Chris Brubeck

composer/ trombone

Grammy-nominated composer Chris Brubeck continues to distinguish himself as a multi-faceted performer and creative force. An award-winning writer, he is clearly tuned in to the pulse of contemporary music. John von Rhein, the respected music critic for The Chicago Tribune, calls Chris: “a composer with a real flair for lyrical melody–a 21st Century Lenny Bernstein.”

In the last decade, Chris has created an impressive body of symphonic work while maintaining a demanding touring and recording schedule with his two groups: the Brubeck Brothers Quartet (with brother Dan on drums), and Triple Play, an acoustic trio featuring Chris on piano, bass and trombone along with guitarist Joel Brown and harmonica player extraordinaire Peter Madcat Ruth. Reviewing Vignettes for Nonet, a piece Chris wrote which was recorded with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet and the woodwind quintet Imani Winds, the JazzTimes wrote: “The integration of reeds and jazz quartet is picture-perfect, cinematic in scope and often breathtakingly beautiful.”

Chris is a much sought-after composer, and in the last few years has been commissioned to write many innovative works. His latest work, co-written with French composer Guillaume Saint-James, Brothers in Arts: 70 Years of Liberty, premiered to much acclaim in Rennes, France, in June, 2014, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied Liberation of France. It was commissioned by the Orchestre de Bretagne, Oakland East Bay Symphony and Sinfonia Gulf Coast in Destin, Florida.

Chris’s long and varied list of commissions includes a Russian-American cooperative project commissioned by the Hermitage Museum and the National Gallery (The Hermitage Cats Save the Day), to the Kennedy Center for the National Symphony Orchestra; concertos written for violinist Nick Kendall, the exciting trio Time for Three, and guitarist Sharon Isbin (to premiere Spring, 2015); a song cycle for Frederica von Stade (River of Song), as well as chamber and orchestral pieces commissioned by the Concord Chamber Music Society, the Muir String Quartet, three commissions from The Boston Pops, and multiple commissions from consortiums including Baltimore Symphony, Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, Indianapolis Symphony, Portland Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, San Diego Symphony, and several others.

His highly acclaimed Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra has been played by many of the top bass trombonists in the world and was recorded with Chris as soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra. It can be heard on the Koch International Classics recording Bach to Brubeck. He then wrote a second trombone concerto, The Prague Concerto, which he premiered and recorded with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra on the Koch CD, Convergence. Reviewing that disc, Fanfare Magazine wrote “Brubeck’s skill both as composer and soloist is extraordinary.”

In April, 2009, Ansel Adams: America premiered, an exciting orchestral piece written by Chris and Dave Brubeck, commissioned by a consortium of eight orchestras (including the Oakland East Bay Symphony) and accompanied by 100 of Ansel Adams’ majestic images projected above the orchestra. In 2013, Ansel Adams: America was nominated for a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition.

Chris plays bass, trombone, piano, and guitar; he also sings and has earned international acclaim as composer, performer, and leader of his own groups.