Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director Franz Welser-Möst Appoint Brian Wendel as Principal Trombone


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

Brian Wendel joined the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) as Principal Trombone in 2017. Winner of the International Music 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, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic Brass Ensemble and has performed as a soloist with the Vancouver and Prince George Symphonies and 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 Orchestra Institute; and the Alessi Seminary, and he was an inaugural member of the Carnegie Hall National Youth Orchestra in 2013 in the United States. In the summer of 2019, Brian was invited back to the 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. Beginning the piano at the age of six and the trombone at the age of nine, Brian studied classical music and jazz and, in high school, he studied at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. Some of Brian’s early musical mentors include David Sporny, Norman Bolter, Andy Jaffe and his father, Renato Wendel. Outside of music, Brian loves to travel where and when he can and has loved exploring British Columbia. Now, along with his wife (and violist) Karen and their two young boys, they’re all excited for many new adventures in Cleveland.

Passionate about teaching and solo performance, Brian is a featured soloist and clinician at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music in 2022. In 2019, Brian was appointed Adjunct Professor of Trombone at the University of the British Columbia (UBC) and has given master classes at Indiana University, Alessi Seminar Asia, Long Siew Tow Conservatory (Singapore) and the University of Toronto, performing as a soloist in many of these programs. During his time with the VSO, he enjoyed teaching at the VSO’s orchestral training program, the Orchestral Institute, as well as through VSO Connects, an outreach program for high school students in British Columbia. In 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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