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2012 National Brass Symposium

Editor | April 2012

   The 2012 National Brass Symposium will welcome attendees ranging from young high school music students learning about brass playing for the first time to accomplished university students to professional brass musicians and educators of all ages. The event takes place June 8-10 at the Bailey Center for the Performing Arts of Kennesaw State University, Atlanta, Georgia with the aim of giving participants an unprecedented opportunity to see, hear, and learn from the greatest orchestral brass players of our time. There are traditional master classes and concerts, but the three-day session is structured to be an intimate, up close event that breaks down the barrier between participants and artists. The three-day event also includes a meet-and-greet, recitals, orchestral excerpt performance sessions, and a solo competition for participants.
   This is the second year for the National Brass Symposium. One of the most successful 2011 events was the Orchestral Excerpt Performance Session. In this session, the NBS artists formed a standard orchestral brass section and played some of the great passages from the standard repertoire, including excerpts from Mahler’s Symphony #2, Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, Bruckner’s Symphony #8, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony #4. The session featured insightful discussion and tips alongside the performances, and participants in each section got to play alongside the artists. This event will be expanded for this year.
   The 2012 event will also feature more recitals and chamber music from the artists, giving everyone the opportunity to hear these great players in intimate settings. Of particular interest to educators, this year the symposium offers a certificate of participation showing attendance. Attendees can use it as a remembrance of the conference or as documentation of their attendance for school districts requiring evidence of attendance for professional learning.
   Chris Martin, one of the founders, said, “When discussing the idea, we wanted to bring these great artists together, but more than that, we wanted to share them with the community where we grew up. Atlanta, Georgia is a booming metropolis that grows every year, but despite its prominence, the community is rarely visited by other great American orchestras. The Symposium changed all that – at least for the local brass community.” 
   About the National Brass Symposium artist brass ensemble, Chris Martin said, “Hearing this group of the finest orchestral brass musicians in America play together for the first time was an exhilarating experience I will always remember. Where else could you hear the principal brass of the New York, Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Atlanta orchestras in one place?”
   To register or for more information, visit The website also includes artist biographies and videos. Walk-up registration is available the day of the event.

Frits Damrow, Zürich Univ. of the Arts
* Thomas Hooten, Atlanta Symphony
* Chris Martin, Chicago Symphony
Michael Martin, Boston Symphony
* Thomas Rolfs, Boston Symphony
* Michael Sachs, Cleveland Orchestra
* Brice Andrus, Atlanta Symphony
Jeff Nelsen, Indiana University
* James Sommerville, Boston Symphony
Gail Williams, Northwestern University
* Joseph Alessi, New York Philharmonic
James Markey, New York Philharmonic
* Toby Oft, Boston Symphony
* Colin Williams, Atlanta Symphony
* Dennis Nulty, Detroit Symphony
* Gene Pokorny, Chicago Symphony
* Mike Roylance, Boston Symphony
* denotes principal player