Brass Fest 2017

February 18, 2017 - 9:00am to 5:00pm
Old Cabell Hall

The University of Virginia's McIntire Department of Music will host the third annual UVA BrassFest on Saturday, February 18th, 2017 from 10am-5pm in Old Cabell Hall in Charlottesville, VA. This day long event is free and open to the public. 

The UVA Brass Fest will feature Jay Ferree principal horn from the Richmond Symphony along with the UVA brass faculty members Rachel Duncan (trumpet), Nathaniel Lee (trombone), and Katy Ambrose (horn).

Schedule for BrassFest 2017 on Saturday, February 18th


9amRegistrationLobby, Old Cabell Hall
Warm-up Sessions with UVa facultyOld Cabell, room TBA
11amCaruso workshop with Jay FerreeOld Cabell, room TBA
NoonLunchOld Cabell, room TBA
1pmMaster Class with Jay FerreeOld Cabell, room TBA
3pm BrassFest Recital featuring students and faculty of the University of Virginia and guest artist Jay Ferree, principal horn of the Richmond SymphonyOld Cabell Hall


James Ferree joined the Richmond Symphony in January 2012 as Principal Horn. An Atlanta native, James began piano studies at age 6, and when singing as an 11-year-old choir boy behind the horn section of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with Robert Shaw in 5th grade, he was inspired to pursue a career in the horn. Soon after he began studies with Richard Deane, and in 2003 he was the recipient of the Jon Hawkins Memorial Scholarship of the International Horn Society. Soon after a timely family move to Germany, where he studied with horn legend Hermann Baumann, he was accepted to the Juilliard School with Presidential Distinction to study with Jerome Ashby (BM) and William Purvis (MM). Upon graduation, he joined the New World Symphony in Miami under music director Michael Tilson Thomas.
Solo appearances include the Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings with the RSO and Messiaen’s Des Canyons aux Ètoiles at Juilliard. When he performed Glière’s Horn Concerto as a member of the New World Symphony, the South Florida Classical Review wrote, “The accuracy of James Ferree’s playing stood out…and [James] displayed a mastery of the instrument that allowed him to paint all the moods…golden sounds.”
James has performed with the orchestras of Atlanta, Virginia, Florida, Jacksonville, Charleston, and Kansas City. In 2015 he joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic on their Asia Tour, and a recording of Mahler Symphony No. 6 for upcoming release (TBD), under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel. He can also be heard alongside the American Brass Quintet in their 50th Anniversary album. During the summers, James is a member of the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra in Switzerland, with whom he joined in violinist David Garrett’s 2014 Germany tour. James has also participated in the festivals of Tanglewood, Spoleto USA, and Music Academy of the West.
James is active locally as a chamber artist, performing with the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble, Richmond Chamber Players, Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia, and the Staunton Music Festival. As a teacher, James enjoys masterclass engagements at universities throughout the region.
While at Juilliard, James also devoted study to composition and theory with Dr. Philip Lasser and Eric Ewazen, and James’s Sonata on its Knees was premiered by renowned horn soloist David Jolley. More recent premieres include his piece for violin and piano, Love for a Sweater, with RSO concertmaster Daisuke Yamamoto, and his quintet For a Newborn with the RSO’s principal winds.


Praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer as a “spectacular” and “graceful” musician, Katy Ambrose has made a name for herself as an educator, chamber and orchestral musician. She joins the faculty of the McIntire Department of Music at the University of Virginia and Principal Horn of the Charlottesville Symphony in Fall 2015. She also holds the position of fourth horn of the Delaware Symphony, second horn in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and fourth horn in the Philly Pops!. Ambrose earned an Artist Diploma from Yale University, has her Masters degree from the Cincinnati-Conservatory and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. She was the recipient of the prestigious William D. Revelli Award at University of Michigan and the Henry and Lucy Moses Fellowship at Yale.

Ambrose is the horn player in Seraph Brass, a quintet of women committed to creating innovative and inspiring opportunities that will help to establish a new generation of chamber music. As a soloist she gave her international debut in 2012 at the Edinburgh Easter Festival performing the world premiere of Scott Boerma’s Isle of Skye. She has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet, Hawai’i Opera Theater, Chamber Music Honolulu, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Harrisburg Symphony, Vermont Symphony and the New Haven Symphony. She will be spending the Summer of 2015 performing opera and chamber music in Austria. Outside of the classical setting, Ambrose played for Cee Lo Green’s Grammy-winning album, The Lady Killers, and can be heard during the Super Bowl and Monday Night Football as a recording artist for NFL Studios.

Ambrose has previously served on the faculty for the Curtis Institute of Music Young Artists Summer Program and has taught at Yale University, Drexel University, Settlement Music School and the Interlochen Arts Camp. Katy is especially interested in mentoring younger musicians and has taught for and developed programs and curriculum for several education programs including the Philadelphia Orchestra School Partnership Program, Delaware Symphony school program and the “El-Sistema” inspired programs Tune-Up, Philly and Play On, Philly!  More about Katy Ambrose at

Trumpeter Rachel Duncan, a native of Plymouth, Minnesota joins the faculty of the McIntire Department of Music at the University of Virginia as Lecturer in Trumpet and will serve as the Principal Trumpet of the Charlottesville Symphony in Fall 2016. Born into a musical family of prominent music educators, Rachel began playing trumpet at age 8.  In pursuit of a career in music Rachel was awarded a full tuition scholarship to study at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where she earned a bachelor’s of music degree under the tutelage of David Bilger. After studying at Curtis Rachel moved to Chicago to study under the reputable professors Barbara Butler, Charles Geyer and Christopher Martin at Northwestern University where she earned a master’s of music degree. After earning her degree at Northwestern Rachel was awarded a position with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago from 2011-2013.

In 2011 Rachel performed and toured Scotland as guest principal trumpet with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and recorded two commercially released recordings for the Dutton Epoch Records label. She has performed as guest principal trumpet of the Charleston Symphony, the Peoria Symphony and the Dubuque Symphony and has performed with the trumpet sections of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Richmond Symphony, Illinois Symphony, Symphony in C, and The New World Symphony.

With regard to chamber music, Rachel is a founding member of the brass ensemble New Chicago Brass. Rachel has also performed and recorded with Seraph Brass, a brass quintet comprised of America’s top female brass players. She has also had the privilege of performing alongside Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s chamber music concert series and been invited to perform with MusicNOW, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s new music ensemble.

Rachel has been selected to perform at numerous prestigious music festivals including The Pacific Music Festival in Japan, The Spoleto Music Festival in Charleston, The Aspen Music Festival and The National Repertoire Orchestra. In addition to ensemble playing Rachel has been recognized for her solo performances receiving first prize at the Schubert Club Scholarship competition and the National Trumpet Competition. Rachel is married to jazz trumpeter/composer, Greg Duncan.


Nathaniel Lee is the Lecturer of Trombone at the University of Virginia and serves as Principal Trombone of the Charlottesville Symphony.
In addition to his duties at UVa and the Charlottesville Symphony, Nathaniel maintains an active freelance career having performed with the Richmond Symphony, Ash Lawn Opera Festival, Opera on the James, Boston Philharmonic, Virginia Oratorio Society, the Waynesboro Symphony, the Virginia Brass and the Virginia Sinfonietta. 

In 2012 & 2014, Nathaniel was selected by Lorin Maazel to perform in the Castleton Music Festival. As part of the Castleton Orchestra, Nathaniel performed in the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman and in the Virginia and D.C. area. Nathaniel has also been invited as a guest artist to JMU’s trombone festival in 2014 & 2015.
Before his appointment at the University of Virginia, Nathaniel was pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Trombone Performance and Brass Pedagogy at the University of Iowa, where he served as the trombone studio Teaching Assistant. During his studies he was awarded the 2013 Downbeat Magazine Award for Outstanding Graduate Soloist.
Nathaniel earned his Master of Music degree in Trombone Performance from New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music Performance degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.


Old Cabell Hall is located on the south end of UVA's historic lawn, directly opposite the Rotunda (map). Parking is available in the Central Grounds parking garage on Emmet Street, in the C1 parking lot off McCormick Rd, and in the parking lots at the UVA Corner.  Handicap parking is available in the small parking lot adjacent to Bryan Hall.

All programs are subject to change.


McIntire Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176