ABQ commissions by Robert Beaser, William Bolcom, Elliott Carter, Jacob Druckman, Eric Ewazen, Anthony Plog, David Sampson, Gunther Schuller, Joan Tower, and Melinda Wagner, are considered among the most significant contributions to the modern brass quintet repertoire. Since 2006, the ABQs Emerging Composer Commissioning program has brought forth new brass quintets by Gordon Beeferman, Jay Greenberg, Trevor Gureckis, and Shafer Mahoney. In commemoration of the ABQs 50th anniversary in 2010, Summit Records released a double CD, State of the Artthe ABQ at 50, of works written for the ABQ in the last decade.
Equally committed to the promotion of brass chamber music through education, the American Brass Quintet has been in residence at The Juilliard School since 1987 and at the Aspen Music Festival since 1970. Since 2001 the ABQ has offered its expertise in chamber music performance and training with a program of mini-residencies as part of its regular touring season. Designed to offer young groups and individuals an intense chamber music experience over several days, ABQ mini-residencies have been embraced by schools and communities throughout the United States and internationally.
Through its acclaimed performances, diverse programming, commissioning, extensive discography and educational mission, the ABQ has created a legacy unparalleled in the brass field. Hailed as "the high priests of brass" by Newsweek, "positively breathtaking" by the New York Times, and "of all the brass quintets, the most distinguished" by the American Record Guide, the American Brass Quintet has clearly defined itself among the elite chamber music ensembles of our time.
Trumpeter Raymond Mase has been a member of the American Brass Quintet since 1973 and is responsible for many of the ABQ's performance editions and recordings of 16th-, 17th-, and 19th-century brass music. He is also a founding member of the Summit Brass and principal trumpeter of the New York City Ballet Orchestra. Mr. Mase can be heard on well over one hundred recordings, including as soloist on the Albany, Deutsche Grammophon, Summit, Koch, Cambria, Troy, MHS, and Furious Artisans labels. In addition to his performing and teaching, Mr. Mase is Chair of the Brass Department at The Juilliard School, a member of the Aspen Music School faculty,and has served on the Board of Directors of Chamber Music America.
Trumpeter Kevin Cobb became a member of the American Brass Quintet in the fall of 1998. Prior to his joining the ABQ, he had been a member of the Manhattan Brass Quintet and Meridian Arts Ensemble. Currently Mr. Cobb serves on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, SUNY Stony Brook, the Hartt School, and the Aspen Music School. He performs regularly with such organizations as the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet Orchestra, Speculum Musicae, and is co-principal trumpeter of the Aspen Festival Orchestra. His first solo CD entitled One features an all-American program of unaccompanied trumpet solos on the Summit Label.
David Wakefield, horn
David Wakefield, horn, joined the American Brass Quintet in 1976 while he was a doctoral student at The Juilliard School. A member of the Aspen Music School faculty since 1976 and the Juilliard School faculty since 1987, and the Hartt School since 2011, he also served as Associate Dean for Performance Activities at The Juilliard School. Principal horn of the Little Orchestra Society, Mr. Wakefield has performed with the New York, Vienna, and Brooklyn Philharmonics, Houston Symphony, and regularly with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the New York City Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He has premiered over 250 new works and worked closely with such composers as Milton Babbitt, Luciano Berio, Elliott Carter, John Corigliano, Jacob Druckman, Eric Ewazen, George Tsontakis, and Charles Wuorinen.
Michael Powell, trombone
Michael Powell has been tenor trombonist of the American Brass Quintet since 1983. He also performs and records regularly with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Little Orchestra Society, Zankel Band, Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble, and Aspen Festival Orchestra. Mr. Powell has performed as soloist with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Kansas City Philharmonic, and at the Aspen and New Hampshire Music Festivals. He has taught master classes in trombone and chamber music worldwide. Mr. Powell commissioned, premiered and recorded the Sonata for Trombone and Piano by Eric Ewazen, with the composer as pianist. He is on the faculties of The Juilliard School, SUNY Stony Brook, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and the Aspen Music School.
John D. Rojak, bass trombone
American Brass Quintet member since 1991, John Rojak is also bass trombonist with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and New York Pops, and has performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic and Orpheus. He served as bass trombonist for the sixteen-year run of Les Miserables on Broadway and was the first bass trombonist to be artist-in-residence at Quad City Arts (Iowa). Recent solo recordings include The Romantic Bass Trombone on MMC Records, Eric Ewazen's Rhapsody for Bass Trombone and Strings for Albany Records, and Walter Ross' Trombone Concerto No. 2 with the New York Chamber Symphony. He is on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, Bard College Conservatory of Music, and the Aspen Music School.