2016 USA Honors Chamber Brass Festival

Secondary banner

Featuring the World-Renowned American Brass Quintet!
For High School Students

We welcome students in grades 9-12 to apply for the University of South Alabama Honors Chamber Brass Festival to be held Friday, April 8th - Saturday, April 9th on the campus of the University of South Alabama!  Hosted in the state-of-the-art Laidlaw Performing Arts Center, students will experience a rewarding weekend of music-making with the world-famous American Brass Quintet.  Students can apply now through April 1, 2016. 

The two day event will feature music making in small chamber ensembles (quintets, quartets, trios, etc.). Students will be coached by members of the ABQ as well as Department of Music Brass Faculty. A student finale recital will be followed shortly by a concluding performance by the American Brass Quintet at 7:30PM on Saturday, April 9, 2016.  All students who are accepted to the 2016 USA Honors Chamber Brass Festival will receive complimentary admission to the ABQ performance! 

The following instruments are eligible to apply for the 2016 USA Honors Chamber Brass Festival:

Horn in F
Euphonium BC

American Brass Quintet

The American Brass Quintet, 2013 recipient of Chamber Music America’s highest honor, the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award for significant and lasting contributions to the field, is internationally recognized as one of the premier chamber music ensembles of our time, celebrated for peerless leadership in the brass world. The ABQ's rich history includes performances in Asia, Australia, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East and all fifty of the United States; a discography of nearly sixty recordings; and the premieres of over one hundred fifty contemporary brass works.

ABQ commissions by Robert Beaser, William Bolcom, Elliott Carter, Eric Ewazen, Anthony Plog, Huang Ruo, David Sampson, Gunther Schuller, William Schuman, Joan Tower, and Charles Whittenberg, among many others, are considered significant contributions to contemporary chamber music and the foundation of the modern brass quintet repertoire. The ABQ’s Emerging Composer Commissioning program has brought forth brass quintets by Gordon Beeferman, Jay Greenberg, Trevor Gureckis, and Shafer Mahoney.   Among the quintet’s recordings are eleven CDs for Summit Records since 1992 including the ABQ’s 50th Anniversary release State of the Art—The ABQ at 50 featuring recent works written for them.

Committed to the promotion of brass chamber music through education, the American Brass Quintet has been in residence at the Aspen Music Festival since 1970 and at The Juilliard School since 1987. Since 2000 the ABQ has offered its expertise in chamber music performance and training with a program of mini-residencies as part of its regular touring. Designed to offer young groups and individuals an intense chamber music experience over several days, ABQ mini-residencies have been embraced by schools and communities throughout the United States and a dozen foreign countries.

The New York Times has written (12/02/2013) that “among North American brass ensembles none is more venerable than the American Brass Quintet,” while Newsweek has hailed the ensemble as “the high priests of brass” and American Record Guide has called the ABQ “of all the brass quintets, the most distinguished.” Through its acclaimed performances, diverse programming, commissioning, extensive discography and educational mission, the American Brass Quintet has created a legacy unparalleled in the brass field.

Application and Audition Process

Students currently in grades 9-12 can apply online beginning now through a registration link on the Department of Music website. Applications will be accepted through April 1, 2016.  Students will be informed of their acceptance through email on April 2, 2016.  

A placement audition for students will occur after the registration process on Friday, April 8th. Students should prepare no more than 2 minutes of a solo, etude, or All-State audition piece of their own choosing.  Students will also be asked to prepare a chromatic scale to help determine range.  The placement audition will conclude with a short sight-reading example.

If students are auditioning with the 2016 All-State audition music they are encouraged to make use of the 2016 Alabama All-State Preparation Podcasts provided by the USA Music faculty,  available here.

Honors Chamber Brass Festival Features

• Instruction by world-renowned American Brass Quintet

• Instruction by USA Department of Music Faculty

• Honors Chamber Brass Festival T-shirt

• Saturday Night Dinner Banquet Dinner Provided

• Complimentary admittance for participating students to the American Brass Quintet performance on April 9, 2016.

• Finale Honors Chamber Brass Festival Small Ensembles Concert


There is no cost to apply for the University of South Alabama Honors Chamber Brass Festival.  Students who are selected for this event will pay a $40.00 fee at registration..  This registration fee covers the costs of all features and activities.


  • Friday, April 8
    • 3:30 PM-4:30PM - Registration Open (Lobby of the Laidlaw Performing Arts Center)
      • Students will be assigned a placement audition time
      • Placement auditions will consist of chromatic scale; short excerpt of an etude, solo, or All-State audition piece; and sight reading
      • Warm-up areas will be available
    • 4:00 PM-5:00PM - Placement Auditions
    • 5:00 PM -Welcome & ABQ Open Rehearsal/Discussion about rehearsal techniques in chamber music (Laidlaw Recital Hall)
    • 6:00 PM - Dinner provided (Firehouse Subs)
    • 7:00 - 8:30 PM - Small Ensemble Rehearsals
    • 8:30 PM - Rehearsal complete.
      • Students must depart for hotels or local residences.
      • Secure areas will be made available for storage of instruments.
  • Saturday, April 9
    • 8:15 AM - Laidlaw open for students wishing to warm-up or practice
    • 8:55 AM - All student participants should be seated in their small ensemble, warming up
    • 9:00 AM - Small Ensemble Coachings with American Brass Quintet
    • 11:00 AM -12:15 PM - Individual Instrument Masterclasses
    • 12:15 PM - 1:45 PM - Lunch Break (on your own)
    • 1:45-2:50 PM - Small Ensemble Coachings with USA Brass Faculty
    • 3:00-4:30 PM - Quintet Masterclass
    • 4:30 PM - Banquet Dinner with Department of Music Brass Faculty
    • 6:00-7:00 PM - Student Finale Concert 
    • 7:30 PM - American Brass Quintet in Concert


Application Form