Boston Brass Quintet – Biographies

Season listing | Biographies | Program

About Boston Brass

For 30 years, Boston Brass has set out to establish a one-of-a-kind musical experience. From exciting classical arrangements, to burning jazz standards, and the best of the original brass quintet repertoire, Boston Brass treats audiences to a unique brand of entertainment, which captivates all ages. The ensemble’s lively repartee, touched with humor and personality, attempts to bridge the ocean of classical formality to delight audiences in an evening of great music and boisterous fun. The philosophy of Boston Brass is to provide audiences with a wide selection of musical styles in unique arrangements, provided in a friendly and fun atmosphere. Through over 100 performances each year, the members of Boston Brass play to audiences at concerts, educational venues and jazz festivals. In addition to solo performances, Boston Brass regularly performs with orchestras, bands, marching bands, organ, jazz bands and a variety of other ensembles. They have performed in 49 states and 30 countries and have conducted master classes around the world including sessions and residencies at the Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School, Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Peabody Conservatory of Music, University of North Texas, Royal Academy of Music in London, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory at the National University of Singapore and Mahidol University in Bangkok. jeffTeachingBoston Brass along with Jupiter Band Instruments are ambassadors for the Give A Note Foundation, giving musical instruments to schools in need. They have been featured educators and performers at the Mid West Band and Orchestra Clinic, World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, Music Educators National Conference events, American Bandmaster Association Conference, The American Band College, Western International band Clinic and at the Texas Bandmasters Association Convention. Since 2006, Boston Brass has served as Artist/Educational Ambassadors for XO Professional Brass Instruments. Boston Brass has been featured on The CBS Early Show, National Public Radio’s Performance Today, The Great American Brass Band Festival and has recorded several diverse albums. Their newest recording,Rewired, features new and exciting classical and jazz arrangements. Latin Nights, features a collection of some of the greatest classical and jazz works by Latin composers and performers and features the legendary drummer Steve Gadd, the beautiful voice of Talita Real, percussion and guitar. Other albums include Ya Gotta Try, featuring music from Horace Silver, Chick Corea and Dizzy Gillespie, produced by legendary jazz recording genius Rudy van Gelder and Within Earshot, featuring classical works by Shostakovich, Ginastera, Dvorak, Liszt and others. Boston Brass has two holiday recordings, Christmas Bells are Swingin’, and The Stan Kenton Christmas Carols, featuring the Boston Brass All-Stars Big Band playing the truly phenomenal charts made popular by the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Boston Brass tours a vibrant holiday show each year featuring many of the charts from these two albums, combined with a variety of solo and combo selections and some fun surprises, which has quickly established the show as a perennial audience favorite.

2011 marked the 25th Anniversary of Boston Brass and was celebrated with the “25 Fanfares Project,” wherein 25 fanfares were premiered by composers from all over the country. Boston Brass also premiered a new major commission by noted wind ensemble composer Brian Balmages and new arrangements by the legendary Sam Pilafian. Additionally, Boston Brass was very excited to have the opportunity to collaborate in the 2010/2011 season with the fabulous Imani Winds in a program entitled “Sketches of Spain,” featuring the music of Miles Davis and Gil Evans. In the 2012/2013 season the quintet began touring their “Notes from the Balcony” program with the Enso String Quartet. The program features music based on “Romeo and Juliet”

Jeff Conner, Trumpet

Jeff ConnorJeff Conner is the only original member of Boston Brass. He founded the group with some fellow Boston musicians while a student at Boston University and has engineered the meteoric rise of this ensemble’s fame in the world of popular chamber music. Jeff received his master’s degree in Music from Boston University and his bachelor’s degree in music from Boston Conservatory. He has presented his Entreprenurial Clinic, “The Portfolio Musician” at The Yale School of Music, New England Conservatory of Music, Boston Conservatory of Music, Belmont School of Music, University of South Carolina, University of Las Vegas, University of Missouri, Syracuse University, Kansas State University, University fo Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas City Conservatory and the Indiana Music Educators Conference. He is co-author of “The Portfolio Musician, Case Studies in Success” with Grammy Nominated Musician John Laverty

Jose Sibaja, Trumpet

Jose Sibaja Jose brings an incredible level of artistry, humor and personality to Boston Brass. A native of Costa Rica, he studied at the New World School of the Arts and at the University of Miami in Gilbert Johnson’s studio. He held positions in the Miami Symphony, the Sinfonieta de Caracas and the Orquesta Sinfonica Venezuela and has performed as soloist with the Springfield Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica Venezuela, and Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Costa Rica. Jose is active in South Florida’s Latin music scene and toured the world extensively in Ricky Martin’s band for eight years . He appears in more than 150 commercial recordings with artists such as Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan, Alejandro Sanz. Jose has performed on Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Saturday Night Live and the Grammys.

Chris Castellanos, Horn

Chris NewA lifelong resident of Las Vegas, Chris Castellanos received his formal education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Chris is a former member of the Dallas Brass and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, with whom he has also been a soloist. In addition Chris has shared the stage many times with the Utah Symphony, Miami Ballet, Rodney Marsalis Philidelphia Big Brass, Nevada Chamber Orchestra, Las Vegas Jazz Connection, and the TAD Wind Symphony of Japan.

As a top call freelancer, Chris has played over 1700 performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular” and additional performances with Disney’s “The Lion King” and the musical “Spamalot”. Chris has backed countless headliners on the Las Vegas Strip. Most notably – Frank Sinatra Jr., Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Peter Cetera, Peabo Bryson, Kenny G, Robert Goulet, Olivia Newton-John, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Michel Legrand, Mannheim Steamroller, Yes, Josh Groban, Michael Bublé, Charlotte Church, Ricky Martin at the Latin Grammys and David Foster (“Hit Man” live album and DVD). He has also toured with Andrea Bocelli.

As an educator, Chris has performed and given masterclasses and clinics in every state of the US, as well as 30 countries. These include The Juilliard School, New England Conservatory of Music, The Sibelius Academy in Finland, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, The Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, The Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic and the Texas Bandmasters Association, to name but a few.

Domingo Pagliuca, Trombone


A native of Venezuela, trombonist Domingo Pagliuca has performed as Associate Principal Trombonist of the Orquesta Sinfonica Venezuela for thirteen years and also served as a member of the Artistic Committee. Among his teaching positions, he was trombone professor of the Simon Bolivar Music Conservatory, as well as trombone professor of “EL SISTEMA,” the Simon Bolivar Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela’s musical and orchestral program. He has presented master classes in universities and music festivals in the United States, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Germany, Austria, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Thailand, and Hong Kong.

In 2008, Domingo was appointed Principal Trombonist of the Miami Symphony Orchestra from 2008 – 2013. In addition, he is the Principal Trombonist of the Florida Grand Opera Orchestra and Palm Beach Symphony Orchestra. His versatility as a Latin music player has made him one of the most in-demand trombonists in Venezuela and Latin America for recording sessions and musical productions in the commercial business. He has toured throughout the US, Latin America and Europe with the OSV and artists such as Franco De Vita, Juan Luis Guerra & 4:40, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Luis Enrique, Raphael, and Oscar D’Leon.

He was invited to Peru as guest Faculty to the First Music Festival of the REALMUSIC foundation. In 2011 he participated in the Latin Grammy Winner Album “EN PRIMERA FILA” by FRANCO DE VITA, as trombonist, arranger and Brass Post-Producer receving 4 Latin Grammy Winner Certificates as well as receiving another Latin Grammy Certicate for the 2013 Best Rock Album appearence in “SERA” by LA VIDA BOHEME. He was the trombone Professor at Florida International University from 2011 to 2015. In October 2015, will perform as guest soloist at Kansas State University, where he will premier The Beckel Trombone concerto in Kansas State. Currently, he is working on his solo CD among his artistic projects.

Sam Pilafian, Tuba

Renowned tuba artist Sam Pilafian, B.M. ’72, joined the Frost School of Music faculty at the start of the 2012-2013 academic year. In addition to his private teaching, he is the faculty mentor to the Stamps Brass Quintet. Pilafian was named Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Miami Frost School of Music in 1996 and is perhaps best known as a founding member of the internationally renowned Empire Brass Quintet. Versatile in both classical and jazz realms, Pilafian has recorded and performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Lionel Hampton, and Pink Floyd. As a solo jazz artist, Pilafian has recorded fifteen CDs. He was also a member of the large brass ensemble Summit Brass. He is an arranger, composer and recording producer and is the coauthor of the best selling pedagogy texts “Breathing Gym” and “Brass Gym.” Sam Pilafian was formerly professor of music in the ASU Herberger College School of Music, having previously served for 20 years on the faculties of Boston University and their summer Tanglewood Institute. As a past president and chairman of the board of the International Tuba Euphonium Association, Pilafian now serves on its board of directors.