About Chris

About Chris


Grammy-nominated composer Chris Brubeck continues to distinguish himself as an innovative performer and composer.  An award-winning composer, he is clearly tuned into the pulse of contemporary music.  John von Rhein, music critic for The Chicago Tribune, calls Chris:  “a composer with a real flair for lyrical melody–a 21st Century Lenny Bernstein.” 

Chris has created an impressive body of symphonic work while maintaining a demanding touring and recording schedule with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet (with brother Dan on drums). The  BBQ’s  second Koch recording, Classified features Chris’s composition for woodwind quintet and the BBQ, “Vignettes for Nonet.” This innovative fusion of classical and jazz genres is performed with the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds.  Reviewing “Vignettes” , the JazzTimes wrote:  “The integration of reeds and jazz quartet is picture-perfect, cinematic in scope and often breathtakingly beautiful.”  

Chris is a much sought-after composer, and in the last few years has been commissioned to  write many innovative works.   2013 will see the premiere of two new children’s pieces written by Chris:  The Hermitage Cats Save the Day, a Russian-American cooperative project about the cats in the Hermitage Museum and featuring visuals, musicians and actors.   In May, Chris’s symphonic work based on the George Selden book  The Cricket in Times Square premieres in Washington, DC.  Commissioned by the Kennedy Center, it will be performed by the National Symphony Orchestra and guest soloist Nick Kendall, with Steve Reineke conducting.  Nick Kendall is also part of the amazing string trio, Time for Three, for which Chris wrote a concerto in March, 2010.  That piece, “Travels in Time for Three” was commissioned by a consortium of 8 orchestras including performances by  The Boston Pops (in Symphony Hall and in Carnegie Hall), the Indianapolis Symphony, the Portland Symphony and several others.  April, 2009 marked the premiere of “Ansel Adams: America”, an exciting orchestral piece Chris and Dave Brubeck wrote accompanying 100 of Ansel Adams’ majestic images being projected above the orchestra. The piece was nominated for a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition, and was the last piece Chris and his father collaborated on.   Among some of Chris’s other commissions are:   “Quiet Heroes: A Symphonic Salute to the Flagraisers at Iwo Jima”, a moving piece for full orchestra and narrator; “Mark Twain’s World: A Symphonic Journey with Genuine Thespians” (a genre-breaking piece for orchestra and actors based on the life of Mark Twain) and  the exciting “Interplay for 3 Violins and Orchestra,” with performances by violinists Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg (classical), Eileen Ivers (Irish) and Regina Carter (jazz). Chris’s second Boston Pops commission, it was broadcast on PBS “Evening at Pops” and won Chris an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for best composition for television broadcast.

Chris’s second symphonic CD, Convergence, on Koch International Classics features the Czech National Symphony Orchestra and is entirely comprised of Chris’s original compositions including Frederica von Stade singing “River of Song”, together with the title composition, “Convergence”, a piece commissioned by the Boston Pops to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Symphony Hall. The CD also includes Chris performing his second major trombone work, “Prague Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra”. (His first trombone concerto was recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra on the Koch release, Bach to Brubeck.) Reviewing Convergence, Fanfare Magazine wrote: “Brubeck’s skill both as composer and soloist is extraordinary.”  In July, 2006, Chris served as composer-in-residence at the Henry Mancini Institute in Los Angeles, where he also performed his Prague Concerto with the HMI Symphony. The L.A. Times reviewed that performance writing it was “a powerful showcase … from dark-toned intimacy to tear-down-the house exuberance.”

During the 70’s Chris began touring and recording with his father, Dave Brubeck.  Chris plays bass, trombone, piano, guitar and sings and has earned international acclaim as composer, performer and leader of his own groups.  On stage his irrepressible enthusiasm is matched by his fluid command of jazz, blues, folk, funk, pop and classical musical styles.  Chris continues to perform and record with his two groups, The Brubeck Brothers Quartet  with brother Dan on drums; and  Chris Brubeck’s Triple Play with Joel Brown on guitar and Peter Madcat Ruth on harmonica.  Chris has worked with many diverse artists, including Frederica von Stade, Ben Luxon, Dawn Upshaw, Bill Crofut, Meryl Streep, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Gerry Mulligan, Bela Fleck, Bobby McFerrin, Stephane Grappelli, Bobby Womack, Tower of Power, and Patti Labelle. His compositions have been performed by orchestras all around the world, including the prominent U.S. orchestras of Boston, Houston, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington as well as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, and the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. Chris’s most recent thrills was performing with his brothers, Darius, Dan and Matthew, in an all-star tribute to their father, Dave Brubeck, as part of Washington’s Kennedy Center Awards, which was televised internationally in December, 2009.

“Chris Brubeck is probably one of the finest performing jazz trombonists around today.”

- DownBeat

"Chris has become one of the most capable electric bassists, delivering imaginative solos."

- Los Angeles Times