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Full Biography

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

Hailed by Newsweek as “the high priests of brass,” the American Brass Quintet is internationally recognized as one of the premiere chamber music ensembles of our time, celebrated for peerless leadership in the brass world. As the 2013 recipient of Chamber Music America’s highest honor, the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award for significant and lasting contributions to the field, the Quintet'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.

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, Jay Greenberg, Trevor Gureckis and Shafer Mahoney. Among the Quintet’s recordings are 12 CDs for Summit Records since 1992, including their 50th release “State of the Art—The ABQ at 50” featuring recent works written for them. Their latest album on Summit Records, Perspectives, released in January 2017, is described by the American Record Guide as “another outstanding ABQ release”; Gramophone opines, “the American musicians bring utmost cohesion, balance and expressivity to each of the scores they perform with ear-catching intensity and finesse.”

Highlights of the American Brass Quintet’s 2017-2018 season include a U.S. tour across 18 cities in 15 states.  Among these appearances are debut performances at Bing Concert Hall, presented by Stanford Live, and at Moore Musical Arts Center in Bowling Green, OH, the hometown of the Quintet’s trumpet player, Kevin Cobb.  The Quintet also appears at the Detroit, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Melbourne and Louisville Chamber Music Societies, Duke Performances in Durham, NC, Portland’5 Center for the Arts, Lied Center of Kansas, Ashland Chamber Music Concerts, University of Arizona, Colorado College, Brooklyn Public Library, Arizona Musicfest, Savannah Music Festival, and Port Townsend Chamber Music Festival. Throughout the season, the Quintet will feature the new work by Steven Franklin, Three Romances, which premiered in July 2017, and resurrect an ABQ signature piece, Music for Brass Instruments by Ingolf Dahl, while continuing to commission and promote new chamber works by established and rising composers.  Praised by Julian Menken as "... the most outstanding work in brass repertory," Dahl’s Music for Brass Instruments is regarded as the source of the modern revival of the brass quintet.   In October 2017, the Quintet returns to the Guggenheim Museum for a repeat performance of John Zorn's Commedia dell’arte, a suite of five miniatures for multiple ensembles inspired by the Commedia dell’arte characters Harlequin, Colombina, Scaramouche, Pulcinella, and Pierrot. Presented with special choreography, the ABQ’s segment is the jovial, quasi-minimalist “Pulcinella.”

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.  To celebrate the American Brass Quintet’s 30th anniversary, the Juilliard School commissions Philip Lasser, best known for his unique way of blending the colorful harmonies of French Impressionist sonorities with the dynamic rhythms and characteristics of American music, for a piece dedicated to the Quintet which will premiere in November 2017 in Juilliard’s Paul Recital Hall.  Of its residency at Juilliard, President Joseph Polisi states, “With intelligence, artistry, and imagination, the American Brass Quintet has exemplified the highest standards of chamber music for brass instruments during its remarkable existence.” Since 2000, the Quintet has offered its expertise in chamber music performance and training with a program of short residencies as part of its regular touring. Designed to offer young groups and individuals an intense chamber music experience over several days, the Quintet’s residencies have been embraced by schools and communities throughout the United States and a dozen foreign countries.  

The New York Times recently wrote that “among North American brass ensembles none is more venerable than the American Brass Quintet,” and American Record Guide has lauded the ABQ “of all the brass quintets, the most distinguished.” Through its acclaimed performances, diverse programming, commissioning, extensive discography and educational mission, the American Brass Quintet has created a legacy unparalleled not only in the brass community, but in the chamber music field at large.  




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