Legendary composer, conductor, trombonist, and teacher Bob Brookmeyer is coming to the Eastman School of Music for an 80th birthday celebration by the jazz department that includes an appearance with the Eastman New Jazz Ensemble.
Recognized for his wide-ranging virtuosity, Brookmeyer has performed with jazz greats over a career spanning almost 60 years and two continents. He was born Dec. 19, 1929, and attended the Kansas City Conservatory of Music, where he won the Carl Busch prize for Choral Composition. He arrived in New York City in 1952 and played with Stan Getz, Woody Herman, Charles Mingus, and others. In 1954, Brookmeyer joined Gerry Mulligan, producing the “Paris Concerts” and beginning a partnership that lasted until Mulligan’s death in 1996. He composed for and performed with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra and served as musical director for the Mel Lewis Orchestra.
In 1981, Brookmeyer began to work extensively in Europe. He started a radical new school for improvised and composed music in Holland, wrote a commission for The 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic, and served as musical director of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Big Band, which in turn became the beginnings of his New Art Orchestra.
Brookmeyer taught many of today’s leading jazz composers, including Jim McNeely and Eastman alumna Maria Schneider. From 1997 to 2007, he taught at the New England Conservatory, where he served as chair of the Jazz Composition Department and created NEC’s Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra.
Brookmeyer will join the Eastman New Jazz Ensemble, directed by Dave Rivello, for a concert of his works at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, in Kilbourn Hall. Pieces will include music written for the Terry Gibbs Dream Band, the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band, Mel Lewis and the Jazz Orchestra, and the New Art Orchestra. For a special highlight, five composers – McNeely, Rivello, Bill Holman, John Hollenbeck, and Ryan Truesdell – have written pieces based on the musical material of “Happy Birthday” which the New Jazz Ensemble will perform.
Rivello will give a pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall. Both events are free and open to the public.
While visiting the Eastman School, Brookmeyer will also meet with composition students, rehearse with the ensemble, and participate in the jazz department’s weekly Jazz Forum.
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Wednesday, Dec. 2
Eastman New Jazz Ensemble: Salute to Bob Brookmeyer. The legendary jazz performer and composer joins the ensemble, directed by Dave Rivello, in a concert of his works on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St.
Pre-concert lecture by Dave Rivello at 7 p.m.