Wind, Brass, Percussion Ensembles

In addition to participation in NEC's orchestras and chamber music ensembles, there are specialized ensembles available to woodwind, brass, and percussion instrument majors.

Charles Peltz Director of Wind Ensemble Activities
William Drury Associate Conductor of Wind Ensembles
Will Hudgins Director, NEC Percussion Ensemble

NEC Wind Ensembles

NEC Wind Ensemble

For over 50 years, the NEC Wind Ensemble has maintained its reputation as one of the premier ensembles of its kind through its Jordan Hall performances, recordings and appearances at major venues. Conducted by Charles Peltz, the Wind Ensemble provides students the opportunity to play a broad range of pieces and instrumentation.  It was founded by Faculty Emeritus Frank Battisti.

The ensemble has premiered or commissioned many works including those by Colgrass, Schuller, Harbison, Gandolfi, Mingus, Brookmeyer, Previn, Brubeck, Lang, and a host of others.  In addition, the Wind Ensemble has appeared by invitation at Carnegie Hall and the National Arts Center of Canada.

The repertoire of the wind ensembles makes for a distinct learning experience. Ranging from Gabrieli to Cage, Mozart to Xenakis, Lully to Ellington, students experience this diversity of musical styles which instills a confidence for them to be well prepared for any musical opportunity in the future.

Every year, faculty make regular appearances with the ensembles as soloists, and, through the Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition, students have the opportunity for a solo performance, as well.


NEC Symphonic Winds

The NEC Symphonic Winds, conducted by William Drury, performs woodwind, brass, and percussion repertoire from the Renaissance through the present day for octet to full wind ensemble. In addition to the annual four concerts in Jordan Hall, the group has an extensive recording output, with CD’s on Albany, Mark Records and MSR Classics. The recording of Richard Toensing’s Whitman Tropes recently won The American Prize Ernst Bacon Award for American Music. A review of the recording reads: “the student musicians of the New England Conservatory Symphonic Winds must obey some very soft dynamics—that a band composed mainly of freshmen and sophomores can play this softly and with real subtlety is very commendable. Conductor William Drury fully provides a classical-music level of interpretation rare among symphonic winds.”

NEC Brass Ensembles

Brass Bash

NEC's annual Brass Bash is a Jordan Hall concert that puts the spotlight on current and former Boston Symphony Orchestra members who teach at NEC, along with their students—often performing side by side. Students enrolled in Horn Class, Trumpet Class, Trombone Class, and Tuba Class perform in Brass Bash.

NEC Percussion Ensemble

NEC Percussion Ensemble, conducted by Will Hudgins, performs twice a year in Jordan Hall and makes appearances throughout Boston.

The repertoire has included premieres of works by Irwin Bazelon, Elliott Carter, Peter Child, Edward Cohen, John Harbison, Jennifer Higdon, Fred Lerdahl, Robert Rodriguez, Felicia Sandler, Gunther Schuller, and Joan Tower. Most of these works appear on the two Naxos CDs released under the American Music for Percussion banner in 2011.

Guest artists appear occasionally with the ensemble, and there are opportunities for solo performances.

The ensemble is open to all percussionists.