Since 1986 Boston Brass has set out to establish a one-of-a-kind musical experience, featuring colorful classical arrangements, burning jazz standards, and the best of original brass repertoire. Boston Brass treats audiences to a unique brand of musical entertainment that bridges the ocean of classical formality to delight regular concertgoers and newcomers alike with great music and boisterous fun. The quintet has played to audiences in all 50 U.S. states, and over 30 countries. Though the band regularly concertizes as a quintet, Boston Brass also performs with orchestras, concert and marching bands, organists, and jazz bands, and regularly collaborates with composers to create new works for the brass canon.
Music education is at the core of Boston Brass’s identity, and the quintet continues to conduct sessions around the world, including masterclasses and residencies at such prestigious institutions as the Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School, the Royal Academy of Music in London, and Yong Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore. In conjunction with the Yamaha Corporation, the quintet engaged in a 2018 tour of major Chinese music conservatories, and in 2021 the members of Boston Brass were appointed to the International Artist Advisory Council to the College of Music at Mahidol University in Thailand. The Boston Brass have been featured as educators and performers at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, the American Bandmaster Association Conference, American Band College, Western International Band Clinic, and at innumerable state music education conferences. After a long hiatus, 2022 finally saw the return of the Boston Brass Summer Intensive in its new home at North Dakota State University’s Challey School of Music.
1949 - 2019
Sam Pilafian was an inspiring and motivating figure as a coach and mentor from the formative years of Boston Brass. Decades later it was our unbelievable luck to have Sam join our ranks as a member. His gravitas as a performer and educator was undeniable, but the joy of his friendship is eternal and not a day goes by that we aren't reminiscing about Sam or channeling his musical pedagogy. Always the most curious person in the room (and usually the most knowledgeable), Sam's joy of teaching will continue to impact students around the world for generations to come. If you want to learn more about Sam, we encourage you to start your journey with the peerless recordings of Empire Brass, or hear him with Boston Brass on the albums Simple Gifts (2018), Reminiscing (2016), and Rewired (2015).
The quintet’s newest release Blues for Sam (2022) features a mix of classical and jazz arrangements alongside old Boston Brass favorites, and is dedicated to the great Sam Pilafian who can be heard on the albums Simple Gifts (2018), Reminiscing (2016), and Rewired (2015). Latin Nights (2008) features a collection of some of the greatest classical and jazz works by Latin composers and features the legendary drummer Steve Gadd, the beautiful voice of Talita Real, plus percussion and guitar. Other albums include Ya Gotta Try, featuring music from Horace Silver, Chick Corea and Dizzy Gillespie, produced by legendary jazz recording genius Rudy van Gelder, and Within Earshot, featuring classical works by Shostakovich, Ginastera, Dvorak, Liszt, and others. Boston Brass has two holiday recordings, Christmas Bells are Swingin’, and The Stan Kenton Christmas Carols, featuring the Boston Brass All-Stars Big Band playing the phenomenal charts made popular by the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Boston Brass tours a vibrant holiday show each year, featuring many of the Stan Kenton classics, and sporting a full big band stocked with powerhouse guests, making this program a perennial audience favorite.
2011 marked the 25th Anniversary of Boston Brass and was celebrated with the 25 Fanfares Project, wherein 25 fanfares were premiered by composers from all over the country. Boston Brass also premiered a new major commission by noted wind ensemble composer Brian Balmages and new arrangements by former member and tuba player Sam Pilafian. Additionally, Boston Brass was very excited to have the opportunity to collaborate in the 2010/2011 season with the fabulous Imani Winds in a program entitled “Sketches of Spain,” featuring the music of Miles Davis and Gil Evans. In the 2012/2013 season the quintet began touring their “Notes from the Balcony” program with the Enso String Quartet featuring a program of music based on Romeo and Juliet.
As the world of live arts continues to recover from the lows of the global pandemic, Boston Brass is back, fully dedicated to our missions of seeking out new collaborations, testing the boundaries of brass music, and serving music education. Already with several performances in the books, the newly commissioned concert piece Perplexing Times by Gordon Goodwin features Boston Brass with wind ensemble and jazz rhythm section. The world premiere was hosted at the NDSU Challey School of Music in 2022 with the international premiere following at Mahidol University in Bangkok.
In April 2023 we joined the UNLV Wind Orchestra in a studio recording of Jorge Machain's Five Cities, a concerto commissioned by conductor Tom Leslie to celebrate our long history of friendship and collaboration. Keep an ear open for Boston Brass playing Machain's Five Cities, paired with Joe Alessi performing Chick Corea's Trombone Concerto in its wind ensemble premiere, coming soon from Parma Recordings!
And coming in 2025, we are looking forward to the premiere of a new work by brass legend Arturo Sandoval, brought to life via the combined forces of Boston Brass and Imani Winds.
Boston Brass is a Yamaha Performing Group and performs exclusively on Yamaha instruments.
Boston Brass plays mouthpieces by Picket Brass