Yale Brass
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Photo by Marilyn Catasus

Brass is a quintet of professional musicians brought together by a love of virtuoso playing and the camaraderie generated by live performance. Since its beginning, Brass has brought its particular brand of creative and innovative programming to Yale and the greater New Haven area. Originally born out of love of the wide variety of performance capabilities of brass instruments, the group has always been characterized by a playful levity which dances around the serious virtuosity of their performances.

From its inaugural concert on December 10, 1999, modestly titled "Brass: Five Guys in Concert," the ensemble has demonstrated a commitment to crafting performances that take audiences on a journey through the myriad tonal colors and moods possible on brass instruments. Each of Brass' nearly 50 concerts has explored this vast range in its own way. It has become part of their passion in programming to utilize these different colors to tell a story through the narrative of a single performance.

Brass has since its early days been associated with Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, a partnership which has produced the Marble and Brass concert series, now in its 14th year. These popular concerts, known as the Marble and Brass series, draw capacity crowds to hear varied and creative musical programs ranging from operatic to Dixieland, from harp concertos to music of the small and big screen. Every Brass season turns around the two concerts of the Marble and Brass series each year, which are the focus of much of the ensemble's creative efforts.

In its 15 year history (spanning nearly 50 concerts), Brass has performed in Spain, Estonia and Bermuda. They have appeared as featured performers at numerous Yale events and functions, and have collaborated with the legendary local band Mighty Purple. They have performed at Foxwoods and on the Learning Channel’s show Four Weddings. They collaborated with Darius, Danny, and Chris Brubeck to perform the world premier of the brass quintet arrangement of Dave Brubeck’s choral mass To Hope! A Celebration, under the direction of Brubeck’s long time musical collaborator, Russell Gloyd. Brass has recorded 2 CDs, and is in production on a 3rd CD project entitled Sounds of the Season.

Brass firmly believes that performance is about more than excellent execution of the music: the personalities and interactions between the performers and the creative space into which they invite the audience as active participants is vital to a truly memorable performance. Commitment to the highest performance standards coupled with an audience-centered experience is underscored in their motto: “Serious Music, Serious Fun.”

Olivia Malin, trumpets width=

Olivia Malin, trumpets
Olivia Malin joined Brass in 2007 as a recent graduate of the Yale School of Music. Her career began as a liaison between Yale School of Music and the New Haven Public schools under YSM's Music In The Schools Initiative, and she moved on to become a full-time band director for one of the district's middle schools.

Olivia remains an active performer and private teacher in the area. Her teachers have included Alan Dean, Mark Niehaus, and Judy Saxton. In addition to performing with Brass, she can be heard playing with her salsa band Mikata and the Nigerian Highlife band. Olivia is a talented arranger, and is at the forefront of Brass' efforts to develop new music for brass quintet.

She has just begun training for teaching literacy to ESL adult students, and is looking forward to working with the immigrant population in New Haven. Olivia holds degrees in trumpet performance from  from Illinois Weslyan (BM), North Carolina School of the Arts (MM), and Yale (MM).

Photo by Marilyn Catasus

Drew Mazurek, trumpets

Drew Mazurek, trumpets
In the Spring of 1999, while still an undergraduate at Yale University, Drew Mazurek became a founding member of Brass. Drew performed with Brass for 7 seasons, then left the group in 2006 to pursue graduate work in Electrical Engineering. In 2008, Drew returned to Brass as a full time member. Drew's personality and musicality are an integral part of the sound of Brass.

A native of North Haven, Drew has studied with Richard Green and Ken Tedeschi. He has performed extensively with groups at Yale and Stanford, including the Yale Concert Band, the Yale Precision Marching Band, and the Stanford Wind Ensemble. In addition, he has performed with the Connecticut Choral Society, the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra New England. Drew has performed in 9 countries spanning 4 continents. He holds degrees from Yale (BS) and Stanford (MS).

When he's not playing trumpet, Drew is either flying airplanes, playing softball, or working at his New Haven-based startup, Veoci.

Photo by Marilyn Catasus

Junius Johnson, horn

Junius Johnson, horn & manager
Junius Johnson co-founded Brass in 1999. A native of Louisville, Kentucky and an avid performer, he is experienced in horn performance across nearly every major genre and has played in every one of Brass' appearances. He brings his extensive training in the humanities to the construction of Brass' innovative programming.

At Yale, Junius has performed with every major ensemble on campus, and has been a featured soloist twice each with the Yale Bach Society and the Saybrook College Orchestra. He appears on several CDs of local folk/rock band Mighty Purple (HMG Records), and on the soundtrack to the Hollywood feature film The Brothers Bloom. Junius is the former Executive Director of Orchestra New England, an emeritus member of the Archipelago Project and an honorary member of the Bermuda Regiment Band and the US Army Field Band. He has performed around the world on numerous international tours, and holds degrees from Oral Roberts University (BA) and Yale University (PhD).

In his spare time, Junius enjoys playing golf, tennis, and electric bass, and reading and writing fantasy and science fiction.

Photo by Marilyn Catasus

Jennifer Griggs, trombone

Jennifer Griggs, trombone
Jennifer Griggs is an active freelance trombonist living in New York City. She performs in different musical settings with a variety of ensembles. Besides Brass, she is a member of Tromboteam! (whose debut album, featuring nine newly commissioned works, is scheduled for release in January 2014), Le Train Bleu, and the Patriot Brass Ensemble. Her work with the new music ensemble "Le Train Bleu" has led to performances at venues in New York such as Symphony Space, Le Poisson Rouge, Galapagos Art Space, Lar Lubovitch Dance Co, and DROM.

In addition, Jennifer has performed with the Waterbury Symphony, Wallingford Symphony, Orchestra New England, and Orchestra Modern. Before coming to the northeast, she was employed in the pit orchestra at the Cumberland County Playhouse in Tennessee. As an educator, Jennifer has served on the faculty at Naugatuck Valley Community College, Morse Summer Music Academy, and remains active in the Yale Music in Schools education outreach program. She has appeared as a guest artist and clinician at Southern Mississippi State University, University of Louisiana at Monroe, University of Ohio, University of Nebraska at Kearny, and many public schools. In 2010, as a member of the Yale Trombone Quartet, she traveled to Bogota, Colombia, where she was featured artist and clinician at the "100 Anos, 100 Trombones" festival.

Jennifer holds a degree in music education from Tennessee Technological University (BA) and a degree in trombone performance from the Yale School of Music (MM). Her teachers include Scott Hartman, Susan K. Smith, Joshua Hauser, and Kevin Chiarizzio.

Outside of her musical life, Jennifer is an avid horsewoman and is currently an instructor at Essex Equestrian Center in New Jersey, where she teaches riding, showing, and horsemanship to students of all ages.

Photo by Marilyn Catasus

Kevin Dombrowski, trombone

Kevin Dombrowski, rehearsal trombone
Kevin Dombrowski is originally from Chicago, IL. He is currently studying at the Yale School of Music (MM) and is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music (BM).

Kevin is an avid chamber musician. He is currently a member of “The Handsome Dans Trombone Quartet”, and with that group was featured in a recital at the Eastern Trombone Workshop in Washington, D.C. as the quartet competition winners. He has also been featured on the NPR broadcast, “From the Top”, on two separate occasions with another trombone quartet, “The Bone Rangers”, and has competed in the Fischoff Chamber Competition. He was also a winner in both the Rembrandt Chamber Players and Midwest Young Artists chamber competitions with that group. As a soloist, Kevin has won several competitions and notably had the chance to play in Aarhus, Denmark for the International Trombone Association’s solo trombone competition. As an orchestral musician, he has played with the West Virginia Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. His principal teachers include Scott Hartman, John Marcellus, and Timothy Riordan.

Besides music, Kevin loves to play many sports including hockey, golf, and tennis.

Jason Arnold, tuba

Jason Arnold, tuba
Jason Arnold hails from Midland, Texas. A member of Brass since 2009, he is also on the Faculty of the New York Summer Music Festival, where he recently performed with Jason Ham of the West Point Band.

He has performed with many orchestras in Connectucut, including the Bridgeport Symphony, the Waterbury Symphony, and the Hartford Symphony. He can be heard on the recording Bone-fide (Summit Records) with Joseph Alessi and the Imperial Brass Band. A versatile performer, Jason has performed in a wide variety of venues, ranging from Carnegie Hall to ABC's All My Children. He holds degrees from West Texas A&M University (BM) and the Manhattan School of Music (MM).

Jason's hobbies include watching football and baseball, and a new interest in woodworking.

Photo by Marilyn Catasus

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