Brian Wendel joined the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra as Principal Trombone in 2017. Winner of the Online Trombone Competition (2020), Alessi Seminar Asia Competition (2018) and two International Trombone Association competitions (2014 and 2016), Brian has performed with the Seattle Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic Brass Ensemble and has appeared as a soloist with the Vancouver and Prince George Symphonies as well as the Juilliard Trombone Choir. He has worked with conductors Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Valery Gergiev, Bramwell Tovey, Esa-Pekka Salonen, David Robertson, Alan Gilbert, and Jaap Van Zweden, among others, performing and recording in venues around the world. Brian received his bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School, where he was a scholarship student of Joseph Alessi.
Brian has performed as a solo recitalist and worked with students at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, Alessi Seminar Asia, and University of British Columbia (UBC) School of Music, to name a few. In 2019 Brian was appointed as Adjunct Professor of Trombone at UBC, and has since also been an Associate Instructor for the Alessi Seminar Asia. Brian’s debut solo album, “This is Home”, releases on June 18, 2021, and features music representing his ‘musical home’. Stay tuned for upcoming single releases on May 7 and 28!
In the realm of chamber music, performances have taken him to venues including the United Nations; the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC; Madison Square Garden; and Rogers Arena. He enjoys performing with the VSO Brass Quintet and engaging with audiences through a more intimate setting. As a student, Brian spent summer months as an Orchestral Fellow at the Music Academy of the West; Pacific Music Festival; American Institute for Musical Studies in Graz, Austria; the National Orchestral Institute; and the Alessi Seminar, and he was an inaugural member of the 2013 National Youth Orchestra of the USA. In summer 2019, Brian was invited to return to Pacific Music Festival as a distinguished alumnus to take part in the festival’s 30th anniversary performances of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony.
Brian is passionate about working with students of all ages and backgrounds. In 2018, Brian worked with students at the Alessi Seminar Asia and returned in 2019 as Associate Instructor for the seminar. Since joining the VSO, he has enjoyed teaching at VSO’s orchestral training program, Orchestral Institute, as well as through VSO Connects, an outreach program for high schoolers in British Columbia. The year 2017 marked the beginning of many collaborations with VSO Bass Trombonist, Ilan Morgenstern. Together they formed Vancouver Trombone Week (VTW), a seminar on trombone performance and education, as well as Holiday Slides, a collaborative holiday performance between all willing trombonists of the lower mainland and Vancouver’s finest professional trombonists. As a duo, Brian and Ilan have taught at the UBC’s Brass Fest and have appeared on various news outlets, such as CTV Morning Live and CBC Music, recognized for their influence on the Vancouver trombone and music education scene.
Starting on the piano at age six and the trombone at age nine, Brian studied both classical and jazz music from an early age. Growing up in the rural town of Conway, Massachusetts, he was a student at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School in high school. Some of Brian’s early musical mentors include David Sporny, Norman Bolter, Andy Jaffe, and his dad, Renato Wendel. Outside of music, Brian loves to travel whenever and wherever he can and has been enjoying the sensational nature of British Columbia with his wife and stellar violist, Karen!
Brian is a performing artist for the Edwards Instrument Co.