Brass-E5 Biographies

 Season Listing | Program | Biographies

Marc Reese, Trumpet

Internationally acclaimed trumpeter Marc Reese joined the Empire Brass in 1996.  Mr. Reese maintains a busy schedule as a chamber musician and soloist touring extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and the Far East.  Highly regarded as an orchestral musician, Mr. Reese has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and Boston Symphony Orchestra.  He is a frequent performer and teacher at the world’s great summer festivals including Marlboro, Tanglewood, and the Pacific Music Festival.  He has also created dozens of new arrangements for both the trumpet and the brass quintet.  In addition to recording for Telarc with the Empire Brass, Mr. Reese has recorded for Sony with the Boston Pops and has been featured on the Naxos label with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.  He has performed on PBS’ Evening at Pops, and has appeared on Japan’s NHK TV.   As an educator Mr. Reese serves as Assistant Dean and Head of the Brass Department for Lynn University’s Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton, FL.  He conducts master classes throughout the world as a Bach trumpet artist and clinician.  Mr. Reese has contributed articles to multiple brass publications and is the contributing editor of the International Trumpet Guild Journal’s Chamber Connection.  He received his B.M. from Boston University as a student of Roger Voisin, was a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and went on to receive his M.M. from the New England Conservatory studying with Tim Morrison.  Mr. Reese currently resides in South Florida with his wife, pianist Lisa Leonard.

Chris Gekker, Trumpet

Chris Gekker is Professor of Trumpet at the University of Maryland School of Music and currently lives in the Washington, DC area.  He has been featured as soloist at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.  After performances of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 at Carnegie Hall, the New York Times praised his “bright virtuosity” and described his playing as “clear toned and pitch perfect.”  Chris appears as soloist on more than thirty recordings and on more than one hundred chamber music, orchestral, and jazz recordings.  Chris is one of the featured artists on Deutsche Grammophon’s 2005 compilation “Masters of the Trumpet.”

Chris was a member of the American Brass Quintet for eighteen years, and on the faculties of the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and Columbia University.  He was principal trumpet with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, frequently performed and recorded as principal with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and often a guest with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.  He has been a guest principal with the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Santa Fe Opera.  In the Washington DC area, Chris serves as principal trumpet of the National Philharmonic at Strathmore, is a member of the Washington Symphonic Brass and performs regularly with the Post Classical Ensemble and Wolf Trap Opera.  Chris was born in Washington D.C., grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, and is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the University of Maryland.  His teachers include Emerson Head, Sidney Mere, Adel Sanchez, and Gerard Schwarz.

Gregory Miller, French Horn

Equally at home as a soloist, teacher, chamber musician, and symphonic horn player, Gregory Miller is one of the most accomplished horn players of his generation.  As hornist with the internationally acclaimed Empire Brass, Mr. Miller has performed in nearly every major concert hall in the world, including Carnegie Hall, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Tokyo Opera City, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg.  His recordings with Empire Brass include Firedance and The Glory of Gabrieli.  A 2009 recipient of a Creative And Performing Arts Grant (CAPA), Mr. Miller, in collaboration with trumpeter Chris Gekker and trombonist Matthew Guilford, recorded a brass trio album of works by American composers on the Albany Records label entitled Brass Trios.

Mr. Miller joined the faculty at the University of Maryland School of Music in the Fall of 2000 and was appointed Chair of the Wind and Percussion Division in 2005.  In addition, Mr. Miller is a faculty Artist-in-Residence at the Lynn Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton, Florida.

His orchestral experience includes principal positions with the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, and the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra.  He has also performed with the Detroit, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, National,and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras.  He is a clinician for Conn-Selmer Musical Instruments and performs exclusively on the CONN 8D.

A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Mr. Miller began his studies with Larry Miller.  He went on to receive his BM in Horn Performance from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music where he studied with Robert Fries, former co-principal horn of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Mr. Miller makes his home in Silver Spring, Maryland and Boca Raton, Florida with his wife, violinist Laura Hilgeman, and their six children.

Mark Hetzler, Trombone

Born in Sarasota, Florida in 1968, Mark Hetzler began playing his dad’s trombone at the age of twelve.  He went on to receive a B.M. from Boston University and an M.M. from the New England Conservatory of Music. Mark was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and completed a three-year fellowship with the New World Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. As a member of the Empire Brass Quintet from 1996-2012, Mark performed in recital and as a soloist with symphony orchestras throughout the world.  He has appeared with the group on live television and radio broadcasts in Asia and the United States, and appears on several Empire Brass CDs on the Telarc label, including Firedance, The Glory of Gabrieli, and a recording of Baroque music for Brass and Organ.

Mark has released six solo recordings on the Summit record label, including his recent projects Dynamic Elements (featuring innovative works for solo trombone with interactive computer technology and digital effects processing) and Three Views (a collection of chamber works for trombone, piano and percussion).  Mark is also active as a composer and arranger.  Former Principal Trombone of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Mark has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops and the Florida Orchestra.  Mark is a Valade Fellow teaching trombone and chamber music at the Interlochen Summer Arts Festival.  He is the Associate Professor of Trombone at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a member of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet.

Kenneth Amis, Tuba

Kenneth Amis was born and raised in Bermuda. He began playing the piano at a young age and upon entering high school took up the tuba and developed an interest in performing and writing music.  A Suite for Bass Tuba, composed when he was only fifteen, marked his first published work.  A year later, at age sixteen, he enrolled in Boston University where he majored in composition.  After graduating from Boston University he attended the New England Conservatory of Music where he received his Masters Degree in composition.

An active composer, Mr. Amis has been commissioned to write for the annual Cohen Wing opening at Symphony Hall in Boston, the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, the University of Scranton, the College Band Directors National Association and a consortium of twenty universities and music organizations.

Audiences around the world have enjoyed Mr. Amis’s music through performances by such groups as the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Academy of Music Symphonic Winds, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Center Orchestra of Ottawa.

Mr. Amis has performed as a soloist with the English Chamber Orchestra and has been a member of the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra and the New World Symphony Orchestra.  His performance skills are showcased on many commercial records distributed internationally.

Mr. Amis has served on the faculties of Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and the Pacific Music Festival in Japan.  In 2003 Mr. Amis became the youngest recipient of New England Conservatory of Music’s “Outstanding Alumni Award.”

Mr. Amis is presently the tuba player of the Empire Brass Quintet, the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra and a performing artist for Besson instruments.  He also serves as the assistant conductor for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Wind Ensemble, tuba professor at Boston University, Boston Conservatory, Longy School of Music, New England Conservatory and is tuba professor and wind ensemble director at the Conservatory at Lynn University.