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 era’s premier chamber music ensembles. “The most distinguished” of brass quintets (American Record Guide), the group has earned its stellar reputation through its celebrated performances, genre-defining commissioned works, and ongoing commitment to the education of generations of musicians. Since its founding 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 composers that have contributed significantly to both contemporary chamber music and the foundation of the modern brass quintet repertoire. Such composers include 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. The Quintet’s Emerging Composer Commissioning program produced brass quintets by rising stars Gordon Beeferman, Jay Greenberg, Trevor Gureckis, and Shafer Mahoney. The group’s latest recording Perspectives (2017), one of 12 albums with Summit Records, features music by Robert Paterson, Jay Greenberg, Sebastian Currier, and Eric Ewazen, and has earned praise for bringing the “utmost cohesion, balance, and expressivity to each of the scores they perform with ear-catching intensity and finesse” (Gramophone).
On the heels of its 60th-anniversary season in 2019-2020, the American Brass Quintet’s 2021-2022 season included performances across the continental United States. Season highlights included performances at University of Delaware’s Master Players Concert Series, Chamber Music Society of Wichita, Frost School of Music in Miami, New Orleans Friends of Music, and Westchester Chamber Music Society.
This season’s highlights include performances at Arts Council of Moore County in Southern Pines, NC, DePaul University School of Music, Impromptu Classical Concerts in Key West, FL, Tryon Concert Association, Beaches Fine Arts Series in Jacksonville, FL, and Danbury Concert Association in Connecticut. The quintet also performs for Chamber Music Society of Logan in Utah, where they conduct a masterclass as well. The American Brass Quintet adds several new works to its repertoire this season, namely Ching-chu Hu’s, A Distant Hope, which they premiere at Chamber Music Columbus, and a commission of Jennifer Higdon’s new piece, Book of Brass, which they debut at Bowling Green State University. They also perform works by Stacy Garrop, David Biedenbender, and a commissioned piece by Tyshawn Sorrey.
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. President Emeritus Joseph Polisi has said of the group’s residency at Juilliard, “With intelligence, artistry, and imagination, the American Brass Quintet has exemplified the highest standards of chamber music for brass instruments during its remarkable existence.” In 2018, the group launched the ABQ Seminar @ Aspen, a four-week brass chamber music intensive at the Aspen Music Festival that offers the highest caliber of training for emerging brass quintets and musicians. Since 2000, the Quintet also has shared its expertise in chamber music coaching and performance through a program of short residencies that feature regularly in the group’s touring schedule. Offering young musicians an intense chamber music experience over several days, the Quintet’s residencies have been embraced by schools and communities throughout the United States and in a dozen foreign countries.
Among its 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
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