Ensemble | Worldwide Representation
Full Biography

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

Widely considered one of the world’s preeminent chamber music ensembles, the American Brass Quintet is hailed for its burnished sound, brilliant virtuosity, and the musical acuity of its performances.  The American Record Guide has described the group “of all the brass quintets, the most distinguished,” a distinction borne of acclaimed performances, commissions that have broadened and deepened the brass ensemble repertoire and that of contemporary music, and commitment to the education of generations of musicians.  Founded in 1960, the American Brass Quintet has performed on five continents, made nearly 60 recordings, and premiered more than 150 contemporary works for brass.

The American Brass Quintet has commissioned works by leading 20th century and contemporary composers, including Bruce Adolphe, Robert Beaser, William Bolcom, Elliott Carter, Eric Ewazen, Anthony Plog, Huang Ruo, David Sampson, Gunther Schuller, William Schuman, Joan Tower, Virgil Thomson, George Walker, Dan Welcher, and Charles Whittenberg; these works have largely established the modern brass quintet repertoire.  In addition, the Quintet’s Emerging Composer Commissioning program has spurred the composition of brass quintets by Gordon Beeferman, Jay Greenberg, Trevor Gureckis, and Shafer Mahoney.  The American Brass Quintet’s latest album Perspectives, released by Summit Records in January 2017, which features music by Robert Paterson, Jay Greenberg, Sebastian Currier, and Eric Ewazen, has garnered unstinting praise from Gramophone: “the American musicians bring utmost cohesion, balance, and expressivity to each of the scores they perform with ear-catching intensity and finesse.”  The Quintet has made 12 albums for Summit Records, including their 50th-anniversary release State of the Art—The American Brass Quintet at 50, a collection of works written for them.

During the 2018-2019 season, the American Brass Quintet performs throughout the United States.  A highlight of its fall travel is a concert of masterworks for brass and voices by composers of the Spanish Renaissance—Tomás Luis de Victoria, Cristóbal de Morales, and Francisco Guerrero—performed with Seraphic Fire, the acclaimed Florida vocal ensemble.  The program also features the world premiere of Veni by Australian-Canadian composer Julian Revie.  The Quintet and Seraphic Fire’s fall tour of Florida is followed by 2019 appearances in Indiana, Kansas and Southern California.  As a resident ensemble of the Juilliard School, where the Quintet serves on the faculty, teaching assumes a key role in its mission as educators and on its annual tours.  They give master classes at Old Dominion University, University of Idaho, Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg, ID, Goshen College, Goshen, IN, and Johnson County Community College, in Overland Park, KS.  Elsewhere this season, the American Brass Quintet is presented by Brookings Harbor Friends of Music, Brookings, OR, Close Encounters with Music, Great Barrington, MA, and Friends of Music of Stamford, NY.

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 at the Aspen Music Festival since 1970.  To commemorate the American Brass Quintet’s 30th anniversary, the Juilliard School commissioned Philip Lasser to write the piece Common Heroes, Uncommon Land, which had its premiere in February 2018 at Juilliard’s Paul Hall.  Of its residency at Juilliard, President Joseph Polisi stated, “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 also provided its expertise in chamber music performance, training, and coaching, through a program of short residencies and master classes as an established part of its touring.  Designed to offer young groups and individuals intense chamber music instruction over several days, the Quintet’s residencies have been taken up with enthusiasm by schools and communities through the United States and a dozen foreign countries.

Among numerous distinctions and citations, the American Brass Quintet is the 2013 recipient of the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award for significant and lasting contributions to the field, the highest honor accorded by Chamber Music America.  


“Among North American brass ensembles none is more venerable than the American Brass Quintet.” 
New York Times  

“The members of the American Brass Quintet breathe as one, provide effortless well-matched phrasing, and generally produce a superbly balanced, fine golden sound.”
Los Angeles Times  

“The American Brass Quintet filled the cathedral Tuesday evening with a range of color and sound that was astonishingly rich and varied...just as impressive was the variety of music involved, taking in its stride works from the fifteenth century to the present day...show players with the verve and power of this fine quintet.”
The Times (London)  

“The high priests of brass.” – Newsweek




Back to Top