Bob Brookmeyer taught at NEC from 1997 to 2007, and created NEC's Jazz Composers' Workshop Orchestra. Brookmeyer died December 15, 2011, a few weeks before what would have been his 82nd birthday.
Brookmeyer's career in jazz began when he arrived in New York in 1952 and played with Claude Thornhill, Woody Herman, Teddy Charles, and Charles Mingus. In 1953 he joined Stan Getz, followed by a long stay with Gerry Mulligan, and then by the Jimmy Giuffre Three and his own quintet with Clark Terry. He played and composed for the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra beginning with its founding in 1965, and after ten years in California returned as musical director for Mel Lewis and the Jazz Orchestra. Beginning in 1981 he became very active as a composer, conductor, teacher, and performer in Europe, working in both classical and jazz idioms. His work as a composer was recognized with a succession of NEA jazz composition grants, and in 2006 he was named an NEC Jazz Master. In 1994 he was appointed musical director of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival Big Band, a worldwide jazz-based ensemble dedicated to new music. This ensemble has become the New Art Orchestra, which recorded an award-winning CD and, after completing a second one, began concert touring in 2001. He was commissioned by The 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic to write a piece for an EMI CD, featuring the German trumpet player, Till Broenner.
Studies, Kansas City Conservatory; hon. D.M., University of Missouri/Kansas City. Recordings on ACT, ArtistShare, Columbia, Gryphon, Mainstream, Mercury, Solid State, Storyville, United Artists, Verve, Vogue, EMI. Also musical director of the BMI Composers Workshop (New York), and similar workshops in Cologne and Copenhagen. Former faculty of Manhattan School of Music and the Rotterdam Conservatory.
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photo by Paul Foley