Trumpet and Brass Choir Instructor
Hall of Music 12
William Berry, winner of the 2003 Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship for music, is a musician whose career encompasses every aspect of the field. He has found success as a performer, composer, arranger, director, producer, writer, and educator. Berry is a member of ASCAP and the American Music Center, the New York advocacy group for composers, and his compositions and arrangements have been commissioned and performed by professional ensembles throughout the country. In 2007 KSPS Public Television produced an edition of Northwest Profiles which focused on Berry and his music., and his music has been featured on CMTV, Spokane’s Community-Minded Television.
Berry is founder and artistic director of Clarion, the 13-member brass choir, which has been performing since 1992. In 2000, Clarion recorded a popular compact disc entirely comprised of Berry’ s Christmas and holiday arrangements, entitled Nutcracker Suite Dreams, and in 2003 released a second recording, Angels, a large-scale work for 2 choruses, brass, percussion, and organ. In 2005, Berry produced a third Clarion disc, A Partridge in a Pear Tree, which was a sequel to NSD. In 2006 he developed a flash animation electronic Christmas card featuring Clarion which attained near- instantaneous world-wide popularity over the internet.
American Carols, a commission by the Cathedral and the Arts Association for a performance by the Spokane Area Children’s Chorus and the Spokane Youth Orchestra in December of 2003 was also released as a professionally produced CD in 2004. American Carols presents definitive settings of 13 obscure but wonderful songs from the American folk tradition from before 1865.
Spots for a Striped Cat, a piece in four movements on my original texts was commissioned for women ’s vocal trio and completed in 2011. Moonlight in a Chamber, a work for horn and harp, was written for and premiered in August of 2007 by Jennifer Scriggins Brummett and Leslie Stratton Norris. Chasing the Light was written as a commission for a new orchestral work to celebrate the opening concert of the Walla Walla Symphony‘s Centennial Season in October 2006. Out of the Sky, a commission for carillon, was premiered in the same month, and December 2006 saw the first performances of a commission from the Cathedral and the Arts Association for the Spokane Area Children’s Chorus, the Eastern Washington University Chamber Choir and the Spokane Youth Orchestra. Songs of Peace is a four-movement work for two choruses and full orchestra on texts written by the young musicians in a symposium and assembled by Berry for the project.
Cycling Music, a concerto for trumpet with brass, commissioned by the Eastern Washington University Music Department and funded by an Enabling Creativity Grant, was premiered in March of 2004 by world-famous trumpeter
Allen Vizzutti accompanied by Clarion Brass as the culmination of a two day symposium called Brassology. The Oregon East Symphony subsequently commissioned a new version of Cycling Music for trumpet soloist with orchestra, and the resulting work was premiered in October of 2009 with James Smock as soloist. A commission from Mozart on a Summer ’s Eve for a new woodwind nonet, Manito Sketches, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Manito Park in Spokane was premiered at that pair of concerts in July of 2004. In 2005 he completed scoring a musical theater work, Return of the Great Round, on texts by Eleanor Limmer, and was commissioned by the Spokane British Brass Band for a new work commemorating their tenth anniversary, called Spokane’s River, which was premiered in October 2005.
Berry was also the instigator and music director of an experimental group, String Jam, an electric string orchestra which erased musical boundaries by combining swing, rock, blues, jazz, fiddling, and other popular styles with dazzling virtuosity. String Jam gave a variety of performances from 1998 to 2003.
In the past several years, Berry‘ s compositions and arrangements have reached an increasingly wide audience. In addition to writing for his own groups, his music has been recently commissioned and performed by many quality organizations.
Commissioning organizations include: Canadian Brass
Westminster Chamber Orchestra Royal Fireworks Festival
Walla Walla Symphony Spokane Symphony Oregon East Symphony
Enabling Creativity Grant from Wendal and Virginia Jones Mozart on a Summer’s Eve/Connoisseur Concerts
Tim Behrens of Patrick McManus Comedies Ex Lingua Mortem
Modern Brass Quintet of New York Puget Brass Sound British Brass Band Brass Band Northwest
Spokane British Brass Band
The Cathedral and the Arts Association
Archdiocese of Spokane for the Year 2000 Jubilee Mass Air Force Band of the Northwest
Gonzaga University Wind Ensemble Eastern Washington University
Performances have been given by all of the commissioning organizations; additionally, there have been performances by many ensembles, including the following:
New York Philharmonic [with the Canadian Brass] Philadelphia Orchestra [with the Canadian Brass] Los Angeles Philharmonic
Fresno Philharmonic Baton Rouge Symphony Virginia Symphony Walla Walla Symphony
Allen Vizzutti with Clarion Brass Zephyr Brass Choir; Atlanta Altius Brass; Calgary
Bay Brass; San Francisco
Indianapolis Chamber Brass Whitworth College Wind Ensemble
Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base [performance and recording]
Berry has been a member of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra since 1988 and principal trumpet for the Walla Walla Symphony Orchestra since 1997. He has appeared as a soloist with the Spokane Symphony, the Walla Walla Symphony, the Northwest Bach Festival, the Mid-Columbia Symphony, Gonzaga University’ s Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, the Spokane Area Children ’s Chorus on their 1998 British Isles Tour, and at the 1995 Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, the world’s largest traditional jazz festival. Berry has performed regularly with just about all of Spokane’s local groups ranging from Allegro, a baroque and classical period music group, to Zephyr, an ensemble specializing in 20th century chamber music.
Berry regularly appeared as a soloist with the Air National Guard Band of the Northwest as a member from 1993 to 2006, including local performances as well as national and international tours. For six years he served as the leader of that unit ’s Dixieland Band, and finished his service as Assistant Conductor for the Band of the Northwest’s Concert Band and leader of the Brass Quintet. As a member of the Seattle-based Emerald City Brass Quintet from 1983 to 1991, he performed on numerous concert series, television and radio broadcasts, and other venues from Alaska to Montana, including regular guest appearances at the Olympic Music Festival, and as finalist in the Concert Artist Guild Competition in New York. From 1975 to 1978, Berry was a member of the First U.S. Army Band, stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland, which gave hundreds of performances per year up and down the East Coast.
From 1992 to 2005, Berry wrote about music, reviewing classical and popular music and other performances for the Spokane Spokesman-Review. He has also served as a guest lecturer for Spokane area colleges and universities, given pre -concert talks for the Spokane Symphony, and has provided program notes for the Festival at Sandpoint.
Beginning in 2006, Berry has been an adjunct faculty member at Whitman College and Walla Walla University, where he is a trumpet instructor. Since 2004 he has been brass chamber coach and trumpet instructor at the Midsummer Musical Retreat, the nation’s most comprehensive camp for adult amateur musicians. He also teaches trumpet privately and has coached the brass, wind, and string sections of various high school and college ensembles, including the Spokane Youth Symphony and weekly sessions with the Lewis & Clark High School trumpets since 1997. Berry has authored and performed in many educational programs, including the Shoestring 4-tet program for the Spokane Symphony. He was commissioned to create The SymFunny Paper, a music education newspaper for fifth-graders, and from 1996 to 2000 compiled and wrote these education materials. During the same time period, Berry coordinated the SSO ’s Musical Fun Fair, creating original hands-on activities for children. In the final year before the SSO discontinued these educational programs, his efforts helped win the Gold Award for the Spokane Symphony Associates from the National Association of Symphony Volunteers. He has also coordinated the educational programs for the Northwest Bach Festival.
Berry received his Bachelor of Music Performance in Trumpet in 1982 from Indiana University, where he studied with Louis Davidson, Allan Dean and Charles Gorham.