Earl Raney’s Biography

 
 

        Earl Raney, now director of one of America's most popular and versatile brass quintets, was given his grandfather's trumpet for his 7th birthday. So, when his school district traveled to a nearby historical Society and the curator held up a Civil War trumpet, asking if anyone could play, Raney raised his hand. Soon, he was in front of the room with his lips to the brass, heartily mortified when nothing resembling music came out. "I guess

I thought owning a trumpet was the same

as playing one," he said.


        A little more than a decade after his second-grade debacle, Raney was a student at Boston University's School for the Arts. By now he had mastered the trumpet, and he and four classmates from chamber music 101 were playing gigs. One evening, the then-principal trumpet of the BSO, Rolf Smedvig, was in the audience. After the performance, he made a point of telling the group how good they were, and encouraged them to stay together..

        It was the birth of the brass. The group won a major chamber music competition, which was rewarded with a debut appearance at Carnegie Hall.   Since then, Epic Brass has appeared in 46 states, as well as Austria, Bermuda, Canada, England, France, Germany, Poland, Scotland, and most recently the Far East. The group has seven recordings on Ars Nova Digital, including the children's release "High Flying Horns! An introduction to the Brass Family, narrated by Raney". Regular performances on radio and television include National Public Radio's "Performance Today", and their home town favorite WGBH "Morning Pro Musica".

        Although Raney refers to the group as having classical bones, it moves easily from baroque to Bernstein to the Beatles, balancing serious musical interpretation with light-hearted entertainment. Considering his own history, it's no surprise that Raney and Epic Brass are interested in education. This year, in addition to a full evening concert schedule, the group will do more than 100 school performances and residencies. "We want to make sure that kids know there's more to music than MTV," Raney said, "that you can play an instrument you don't have to plug into a wall".

        Earl Raney, is founder and director of the award winning Epic Brass Quintet. (Roster Artist for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Cultural Educational Collaborative, and the New England Foundation for the Arts.)  Since founding the Epic Brass in 1983 he has given over 1400 performances in 46 states, with appearances at the Kennedy Center, Weill Recital Hall, and Carnegie Hall to name a few.  Internationally, Mr. Raney has concertized in Canada, Bermuda, Jamaica, US Virgin Islands, England, Scotland, France, Austria, Germany, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, and the Far East.

        In addition to his chamber music career, Mr. Raney has performed in several New England area orchestras and as principal trumpet of the Taipei Festival Orchestra in Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.  

        Balancing a dual career as trumpeter and conductor, he is Music Director/Conductor of the Great Woods Chamber Orchestra, Southeastern Massachusetts Wind Symphony, and the Atlantic Wind Symphony.  During the summer Mr. Raney conducts the SMARTS Summer Winds Symphonic Band performing at the Tweeter Center for the Performing Arts. He is an adjunct Professor of Music at Atlantic Union College, Assistant Professor of Music in Performance at Wheaton College, and former Director of the Thayer Performing Arts Center in South Lancaster, Massachusetts. 

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        Earl Raney, AWS founder and conductor, is well-known as the Artistic Director and solo trumpet of the award-winning Epic Brass Quintet. He has given over 2000 performances in 46 states, with appearances at the Kennedy Center, Weill Recital Hall, and Carnegie Hall to name a few. Internationally, Mr. Raney has concertized in Canada, Bermuda, Jamaica, US Virgin Islands, England, Scotland, France, Austria, Germany, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, and the Far East. In addition to his chamber music career, Mr. Raney has performed in several New England area orchestras and as principal trumpet of the Taipei Festival Orchestra in Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C. Balancing a dual career as trumpeter and conductor, he is a faculty member of New England Conservatory Preparatory School and an Assistant Professor of Music in Performance at Wheaton College where he is Music Director/Conductor of the Southeastern Massachusetts Wind Symphony and founder of the Great Woods Chamber Orchestra. Deeply committed to music education, Mr. Raney continues to perform as guest conductor and clinician at colleges and high schools. Most recently he conducted the Boston University Symphony Orchestra, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Wind Ensemble, and at the Icelandic National Band Festival in Reykjanesbaer.