of brass music of the late Renaissance and early Baroque, with its rich, full-bodied sound, weaving between polyphonic and chordal textures. Like a canzona, the piece is one continuous flow of sound, but divided into various sections of contrasting characters.”

Former ABQ members Raymond Mase (trumpet) and David Wakefield (horn), plus students Justin Waller (trombone) and JJ Cooper (bass trombone), join the current Quintet configuration for Eric Ewazen’s Canticum Honoris Amicorum for The American Brass Quintet (Past, Present and Future). His unusual scoring for three trumpets, two French horns, two trombones, bass trombone and tuba allows additional players (whether former or new ABQ members) to play with the existing configuration. Canticum Honoris Amicorum is quintessentially Ewazen in the joy and energy it conveys, boasting fanfares, beautiful melodies, great sonority and a dazzling finish.

The American Brass Quintet’s commissions by Robert Beaser, William Bolcom, Elliott Carter, Eric Ewazen, Anthony Plog, Huang Ruo, David Sampson, Gunther Schuller, William Schuman, Joan Tower and Charles Whittenberg, among many others, are considered significant contributions to contemporary chamber music and the foundation of the modern brass quintet repertoire. The Quintet’s Emerging Composer Commissioning program has brought forth brass quintets by Gordon Beeferman, Trevor Gureckis, Shafer Mahoney and Jay Greenberg.

Highlights of the American Brass Quintet’s 2016-17 season include their ongoing collaboration with avant-garde composer John Zorn for the World Premiere of Blue Stratagem at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, along with additional performances at The Guggenheim Museum as a tribute to American abstract painter Agnes Martin. The New York Times commented, “‘Blue Stratagem’ showed off the layered textures — sometimes mellow, sometimes piercing — of the American Brass Quintet.” Also at The Guggenheim, the Quintet performed Zorn’s “Pulcinella” movement of his Commedia dell’arte suite for multiple ensembles. 

Hailed by Newsweek as “the high priests of brass,” the American Brass Quintet is internationally recognized as one of the premier chamber music ensembles of our time, celebrated for peerless leadership in the brass world. As 2013 recipient of Chamber Music America’s highest honor, the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award for significant and lasting contributions to the field, ABQ's rich history includes performances in Asia, Australia, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Canada and the United States; a discography of nearly 60 recordings; and the premieres of over 150 contemporary brass works. Committed to the development of brass chamber music through higher education, the American Brass Quintet has served as Ensemble-in-Residence at The Juilliard School since 1987 and the Aspen Music Festival since 1970.


(Summit Records/ DCD 692)

Track Listing:

#1-4: ROBERT PATERSONShine (2015)
1.      Ringing Brass Bells [5:00]
2.      Quicksilver [3:54]
3.      Veins of Gold [4:23]
4.      Bright Blue Steel [3:41]

#5: JAY GREENBERG: Quintet for Brass (2012) [13:49]
#6: SEBASTIAN CURRIERCadence, Fugue, Fade (2013) [15:38]
#7: ERIC EWAZENCanticum Honoris Amicorum (2014) [6:09]


Kevin Cobb (Trumpet)
Louis Hanzlik (Trumpet)
Eric Reed (Horn)
Michael Powell (Trombone)
John D. Rojak (Bass Trombone)  

Former ABQ members:
Raymond Mase (trumpet)
David Wakefield (horn)

Students of ABQ:
Justin Waller (trombone)
JJ Cooper (bass trombone)

Click here for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Perspectives



Thursday, February 9 at 7:30PM
Schein Hall (presented by BIG ARTS: Barrier Island Group)
Sanibel, FL

Saturday, February 11 at 8PM
Pensacola Christian College
Pensacola, FL

Saturday, March 18 at 7:30PM
H.W. Smith School (presented by Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music)
Syracuse, NY

Saturday, March 25 at 2PM
Greenwich Library, The Cole Auditorium
Greenwich, CT

Friday, March 31 at 7:30PM
Lied Center of Kansas
Lawrence, KS

Sunday, April 2 at 3PM
Colorado College, Packard Performance Hall
Colorado Springs, CO

American Brass Quintet website

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