Biography

Brian McWhorter is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Oregon. Previously, he held positions at Manhattan School of Music, Louisiana State University, East Carolina University, and Princeton University. He earned the Bachelor of Music degree from University of Oregon and the Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School.

While living in New York City, McWhorter’s performing career gravitated toward contemporary classical and improvised music. He worked with many of the United States’ best-known modern music ensembles including Third Angle, Sequitur, Ensemble Sospeso, counter(induction, Ne(x)tworks, Tilt Brass, Elliott Sharp’s Orchestra Carbon, Continuum and Meridian Arts Ensemble. As co-artistic director of Beta Collide, a new music group whose debut album was described as one of the top classical albums of 2010 by the Willamette Week, he is engaged in some of the most diverse projects of his career.

Hailed as a “terrific trumpeter” by The New York Times, McWhorter has been a featured soloist at the Festival of New Trumpet (New York City), Church of Beethoven (Albuquerque), Jornados de Creación Musica (Mexico City), and at Bargemusic (Brooklyn). He worked extensively with brass chamber groups including the Oregon Brass Quintet, Extension Ensemble, Manhattan Brass Quintet and the American Brass Quintet. As a member of the brass and percussion sextet Meridian Arts Ensemble from 2001-2010, McWhorter performed, commissioned and recorded some of the most demanding and progressive music ever written for brass. Meridian’s album Timbrando – a collection of Latin American contemporary works – was a profiled selection on NPR’s All Things Considered.

McWhorter was appointed principal trumpet of the Eugene Symphony by Giancarlo Guerrero for the 2008-2009 season. Additionally, he has performed as principal trumpet with the Portland Opera, Oregon Ballet Theatre Orchestra, Quartz Mountain Music Festival Orchestra, American Sinfonietta and Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra. He has also performed with the the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and many others.

McWhorter’s discography spans many genres from contemporary chamber to orchestral, improvised music to pop and rock. He has worked with Dave Douglas, John Zorn, John Cale (The Velvet Underground), Natalie Merchant, Anne Heaton, Nini Camps, Hugh Blumenfeld, and The Sharp Things.

McWhorter studied music composition for dance with Pia Gilbert and for film with Edward Bilous while at The Juilliard School. His film credits include the 1929 silent Ed’s Coed, Bluedot Production’s Capoeira: Fly Away Beetle, Eleanor Antin’s The Man Without a World, and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. He has worked with choreographers such as Gillmer Duran, CoCo Loupe, Shannon Mockli and Emma Cotter; and he has written for musical groups such as the Eugene Ballet Company, Alaska Dance Theatre, Pink Baby Monster, Clogs, LoadBang, Ne(x)tworks, The Ant’s Elbow, and the Machine Project @ the Hammer Museum.

As something of an impresario, McWhorter has produced hundreds of concerts from Jazz at the Manship – a concert series for Hurricane Katrina evacuees – to Soundbytes – a 10-14 minute new music series at UO. He co-produced 350! Artists for Climate Change that brought together 350 performing artists for a 2 hour production, numerous semi-operatic performances from the notorious Pink Baby Monster, produced the UO Emerging Artist Series for 2 seasons, and founded Orchestra Next – a training orchestra in residence at the Eugene Ballet Company.

Brian McWhorter is the music director for Orchestra Next, a training orchestra in residence with the Eugene Ballet Company with which he conducts several productions a year.  He has conducted ensembles from the All-Star Brass (with some of the most respected brass players in the world) to Third Angle, a new music ensemble based in Portland.  He was the conductor for the nationally broadcast 2014 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships Opening Ceremonies and is a guest conductor for the Anchorage Symphony’s production of The Nutcracker for the 2014-15 season.
McWhorter’s lone foray into the world of sculpture – The Extract-o-Rama – became the subject of a new documentary called I Live for Art.  [BlueDot Productions]