San Francisco Conservatory of Music and National Brass Ensemble Announce Live Concert, Recording Project, and Student Summer Academy

National Brass Ensemble, SFCM, brass,

The National Brass Ensemble in 2014, comprised of some of the top brass and percussion players in the country.

This collaboration brings the best in brass and percussion musicians to the San Francisco area for a special performance and gives students a unique opportunity for side-by-side instruction and experience.

San Francisco, CA— The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) is pleased to announce a new collaboration project with the National Brass Ensemble (NBE), which will include a live concert, recording event, and National Brass Ensemble Summer Academy for students. NBE draws from the finest brass and percussion players in major orchestras across the country and includes several SFCM faculty members.

“We are thrilled to sponsor and host the National Brass Ensemble for this spectacular project and recording. This will be a transformative educational and artistic experience that promises to inspire all of us,” said SFCM President David H. Stull, the executive director of NBE who helped envision the ensemble in 2011 with Michael Sachs, NBE’s artistic director and principal trumpet at the Cleveland Orchestra.

On the night of Monday June 20, 2022 the National Brass Ensemble will perform at Davies Symphony Hall, home to the San Francisco Symphony, “I am so delighted that after a seven year break we were able to again find that needle in a haystack moment when we can gather together the National Brass Ensemble! We'll be performing and recording new works written especially for us by Aaron Jay Kernis, Jonathan Bingham, and Arturo Sandoval, and a new Richard Wagner- Ring compilation arrangement done by our own Timothy Higgins [Principal Trombone, San Francisco Symphony],” said Sachs. “In addition to these performed works, this time we will be interacting with a group of brass, percussion, and timpani students especially chosen through auditions to participate in a comprehensive menu of educational events including panel discussions, lectures, intimate masterclass settings, instrument specific subject matter classes, as well as interactive readings of chamber music, music of Giovanni Gabrieli, and standard orchestral repertoire,” Sachs added.

Music Director of San Francisco Opera Eun Sun Kim and Music Director of San Francisco Symphony Esa-Pekka Salonen will conduct the National Brass Ensemble. Bingham’s commission was awarded as part of SFCM and the S.F. Symphony’s initial Emerging Black Composers Project in 2021. Kernis, a Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award-winner, is an SFCM alum and Higgins teaches on its faculty. 

The National Brass Ensemble Summer Academy will be from June 13-20, 2022 and is part of a lineup of summer offerings at the Conservatory to include overnight camps in guitar, voice and technology and applied composition (more details forthcoming). During the week-long academy, students will work with principal brass and percussion players from the top major orchestras across the country in masterclasses, side-by-side brass ensemble and orchestral section readings, interactive chamber music sessions, and workshops delving into audition preparation, performance psychology, and arranging for brass ensemble, among other topics. Participants will have the exclusive opportunity to observe the National Brass Ensemble in rehearsal and recording sessions at Skywalker Studios, as well as attend the culminating National Brass Ensemble performance at Davies Symphony Hall. 

“For any aspiring orchestral brass, percussion, or timpani player I cannot imagine a more inspiring and once in a lifetime opportunity to be in an intimate environment like this with the top players in the business!” Sachs added about the program.

The collaboration was largely inspired by the Grammy® Award-winning 1968 recording, The Antiphonal Music of Gabrieli, which featured the brass ensembles of the Chicago Symphony and the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras.

Since the original announcement, Esa-Pekka Salonen is no longer available to participate. 

How to apply

Admission by audition, this program is intended for serious brass and percussion musicians including trumpet, french horn, trombone, tuba, percussion, and timpani players aged 16-25. 
More details can be found here

About the San Francisco Conservatory of Music

SFCM draws on the bold creativity of San Francisco to offer unparalleled training for the 21st century musician. We support students in developing the skills and vision to chart successful careers and advance the human experience through music. We believe a musical education must extend far beyond technical and performance skills. Our commitment to music of enduring quality and importance is the foundation of our innovative curriculum, cultivating critical thinking and business acumen alongside artistic practice, and creating a transformative environment of inquiry, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. Our DNA combines a global perspective with the unstoppable energy and imagination of our hometown. Our pioneering programs and partnerships with leading institutions and businesses prepare students to seize opportunities in music and a wide array of the fastest developing sectors today. SFCM is a magnet for exceptional faculty whose ongoing professional experience benefits our students. As the only conservatory partnered with a leading artist management company, we are able to provide our students unique insight and access to the music industry.
Media contact:
SFCM:  Beth Giudicessi

About the National Brass Ensemble

The National Brass Ensemble is composed of the finest brass players in major orchestras across the United States. Formed in 2014 as a joint venture between the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Oberlin Conservatory of Music (OCM) and Sonoma State University's Green Music Center (SSUGMC), the NBE includes principal brass, percussion, and timpani players from the top U.S. orchestras including the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and San Francisco Opera/Ballet Orchestra.

National Brass Ensemble 2022

David H. Stull, Executive Director
Michael Sachs, Artistic Director

Boston Symphony

Thomas Rolfs - Principal Trumpet
Michael Martin - Fourth/Utility Trumpet
James Markey - Bass Trombone
Mike Roylance - Principal Tuba
J. William Hudgins - Principal Percussion
Jessica Zhou - Principal Harp

Chicago Symphony

Gail Williams - Former Assoc. Principal Horn, Professor of Horn, Northwestern University
Michael Mulcahy - Second Trombone
Gene Pokorny - Principal Tuba

Cleveland Orchestra

Michael Sachs - Principal Trumpet
Nathaniel Silberschlag - Principal Horn
Richard King - Fourth Horn, former Principal Horn
Randy Hawes - Acting Bass Trombone
Yasuhito Sugiyama - Principal Tuba
Marc Damoulakis - Principal Percussion
Paul Yancich - Principal Timpani
Trina Struble - Principal Harp


Demondrae Thurman - Professor of Music, Indiana University

Los Angeles Philharmonic

Andrew Bain - Principal Horn

New York Philharmonic

Christopher Martin - Principal Trumpet
Richard Deane - Assoc. Principal/Acting Principal Horn
Leelanee Sterrett - Third Horn/Acting Assoc. Principal Horn
Joseph Alessi - Principal Trombone

Philadelphia Orchestra

David Bilger - Principal Trumpet
Jeffrey Curnow - Associate Principal Trumpet
Jennifer Montone - Principal Horn
Nitzan Haroz - Principal Trombone

San Francisco Opera & Ballet Orchestras

Adam Luftman - Principal Trumpet

San Francisco Symphony

Mark Inouye - Principal Trumpet
Robert Ward - Principal Horn
Jonathan Ring - Second Horn
Timothy Higgins - Principal Trombone
Jeffrey Anderson - Principal Tuba
Jacob Nissly - Principal Percussion
Jonathan Dimmock - Organist