Venezuelan Brass Ensemble
The Venezuelan Brass Ensemble came into being in 2003 under the patronage of Dr. José
Antonio Abreu and Thomas Clamor as part of the orchestral academic program of Venezuela's
Across Venezuela, El Sistema currently involves 400,000 beneficiaries-75 percent of whom
live below the poverty line-in a system that includes more than 1,550 music groups
distributed among 286 academic centers. As a result of this work, numerous successful youth
ensembles have emerged. Leading the way is the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of
Venezuela (formerly Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela), now one of the most famous
and best orchestras in the world. Most of the musicians in the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble
are also members the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra.
With its mixture of a classical and South American repertoire, the musicians of the
Venezuelan Brass Ensemble impressively show their diverse skills. The first international
tour under the direction of Thomas Clamor in 2005 took the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble to
Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile. In September 2005, the ensemble performed as part of
the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra's third major tour of Germany; its program complemented
works by Byrd, Bernstein, and Gershwin with the first performance of the Grand
Fanfare for brass instruments by ensemble member Giancarlo Castro.
In 2006, the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble released its first CD, We Got Rhythm, on
EMI Classics. Since then, the ensemble has toured extensively, performing at many of the
world's greatest venues and festivals, including Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC
Proms, Beethovenfest Bonn, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Konzerthaus Berlin, Lucerne
Festival, Royal Festival Hall, and Salzburg Festival.
Thomas Clamor studied trumpet and percussion at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold. By the
time he was 23, he became the youngest musician in the Berliner Philharmoniker. Mr. Clamor
also performed as a soloist and chamber musician with various ensembles. He has since taken
part in numerous recordings, and also performed on many television and radio
Mr. Clamor's conducting and teaching activities have played important roles in his musical
creativity. Beginning in 1987, he has enjoyed guest professorships at music schools
throughout Germany, during which he led many international master classes. For 10 years,
Mr. Clamor was a professor of chamber music at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler and
later an honorary professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
Guest conducting engagements have taken Mr. Clamor to the most important European
festivals, including the Beethovenfest Bonn, Salzburg, and BBC Proms. He has also conducted
in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Tokyo, Beijing, Rome, Madrid,
and many other cities.
Mr. Clamor's work with the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble is highly acclaimed by both audiences
and critics alike. Internationally, he is considered to be one of the most successful
specialists in the genre. Mr. Clamor is also the primary conductor of the Saxon Wind
Philharmonic and art director of the German Brass Academy.