Brass Symposium to feature master musicians from around the world

03.25.2015 | By Rob Vanya

San Jacinto College music professor Dr. Karen Marston rehearses with students who will participate in the upcoming Brass Symposium. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.


The San Jacinto College Central Campus will host the Brass Symposium, one of the largest and most comprehensive music events of the year, on April 10 and 11 at the Dr. Monte Blue music building, located at 8060 Spencer Hwy., in Pasadena.

The symposium will feature noted musicians from around the world conducting master classes, lecturing and performing concerts. All concerts, master classes and lectures are free and open to the public.

Guest artists scheduled to appear include:

Resonance Brass Choir, a chamber ensemble comprised of Texas university professors and performing artists. The ensemble is directed by renowned conductor Jerry Hou (Rice University Shepherd School of Music) and presents diverse music ranging from classical standards to popular styles.

Omni Brass, a Houston-based group of four brass players and a percussionist that perform classical favorites, world music, jazz, Dixieland, ragtime, and new works. The group includes four San Jacinto College music professors.

• Noted Houston composer Dr. Stephen Bachicha, whose solo and ensemble compositions have been performed internationally. Bachicha is creating a new composition that will be performed by Omni Brass as part of the Brass Symposium on Saturday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. Bachicha’s composition will musically interpret three iconic “earth” sculptures created by contemporary artist Michael Heizer – “Circumflex,” “Rift,” and “Dissipate” – which are embedded in the lawn at The Menil Collection’s main building in Houston.

• University of Texas music professor Andre Hayward, a renowned trombonist who has toured internationally and who conducts clinics and workshops around the nation and overseas.

David Kirk, principal tubist of the Houston Symphony and associate professor at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.

Mark Hughes, principal trumpet player of the Houston Symphony who has performed and recorded with the Boston and Chicago Symphonies, and is in demand as a soloist and with orchestras.

Louisiana State University music professor Seth Orgel, a multi-instrumentalist who is also a member of the Atlantic Brass Quintet, with whom he tours internationally.

 • Louisiana State University music professor Steve Menard, who was the trombonist for the National Broadway Tour of “Fiddler on the Roof,” and who maintains an active performing schedule around the nation.

• British international trombone soloist Brett Baker, a recording artist and clinician for Michael Rath Brass Instruments. Baker is regarded as the most recorded trombone soloist in his genre, and has made numerous television appearances.

Texas A&M University Corpus Christi music director and trombonist Dr. Rai Morales, who is also a solo performer, chamber musician, and clinician.

University of Houston music professor Ilan Morgenstern, who serves as the bass trombonist for the San Antonio Symphony as well as the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra.

• The San Jacinto College Brass Choir, and the San Jacinto College Faculty Jazz Trio will also perform during the symposium.

“The Brass Symposium provides a unique opportunity for every type of music lover,” commented Eric Late, the San Jacinto College Central Campus music department chair. “It is rare for a two-day event to feature such a collection of master musicians to not only perform in concert, but to also share their talents in master classes. The master classes will provide musicians at all levels opportunities for creative growth while improving their technical skills.”

Master classes and lectures will be held throughout the day on both days of the symposium. Six public concerts will be performed during the symposium. The San Jacinto College Brass Choir will perform in concert with Resonance Brass Choir on Friday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. San Jacinto College music professor Dr. Sarah Spencer will perform with Dr. Rai Morales and Ilan Morgenstern on Saturday, April 11 at 1 p.m. Dave Kirk and Mark Huges will perform on April 11 at 3:45 p.m. Local high school chamber ensembles will perform on April 11 at 5:30 p.m. Seth Orgel and Brett Baker will perform on April 11 at 6 p.m. Omni Brass will perform Bachica’s original composition on April 11 at 7:30 p.m. The symposium will conclude with a concert featuring Andre Hayward and the San Jacinto College Faculty Jazz Trio on April 11 at 8:30 p.m.

The Brass Symposium is funded in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts through the Houston Arts Alliance.

San Jacinto College offers a wide range of music and art courses and degree plans at all three campuses.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.