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, 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 11 CDs for Summit Records since 1992, including their 50th release “State of the Art—The ABQ at 50” featuring recent works written for them. A new disc comprised entirely of ABQ-commissioned works by Ewazen, Greenberg, Robert Paterson and Sebastian Currier is scheduled for release on Summit in early 2017.
Highlights of the American Brass Quintet’s 2016-2017 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. Also at The Guggenheim, the Quintet performs Zorn’s “Pulcinella” movement of his Commedia dell’arte suite for multiple ensembles. The Quintet gives their annual recital in Juilliard’s Paul Recital Hall, with a contemporary program of two NYC Premieres (Brass Quintet No. 2, “American,” by Kenneth Fuchs and Missing Words II by Eric Nathan) and Osvaldo Lacerda’s Quinteto Concertante.
Further engagements include Colgate University and the University of Maryland (Baltimore County), the Lied Center of Kansas, Greenwich Library (CT), Coastal Concerts (DE), Syracuse, NY,
Sanibel, FL, and a South American tour to Brazil. The Quintet also devotes a day as resident artists at Adelphi University in Garden City, 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 the Aspen Music Festival since 1970. 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 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.
“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