Axiom Brass and Stephen Buzard, organ

Ceremonies and Celebrations

  • Adolphus Hailstork - Fanfare on Amazing Grace
  • Maddalena Casulana - Suite of Madrigals for Brass Quintet
  • Jennifer Higdon - Selections from Ceremonies
  • Jeanne Demessieux - Te Deum for solo organ
  • Leo Sowerby - Festival Musick

Described as “exceptional ambassadors for classical music” and “innovative programmers”, Chicago-based Axiom Brass designs concert experiences for audiences that stretch the imagination and expand sensibilities. Their concert programs regularly pair original works by composers such as Christopher Rouse, George Walker, and Augusta Read Thomas with early musical translations by Barbara Strozzi and rousing tangos by Astor Piazzolla. As strong advocates for the creation and performance of “living music”, the ensemble actively engages with their audiences to showcase the importance of performing the music of living composers. Axiom has presented concerts all over the world, including the Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, Gallo Center for the Arts in California, Shenzhen Concert Hall in China, and Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis in Portugal. 

In 2021, to celebrate the 100th birthday of Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla, Axiom Brass recorded an entire album showcasing his music entitled Astor, becoming the first brass quintet to record an entire album of Piazzolla’s works. In 2016, the Chicago-based ensemble commissioned ten new works to celebrate their 10th anniversary, including compositions by Augusta Read Thomas, Liduino Pitombeira, David Faleris, Matt Ulery, and Ben Hjertmann. These compositions can be heard on their album, First Impressions

The only brass ensemble to ever win the Fischoff Educator Award, Axiom creates custom- tailored workshops and residency activities for presenters and their communities. The group’s commitment to education and their interactive teaching style has led to residencies at the Grand Tetons Music Festival and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, as well as being featured as ensemble-in-residence for the National Brass Symposium. Axiom Brass performs exclusively on Mutec Mutes.

Stephen Buzard is the Director of Music at St. James Cathedral in Chicago where he directs the Cathedral Choir and Choristers. A graduate of Westminster Choir College and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, Mr. Buzard’s teachers have included Ken Cowan, Thomas Murray, Bruce Neswick, and Jeffrey Brillhart. Mr. Buzard served as assistant organist at Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue in New York City until becoming Acting Organist and Director of Music upon the tragic death of John Scott in 2015. He is a Associate of the American Guild of Organists, and his career was highlighted in the AGO monograph “The Making of a Virtuoso.” Mr. Buzard maintains a busy schedule of organ recitals under exclusive management of Karen McFarlane Artists.

Mr. Buzard grew up surrounded by organ music; his father is the president and founder of the Buzard Organ Company, and his mother is a church musician and exam coordinator for the Royal School of Church Music in America. When not making music, Mr. Buzard is an avid cruciverbalist, coffee consumer, and cycling enthusiast.

About the Rush Hour Concerts

Rush Hour Concerts are made possible through the generosity of the Zell Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council Agency and contributions from individual donors.

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