Pokorny Low Brass Seminar


June 15-19, 2020

Unlike many festival-type opportunities, this is an intense workshop for low brass players to really engage a wide range of musical, stylistic, technical and professional issues in-depth with unprecedented access to some of the most respected low brass players.

Participating performers include a wide range of professional symphony musicians, freelancers, college teachers, graduate and undergraduate music majors, advanced high school students and dedicated amateurs. These broad perspectives create wonderfully rich discussions that inspire and energize all of the participants.

Seminar Leaders

Gene Pokorny, tuba, Chicago Symphony Orchestra



  • Faculty solo and ensemble recitals
  • Group warm-up classes
  • Masterclasses and clinics
  • Orchestral section work and mock auditions

Specifically, here are some of the areas we will explore:

  • Warm-ups, and warm-ups that go way beyond
  • Sensitivity in balancing brass ensembles; particularly an orchestral low brass section
  • What is correct vs. what is traditional
  • Team playing and the musical brain
  • Our responsibility to the art and to the future of it
  • The importance of clarity "out front"
  • The art of listening (i.e. to finally hear what you have been listening to)
  • Solos and interpretation (i.e. getting away from fat-free, taste-free, style-free playing)
  • Life and livelihood: the balancing act
  • Guacamole, trains, astronomy and "The Search for Intelligent Life in the Modern-Day Symphony Orchestra"


You can attend the Pokorny Low Brass Seminar as a performer or auditor. All participants play in the warm-up and large ensembles and can attend any of the sessions. A limited number of performers will be accepted by audition or professional recommendation to perform in the masterclasses.

If you are under the age of 18, you can participate in the High School Brass Seminar or be an auditor. High School Brass Seminar participants will attend all of the talks and concerts but will have a special set of masterclasses designed especially for younger students.

Apply Today

To apply as a performer, submit a one-page resume and links to recordings of two contrasting solo passages and five standard orchestral excerpts by March 15, 2020 along with a $40 nonrefundable application fee (will be applied to your balance owed) The remainder of tuition will be due upon acceptance. The application link will be coming soon.

Experienced professionals and college faculty may apply by resume or professional reference. To do so, contact Dr. Andrew Glendening directly at aglendening@niu.edu.

Performers will be notified by April 15, 2018. Tuition for performers is $500 and is due on acceptance. Rooms are available on campus for at the Holmes Student Center or at many local hotels. The seminar begins at 9 a.m. on June 15 and continues through 5 p.m. on June 19.

Auditors may choose to attend daily for $50 per day or for the entire workshop for $200. Auditor registration is coming soon.

Contact Us

Music Building
8 a.m.-noon; 1-4:30 p.m.

Request information about the School of Music

CPVA Homepage

NIU Arts Blog

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