Alessi Seminar Faculty
Peter Ellefson, Joseph Alessi and Jonathan Whitaker receiving the President’s Award for the Alessi Seminar from the International Trombone Association in 2011
Mr. Joseph Alessi
Principal Trombone - New York Philharmonic
The Juilliard School
Joseph Alessi was appointed Principal Trombone of the New York Philharmonic in the spring of 1985. He began musical studies in his native California with his father, Joseph Alessi, Sr. As a high school student in San Rafael, California, and was a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony before continuing his musical training at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. Prior to joining the Philharmonic, Mr. Alessi was second trombone of The Philadelphia Orchestra for four seasons, and principal trombone of L’Orchestre symphonique de Montreal for one season. In addition, he has performed as guest principal trombonist with the London Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall led by Pierre Boulez.
Mr. Alessi is an active soloist, recitalist, and chamber music performer. In April 1990 he made his solo debut with the New York Philharmonic, performing Creston’s Fantasy for Trombone, and in 1992 premiered Christopher Rouse’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Trombone Concerto with the Philharmonic, which commissioned the work for its 150th anniversary celebration. His most recent appearance with the Philharmonic as soloist was in world premiere performances of Melinda Wagner's Trombone Concerto in February of 2007.
Mr. Alessi has been a guest soloist with the Lincoln Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Virginia Symphony, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Santa Barbara Symphony, South Dakota Symphony, New Japan Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, Orchestra of Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Sicily, Mannheim National Theater Orchestra, National Symphony of Taiwan, Puerto Rico Symphony, Hague Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, and the Hartford Symphony. Mr. Alessi has also participated in numerous festivals, including the Festivale Musica di Camera in Protogruaro, Italy; Cabrillo Music Festival; Swiss Brass Week; and Lieksa Brass Week in Finland. He was featured in the 1997 International Trombone Festival in Feldkirch, Austria, and the International Meeting of Brass Instruments in Lille, France. He is a founding member of the Summit Brass ensemble at the Rafael Mendez Brass Institute in Tempe, Arizona. In 2002 Mr. Alessi was awarded an International Trombone Association Award for his contributions to the world of trombone music and trombone playing.
Mr. Alessi is currently on the faculty of The Juilliard School; his students now occupy posts with many major symphony orchestras in the U.S. and internationally. As a clinician for the Edwards Instrument Co., he has also given master classes throughout the world and has toured Europe extensively as a master teacher and recitalist. He has performed as soloist with several leading concert bands, including the U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point, U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own), and the U.S. Marine Band (President's Own).
Mr. Alessi’s discography includes many releases on the Summit record label, including the recent Trombonastics, and a disc with New York Philharmonic Principal Trumpet Philip Smith entitled Fandango; he also recorded New York Legends on the Cala label. His live recording of the Rouse Concerto with the New York Philharmonic can be heard on Volume II of the recent release, An American Celebration, on New York Philharmonic Special Editions, the Orchestra’s own recording label. Three new recordings are scheduled for release in 2007: Return to Sorrento, on the Naxos record label, and two recordings on the Summit record label that feature Mr. Alessi with Columbus State University Wind Ensemble and the Imperial Brass Band. In addition, conductor/composer Bramwell Tovey recently recorded a piece written especially for Mr. Alessi, entitled Urban Cabaret with Mr. Alessi as soloist.
Mr. Alessi was invited by the International Trombone Association to record a solo disc of newly composed works, which was distributed to the Association’s membership of 5,000 trombonists in early 1999 and is now available as Beyond the End of the Century through Summit Records. Recently, his recording of George Crumb’s Starchild on the Bridge record label, featuring Mr. Alessi as soloist, won a Grammy Award for 1999–2000. Other recordings featuring Mr. Alessi are with the Canadian Brass (Sony Classical and Philips Records). Further information about Mr. Alessi can be found on his website, www.slidearea.com.
Prof. Peter Ellefson
Faculty - Fellows Coordinator
Trombonist Peter Ellefson grew up in southern Oregon and now holds the rank of Professor of Music at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where he is also Chair of the Brass Department. He has performed, recorded and toured internationally with the Chicago Symphony and the New York Philharmonic. He has also performed with the Boston, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, National and Oregon Symphonies, among many others. From 1992-2002, he was a member of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, where he made dozens of recordings, playing trombone, euphonium and bass trumpet. Prof. Ellefson served as principal trombone for many cycles of Seattle Opera’s renowned productions of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. Also during his time in Seattle, he recorded music for over 100 motion picture, IMAX, TV and video game soundtracks, working with such composers as Elmer Bernstein, Bill Conti, Michael Giacchino, James Newton Howard, Michael Kamen and Basil Poledouris. He has also backed entertainers as diverse as Linda Ronstadt (as lead trombone in the Nelson Riddle Orchestra), Burt Bacharach, Frank Sinatra Jr., Ray Charles, James Taylor, Manhattan Transfer and YES.
Prof. Ellefson has given concerto performances of works by Bloch, Bourgeois, Deemer, Dorsey, Grøndahl, Guilmant, Kazik, Larsson, Mackey, Maslanka, Pryor, Pugh, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rouse, Serocki and Tomasi. Additionally, composers Anthony Barfield, James Stephenson and Kevin Walczyk have written concertos for him. His chamber music credits include the Canadian Brass, Chicago Chamber Musicians, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass, Chicago Trombone Consort, Chicago Brass Quintet, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, New York Philharmonic Brass Quintet, Proteus 7 and the Trombones de Costa Rica. Prof. Ellefson has taught at Northwestern University, Roosevelt University, the University of Costa Rica and the Music Academy of the West. He is a contributing author to “The Brass Player’s Cookbook” and has had articles published in the Journal of the International Trombone Association. His first solo CD, “Pura Vida” was released in 2010 and a new solo CD “À la manière de Defaye" will be released in February, 2017. His Internet home can be found at www.peterellefson.com.
Dr. Jonathan Whitaker
Faculty - Auditor Coordinator
University of Alabama
Dr. Jonathan Whitaker joined the faculty of the University of Alabama in the fall of 2009. At Alabama, Dr. Whitaker’s students have been tremendously successful in national and international solo competitions including the Eastern Trombone Workshop National Solo Competition, the International Trombone Association’s solo competitions and the Alessi Seminar. The University of Alabama Trombone Choir has given performances at the 2010 Eastern Trombone Workshop, the 2011 International Trombone Festival in Nashville, TN and the 2013 International Trombone Festival in Columbus, GA. Dr. Whitaker has also appeared as a performer and clinician at the Eastern Trombone Workshop twice and two International Trombone Festivals. Dr. Whitaker is in great demand as a guest artist and has appeared at some of the most prestigious music schools in the country including The Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, Yale University, Indiana University and many more.
As a soloist, Dr. Whitaker can be heard on numerous recordings including the 2013 release of his debut solo recording entitled “Nature’s Gift” with pianist Kevin Chance. He is a featured soloist on two recordings with the University of Alabama Wind Ensemble that include Anthony Barfield’s “Red Sky” and David Maslanka’s Concerto fro Trombone and Wind Ensemble. These recordings are available at www.jonathanwhitakercom.
In 2013, Dr. Whitaker gave the world premiere of Jim Stephenson’s Three Bones Concerto commissioned for the University of Alabama Wind Ensemble along with Mr. Joseph Alessi and Prof. Peter Ellefson. He also performed the work at the 2013 Eastern Trombone Workshop with the United States Army Band “The Pershing’s Own”, again with Mr. Alessi and Prof. Ellefson.
In 2012, Dr. Whitaker made his Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist at the New York Wind Band Festival. He has appeared as a soloist with all of the wind groups at Indiana University, the Augustana College Symphonic Band, the Purdue University Symphony Orchestra, the Henderson State University Wind Ensemble and performed a premier performance of John Mackey’s Harvest: Concerto for Trombone with the University of Alabama Wind Ensemble in the fall of 2010. He also performed the American premier of Johan de Meij’s T-Bone Concerto with the Murray State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble.
Dr. Whitaker has performed with the New York Philharmonic on two separate occasions. In 2012, he performed on the orchestra’s Opening Gala that was broadcast on Live from Lincoln Center on PBS with music director Alan Gilbert. In 2011, he performed on concerts featuring Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting. Dr. Whitaker is currently Principal Trombone of the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra. He performs regularly with the Alabama Symphony, Harrisburg Symphony (PA), Mobile Symphony (AL) and has also held positions and performed with the Arkansas Symphony, Pine Bluff Symphony (AR), Shreveport Symphony (LA), South Arkansas Symphony, Duluth-Superior Symphony (MN), Owensboro Symphony (KY), Evansville Philharmonic (IN), Richmond Symphony (IN), Jackson Symphony (TN) and the Paducah Symphony (KY).
As a chamber musician, Dr. Whitaker can be heard on Dee Stewart’s CD entitled D+ (Dee Plus) performing with the Indiana University Trombone Faculty and on two recordings by the Stentorian Consort Trombone Quartet. He is also a founding member of the Australis Brass Quintet.
Dr. Whitaker serves on the faculty of the Alessi Seminar. In 2005, he was selected as one of sixteen participants for the Seminar and was a featured soloist twice that year. From 2005-2013, Dr. Whitaker served as the chief administrator for the Seminar and is honored to now be on the faculty.
Dr. Whitaker holds degrees in trombone performance from Murray State University and the University of Minnesota and the Doctor of Music degree in Brass Pedagogy at Indiana University where he served as Associate Instructor of Trombone from 2001-2004. Dr. Whitaker’s primary teachers include Mr. Ray Conklin, Mr. Tom Ashworth, Mr. M. Dee Stewart, Prof. Peter Ellefson and Mr. Joseph Alessi with additional studies with Mr. Arnold Jacobs, Mr. Edward Kleinhammer, Mr. Michael Mulcahy, Mr. Charlie Vernon and Mr. Douglas Wright. Dr. Jonathan Whitaker is an Edwards Performing Artist and plays Griego Mouthpieces.
Prof. Henry Henniger
Faculty and Host - High School Class
University of Oregon
Prof. Henry Henniger joined the University of Oregon faculty as assistant professor of trombone in the fall of 2010. Previously, he held faculty teaching positions at Oregon State University and Linfield College. Henry started his musical career at Indiana University, where he received his bachelors in trombone performance. His masters was received at Manhattan School of Music were he was a member of the prestigous Orchestral Performance program. Upon graduating with his masters, Henry was also awarded the John Clark Award, given for excellence in brass performance.
Active as a soloist and orchestral musician, Prof. Henniger is principal trombone of the Eugene Symphony, Portland Opera, and the Oregon Ballet Theatre. He also performs frequently with the SunRiver music festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Oregon Symphony, Spokane Symphony, and the Seattle Sympony. Prof. Henniger has been a featured soloist with several orchestras and wind ensembles throughout the region including Central Oregon Symphony, Linfield College Wind Ensemble, Oregon State Wind Ensemble, University of Portland, University of Oregon and the Vancouver Symphony (WA). As a chamber musician, Prof. Henniger performed with Axiom Brass, Imprial Brass, and currently with the University of Oregon Brass Quintet. While playing with Imperial Brass, Prof. Henniger recorded under Summit Records and was featured as a soloist on their Bone-A-Fide Brass album with guest soloist Mr. Joseph Alessi, principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic. Prof. Henniger has also recorded under Sun King Productions, Emeritus Records and Orange mountain Music labels.
Equally active as a music educator, Prof. Henniger is in demand as a guest artist and clinician throughout the nation. Most recently, Prof. Henniger has given guest recitals and master classes at Colorado State University, University of Wyoming, University of Colorado, Louisiana State University, Alabama University, Southern Mississippi University, Drake University, and University of Missouri. Prof. Henniger has also performed in Guanzhau, China for the Xinghai Conservatory and for the Macau Band Directors Association in Macau China. In addition, Henry has held faculty positions at the Young Musicians and Artists Seminar (OR), and the Wollowa Lake Brass Camp(OR).
Through the years Prof. Henniger has been fortunate to study with some of the most legendary brass virtuosi, including Mr. Scott Hartman, Mr. Carl Lenthe, Mr. David Finlayson, Mr. Per Brevig, Prof. Peter Ellefson, and Mr. Joseph Alessi.