Meridian Arts Ensemble, a quintet comprised of five brass players, is one of America’s leading brass group exploring the music of today. Founded in 1987, the ensemble has nine commercial CD releases, over fifty premieres, and performances on four continents and in forty-nine states. Meridian’s exciting and ambitious musical approach has changed the face of classical music. The ensemble began its career looking away from academic music and toward the American vernacular. Meridian’s arrangements of the music of Frank Zappa brought critical and popular acclaim, interviews on NPR’s Weekend Edition, and performances in concert halls and rock clubs. As a former faculty ensemble at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, our members now hold professorships at universities across the country.
Commissions from Milton Babbitt, Elliott Sharp, Tania Leon, Su Lian Tan, Mark Applebaum, Hermeto Pascoal, Nick Didkovsky, David Sanford, The Common Sense Composers’ Collective, Stephen Barber, John Halle, and Kirk Nurock have created a balanced and broad ranging repertoire for brass and percussion that peers into every corner of today’s musical experience. Meridian’s catalog of nine CDs on the Channel Classics label represents an equally broad look at the music of today. From an album of Baroque and Renaissance music to the latest release exploring the music of Central and South America, Meridian’s discs have garnered critical acclaim and a large and passionate popular following. Meridian Arts Ensemble has succeeded in bringing classical music to popular audiences. Consistently attracting a diverse audience base, the ensemble has worked tirelessly to keep the traditions of classical music alive, to spread the appeal of these traditions, and to revisit these traditions from a contemporary sensibility.
Since its inception in 1987, the Meridian Arts Ensemble has maintained a strong presence in music education. Th e ensemble has given master classes, clinics and career seminars at major universities, colleges and high schools throughout the world. Members of the MAE hold degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctoral levels, and have extensive teaching experience, holding faculty positions at the Manhattan School of Music, Th e Hartt School, Princeton University, University of Oregon, SUNY Buffalo and SUNY Fredonia. In addition to their teaching experience, the members of the MAE compose and arrange music, and have contributed to many of the major music journals, including the Instrumentalist, the International Trumpet Guild Journal, the Horn Call, The T.U.B.A. Journal, Windplayer Magazine, and Chamber Music America Magazine. MAE values the importance of interacting with young musicians. Th e ensemble frequently presents local and regional residencies across the US, performing for and working with music students of all ages and youth who are not yet involved in school music programs.
Within the ensemble’s touring schedule, it frequently presents university level master classes across the US, Europe and South America. Past hosts have included The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and The Hartt School; numerous conservatory appearances in the Netherlands; Lieksa Brass Week (Finland); Gent(Belgium); the University of Bogota (Colombia); Instrumenta Verano (Oaxaca, MX); dozens of universities in the US including a recent year-long guest professorship at East Carolina University; the Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago; the Texas Music Educators Association in San Antonio; Th e International Trombone Festival; TheInternational Trumpet Guild Conference and the International Brassfest.
The Basic Facts:
Five brass players and one percussionist based in New York City
Performances in 49 states
Performances in Germany, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Romania
Performances in Japan and Taiwan
Performances in Cuba, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic
Nine critically acclaimed compact discs on the Channel Classics label
Changed the face of brass chamber music through innovative repertoire and high-octane performances
Whose music do we play (in no particular order)?
Frank Zappa, J.S. Bach, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Tania Leon, King Crimson, Captain Beefheart, and Jimi Hendrix, Mark Applebaum, Milton Babbitt, Alvin Etler, Elliott Carter, Tom Pierson, Stephen Barber, David Sanford, Elliott Sharp, members of the MAE (who also do their own arranging), Renaissance and Baroque music, AfroCuban dance styles, South American folk music
Meridian’s Career highlights
First Prize Winner, 1990 Concert Artists Guild New York Competition
Multiple winner of the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Adventurous Programming Award
Performance at New York's Alice Tully Hall for the 25th Anniversary of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Club appearances including New York alternative spaces CBGB's, The Knitting Factory, the Cooler, and the Kitchen; the Black Cat in Washington, DC; the House of Blues in Los Angeles television broadcasts on German, Dutch, Austrian, Cuban, Mexican, and Japanese state television
Television broadcast on PBS's Live from Lincoln Center
Radio broadcasts on NPR's Weekend Edition (twice), St. Paul Sunday Morning, WDR Jazz Radio (Germany), Dutch National Radio, ORF(Austria), Voice of America, and Radio Free Europe