About Five Borough Brass

Five Borough Brass is a New York City-based ensemble that specializes in classical, Jazz, and pop brass arrangements, perfect for weddings of all faiths, holiday events, private parties, festivals, and corporate events. Our members have played for professional orchestras and ensembles throughout the US, including the New York Philharmonic and Broadway shows, and hold graduate level degrees from the top music schools and conservatories in the US. 

 

Members


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    Steven-Jon Billings is a freelance trumpet player and recording artist in the New York City area. He’s had the honor of playing with renowned Grammy award winning and nominated artists Tye Tribbett (gospel artist), Fred Hammond (gospel artist), Yolanda Adams (gospel artist), Hezekiah Walker (gospel artist), Kim Burrell (gospel artist), Don Byron (clarinetist/composer), Steve Earle (singer-songwriter), Bobby Shew (lead/jazz trumpet player), Ron Miles (trumpeter/recording artist), Bebe Rexha (singer-songwriter), as well as Wayne Horvitz (composer/keyboardist of Naked City), Paul John Jr. and Anthony Miller (Alicia Keys’ longtime drummer and Keyboardist), Marshall Allen (current leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra), James Miller (former Principal Trumpet of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra), Caleb Hudson (Current 2nd Trumpet of the Canadian Brass), Hagar Ben Ari (Current Bassist for The Late Late Show), and Matt Moran (Claudia Quintet, Slovic Soul Part). 

    Steven-Jon has played at New York venues including Radio City Music Hall, The Barclays Center, The Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Natural History, Rockwood Music Hall, National Black Theatre, Harlem Stage, Shapeshifter Lab, Symphony Space, The Bowery Electric, Bargemusic, South Street Seaport’s See/Change, Cipriani, Arlene’s Grocery, Ibeam, The Riverside Church, and The DiMenna Center for Classical Music. He has also played for the CMJ festival, Strobe Networks live broadcast of Morricone Youth’s film score of the great Russian film Battleship Potemkin at Flux Factory, Craig Shepard’s Trumpet Clouds in Madison Square Park and Trumpet City on Park Avenue, Leon Lacey’s “Orchestrated” music video shot at the Palace Theater, and the Waking Windows Festival in Vermont. 

    Steven-Jon has performed with the Garden State Philharmonic, Astoria Symphony Orchestra, Queens College Festival Orchestra, Asian Cultural Center Orchestra, Greenwich Village Orchestra, New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, Manhattan Symphonie, Lakewood Symphony Orchestra, and Longmont Dance Theatre Orchestra. He’s also played Shrek The Musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Cinderella, and lead trumpet for both Royal Caribbean Cruises throughout the Mediterranean and twice with Blue Lake International Jazz Band throughout Europe. 

    As a recording artist, he began recording and producing his musical collaborations when he was 15 years old. He has since worked as a studio musician at incredible NYC studios such as Avatar Studios, Platinum Sound Recording Studios, The Log Cabin Recording Studio, Studio G, and Studio 42. He also played for a film score at Colorado Sound Studios and co-produced a record at Mighty Fine Productions in Denver. 

    Steven-Jon holds a BM in Trumpet Performance from Metropolitan State University of Denver and was a semi-finalist at the 2010 National Trumpet Competition. 

 
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After 12 years in Sarasota, Florida, Andrew has recently returned to NYC and is active in the NYC freelance scene.

Since returning to NYC, Andrew has performed with the New York Philharmonic, American Ballet Theatre, as well as the American Symphony Orchestra.  Other engagements have included playing with the Israel Philharmonic, Radio City Christmas Show, as well as Broadway.  Andrew also performed for the Pope’s 2015 Mass at Madison Square Garden.

Originally from Syosset, NY, Andrew has performed as Principal Trumpet of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra from 2003 – 2015.  During that time he also performed extensively with the Sarasota Orchestra, and served as Co-Principal Trumpet for several years.

Andrew earned his degrees at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with William Vacchiano, former Principal Trumpet of the New York Philharmonic, and Robert Sullivan, current trumpet professor at Northwestern University.  Andrew was also extremely active in the Manhattan School of Music jazz program, splitting performance time between both the jazz and orchestral programs.

Upon graduating, Andrew went on to play with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach.  Other engagements have included the Charleston Symphony, Boston Ballet, and Orchesta Sinfonica de Tenerife.  In addition, he has performed with jazz artists Wynton Marsalis, Arturo Sandoval, and Harry Connick Jr, among others.

 
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John Lake is a trumpet player, composer, and music educator based in New York City. Lake holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music in Jazz and Studio Music, and a Master of Music in Jazz Trumpet from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Additionally, John attended the Banff International Workshop for Jazz and Creative Music in 2010, and has appeared on Jazz89 KUVO Denver as a featured guest. He has performed at the 2012 Jazz Educator Network National Conference, JazzFest Denver 2010, Jazz Peru 2009, The 2008 International Society for Improvised Music Conference, and at Downbeat Magazine’s “Top 100 Jazz Clubs” Dazzle Jazz Restaurant and Lounge in Denver, Colorado, and The Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2011, John was selected as a finalist in the International Trumpet Guild’s bi-annual Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Soloist Competition.

 
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Hailed as "A warm-toned lyrical player” with “harmonic sophistication” (Kirk Silsbee, Downbeat Magazine), James Hall is a versatile trombonist/composer re-imagining professional musicianship for the millennial generation.

Hall’s sophomore release, Lattice (Outside In 2018), described as “a masterpiece of chamber music” (JazzLife Magazine), is built around the harmonious combination of Hall’s dexterous trombone and the virtuosic flute playing of Jamie Baum, a pliable and expressive study in contrasts. Kirk Silsbee praised the work’s “graceful instrumental combinations and linear development” (Downbeat Magazine), and Bob Morello called the work “a tasty treat” and “a potpourri of great tunes” (Boston Post-Gazette).

Previously, Hall blurred the line between classical chamber music and free jazz with Soon We Will Not Be Here (2015), creating original settings of poetry by contemporary New York City-based poets Tina Chang, Paolo Javier, Malena Mörling, and Emily Ruth Hazel for quartet. Premiering at Fridman Gallery in downtown Manhattan, this project found an enthusiastic underground listenership in France, the UK, Belgium, and the US on Taran’s Free Jazz Hour.

When not leading his own projects, Hall is often to be found touring and recording internationally with viral sensation Postmodern Jukebox, with whom he has recorded videos tallying over 80 million YouTube views; or with Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra, whose salsa dura interpretations of indie rock have been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine’s Latin Hot List. Speaking on his aesthetic choices, Hall says “I really believe in the non-musical aspects of music, so I believe in a fun concert experience. I believe in humor. I believe in accessibility even when the music itself is not accessible.”

As a composer and bandleader, James was named a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Competition, won three ASCAPlus Awards for composition, and was a featured performer/composer at the Chelsea Music Festival. James' trombone playing earned third place, runner-up, and honorable mention in the Antti Rissanen, J.J. Johnson, and Carl Fontana International Jazz Trombone Competitions, respectively.

James holds degrees from the Lawrence Conservatory of Music in Wisconsin and Aaron Copland School of Music in New York. His teachers have included Luis Bonilla, Hal Crook, Michael Dease, Nick Keelan, Ed Neumeister, and Fred Sturm.

 
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New York based horn player, Bert Hill, is an active performer who is at home with a wide array of music styles. He has recently been heard in concert with Azlo Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, DCINY Orchestra, Gateway Classical Music Society, Juilliard Orchestra, Sheep Island Ensemble, and The Chelsea Symphony among others. An avid advocate of new music, Mr. Hill is a core member of Ensemble Moto Perpetuo. In addition, he has performed with the Tactus Ensemble under the direction of Jeffery Milarsky, Ensemble Mise-En and many recital and chamber performances of new and contemporary works. He can be heard on the album Journey to Journey, featuring the compositions of Miho Hazama, released on Universal Records (Japan) in 2011. Bert has made solo concerto appearances performing Reinhold Gliere's Horn Concerto, Op. 91, with the Sewanee Summer Music Festival Orchestra and the Schumann Konzertstucke in 2013 with the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble. As an educator, Bert keeps an active studio of private students and works as a section and orchestra coach for InterSchool Orchestras. In 2011 he was on the faculty of the Rodney Mack Big Brass Seminar, held at the Curtis School of Music. His academic degrees in music are from Indiana State and Temple University where his principal teachers were Brian Kilp and Shelly Showers.

 
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Ben Stapp, is one of New York City’s rising stars on the tuba.  His group, the Zozimos, won 1st place in the Bob Stewart Tuba Competition at the 38th Duke Ellington Jazz Festival.  Stapp has performed, recorded, and/or toured with several top-tier ensembles and musicians from a variety of musical disciplines including such groups as Steven Bernstein's Universal Melody Brass Band, ed Baraat, the International Contemporary Ensemble, Eli Yamin Blues Band, ECCE, Slavic Soul Party, New England Symphonic Ensemble, Mino Cinelu's World Jazz Ensemble, Billy Martin, Steven Haynes Quintet, Mario Pavone's Accordion Project, Affinity Brass Quintet, Steven Haynes Quintet(New Atlantis), and Joel Harrison 19(Sunnyside). As a composer, Stapp received the Roulette Large Ensemble Commission and most recently, the Jerome Roulette Commission for his Opera, "Myrrha's Red Book." Stapp as adjunct tuba professor at Mahanaim College.

                                                                FiveBoroughBrass@gmail.com