When the American Brass Quintet gave its first public performance over forty-six years ago, brass chamber music was relatively unknown to concert audiences. That modest debut, on December 11, 1960, marked the beginning of an international concert career for the ensemble that Newsweek calls "the high priests of brass."
In the U. S., the Quintet has performed on major concert series in all fifty states including at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. The ABQ's foreign touring has taken it throughout Europe, Central and South America, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. Among recent foreign performances, the Quintet performed to rave reviews at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, in Japan at the 10th Anniversary of the Aspen-Japan Festival, at the National Concert Hall in Taipei, the Orquesta Sinfonica Carlos Chavez in Mexico City, Bratislava Music Festival in Slovakia, and Brno Autumn Festival in the Czech Republic
Since its inception, the ABQ has maintained an extensive recording schedule. The ABQ has made over forty-five recordings representing the largest body of serious brass chamber music ever recorded by one ensemble. The Quintet has recorded for Albany, Arabesque, BASF, Bridge, Columbia, CRI, Crystal, Cybele, Delos, Folkways, Japan Victor, Musical Heritage, New World, Nonesuch, Serenus, Summit, Titanic, Well-Tempered and others.
Of equal importance to the ABQ's recording project is its commissioning project, which now numbers over one hundred works for brass quintet. ABQ commissions from William Bolcom, Robert Beaser, Elliott Carter, Jacob Druckman, Eric Ewazen, David Sampson, Gunther Schuller, Virgil Thomson, and recent Pulitzer-winner Melinda Wagner, among others, are considered some of the most substantial additions to the repertoire. These commissions, along with the Quintet's own editions of Renaissance and Baroque music, and premieres of forgotten 19th century brass works, have added well over 100 works to the repertoire and firmly established this ensemble's commitment to the ever growing field of serious brass chamber music.
Termed "positively breathtaking" by the New York Times, and "of all the brass quintets, this country's most distinguished" by the American Record Guide, the American Brass Quintet has never wavered in its devotion to brass chamber music throughout its forty-three years. And, with its residencies at The Juilliard School and at the Aspen Music School in the summer, it continues to contribute to a rich future for the brass groups of tomorrow. .