Brian Wendel, photo credit © Tyler Garnham

Today, The Cleveland Orchestra announced that Music Director Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra have appointed Brian Wendel as principal trombone beginning August 22. He will hold the Gilbert W. and Louise I. Humphrey Chair.

About Brian Wendel
Brian Wendel joined the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) as Principal Trombone in 2017. Winner of the Music International Grand Prix—Winds and Brass category (2021), Online Trombone Competition (2020), Alessi Seminar Asia Competition (2018) and two International Trombone Association competitions (2014 and 2016), Brian has performed with the Seattle Symphony, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic Brass Ensemble and has appeared as a soloist with the Vancouver and Prince George Symphonies as well as the Juilliard Trombone Choir. He has worked with conductors Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Esa-Pekka Salonen, David Robertson, Alan Gilbert, Jaap Van Zweden, and Valery Gergiev, among others, performing and recording in venues around the world. Brian received his bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School, where he was a scholarship student of Joseph Alessi.

As a student, Brian spent summers as an Orchestral Fellow at the Music Academy of the West; Pacific Music Festival; American Institute for Musical Studies in Graz, Austria; the National Orchestral Institute; and the Alessi Seminar, and he was an inaugural member of the Carnegie Hall’s 2013 National Youth Orchestra of the USA. In summer 2019, Brian was invited to return to Pacific Music Festival as a distinguished alumnus to take part in the festival’s 30th anniversary performances of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony.

Brian grew up in the rural town of Conway, Massachusetts. Starting on the piano at age six and the trombone at age nine, Brian studied both classical and jazz music and in high school was a student at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. Some of Brian’s early musical mentors include David Sporny, Norman Bolter, Andy Jaffe, and his dad, Renato Wendel. Outside of music Brian loves to travel wherever and whenever he can and has loved exploring British Columbia. Now, together with his wife (and violist) Karen, and their two young boys, they are all excited for many new adventures in Cleveland.

Passionate about teaching and performing in solo settings, Brian is a featured soloist and clinician at the Lamont School of Music at Denver University in 2022. In 2019, Brian was appointed as Adjunct Professor of Trombone at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and has taught masterclasses at Indiana University, Alessi Seminar Asia, the Long Siew Tow Conservatory (Singapore), and the University of Toronto, performing as a soloist at several of these programs. During his time with the VSO, he has enjoyed teaching at VSO’s orchestral training program, the Orchestral Institute, as well as through VSO Connects, an outreach program for high schoolers in British Columbia. In the realm of chamber music, Brian has performed at the United Nations, Madison Square Garden, Rogers Arena, and the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC. He has also performed with the VSO Brass Quintet.

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