JOHN D. ROJAK
For decades, John Rojak has been a staple in American brass music, performing with a number of chamber ensembles and orchestras such as American Brass Quintet, Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony; in Broadway shows including Les Misérables and The Producers; in big bands of Mel Lewis, Bob Mintzer, and Gerry Mulligan; and contributing to the pedagogy of the bass trombone as a faculty member of several institutions, including The Juilliard School, The Hartt School, and Aspen Music Festival and School. Needless to say he has taken the bass trombone and its repertoire to new heights in the classical, contemporary, jazz, and commercial genres.
Rojak presents his debut release on Navona Records, ROJAK ROCKS, a culmination of his experiences until now in the contemporary music scene, both in New York and around the world. Each of the works on this album have a history for Rojak, a time and place that marks a transcending moment in his prolific career. Whether coming to him from a close colleague or through an unexpected opportunity, the works on this collection have contributed to the development of Rojak’s extensive and varying career as a brass player.
Not only do these pieces illustrate significant moments in Rojak’s career and in the development of new works for bass trombone, some of them incorporate elements of genres in which he worked, including jazz and commercial music. Steven Christopher Sacco’s Sonata for Bass Trombone and Piano was written for Rojak after Sacco was commissioned to write a work for American Brass Quintet, and features elements of syncopation and jazz harmonic structures. Rojak and Jack Gale, composer of Three Pieces for Bass Trombone and Jazz Rhythm Section, worked together in Broadway productions, delivering a piece with a rhythm section spearheaded by pianist Russ Kassoff.
Rojak recorded New York composer and bass trombonist Alan Raph’s Rock at Hunter Canyon in Moab UT, 150 feet above the canyon floor in order to capture the natural echo of the landscape. Rojak discovered Brian Lynn’s Ba-dee-doo-dup while giving a master class in Tokyo. He performed and recorded composer Walter Ross’ Concerto No. 2 for Trombone and Orchestra with the New York Chamber Symphony, under the hand of Gerard Schwarz, an experience which Rojak says was “one of those moments in a musician’s life that makes a career feel complete.” Rojak’s career is far from complete yet this album exemplifies his influence in the world of classical, commercial, and jazz music and in the expansion of the bass trombone repertory as well as a group of composers and musicians who inspired him and contributed to his eminent craft.
For more information please visit the album website to access liner notes, biographies, and more: http://navonarecords.com/rojakrocks/
Rojak has been a member of the American Brass Quintet since 1991. In 2012 ensemble was awarded Chamber Music America’s Highest Honor, the Richard J. Bogomolny Award
In the spring of 2000 Rojak made his New York concerto debut, performing Walter Ross' Trombone Concerto No. 2 in Alice Tully Hall with the New York Chamber Symphony and Maestro Gerard Schwarz
Rojak has performed and recorded with a number of orchestras and ensembles, including Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony, Solisti New York, the Boston Symphony, and Los Angeles Philharmonic
Rojak is on the faculties of Juilliard, New York University, The Hartt School, the Aspen Music Festival, and Colorado College Summer Music Festival
Rojak has played in Broadway productions including, Les Misérables, The Producers, and Sugar Babies. He has performed with many ballet companies including the Bolshoi, Kirov, Royal, Netherlands Dance Theatre, China, and San Francisco
Along with classical recordings, Rojak can be heard on soundtracks for commercials and film. He has shared the stage with Peter Gabriel, Styx, and legendary metal band Metallica in Madison Square Garden, as well as Leonard Bernstein, Wynton Marsalis, and Cab Calloway. He has played with the big bands of jazz legends Mel Lewis, Gerry Mulligan, and Bob Mintzer
He performed for Pope John Paul II in New York's Central Park and in St. Patrick's Cathedral, and performed for Pope Francis in September 2015 at Madison Square Garden
Rojak received a Bachelor of Music degree from Juilliard and held fellowships at Tanglewood and Waterloo Music Festivals
John D. Rojak joined the American Brass Quintet in 1991. He is bass trombonist with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, IRIS, New York Pops, Little Orchestra Society, Stamford Symphony, and played for the 16-year run of Broadway’s Les Misérables. He has performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus, New York Chamber Symphony, and as solo trombone of Solisti NY. He has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, for Pope John Paul II in New York’s Central Park and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and for Pope Francis in Madison Square Garden. As part of Gunther Schuller’s handpicked orchestra he was involved in the recording of Brahms’ First Symphony and Beethoven’s Fifth for a collaborative album to Schuller’s book The Compleat Conductor. Rojak has performed with many ballet companies, including the Bolshoi, Kirov, Royal, Netherlands Dance Theatre, China, and San Francisco. Other Broadway shows include The Producers, Sugar Babies, and Shirley MacLaine on Broadway, and he has played with the big bands of Mel Lewis, Gerry Mulligan, and Bob Mintzer. In addition to classical recordings, he can be heard on soundtracks for commercials and film, and played with Metallica, Peter Gabriel, and Styx.
Active as a soloist and clinician, Rojak was the first bass trombonist to be artist-in-residence at Quad City Arts in Illinois/Iowa and has been featured at the International Trombone Association Workshops in Champaign-Urbana, Boulder, and Salt Lake City, as well as performing Eric Ewazen’s Concerto for Bass Trombone with the Daejon, Korea Philharmonic Orchestra. He has given master classes and recitals throughout the United States, Japan, Mexico, and Australia, has been visiting trombone instructor at the North Carolina School of the Arts, and adjudicator for competitions including Concert Artists Guild, Fischoff, and Coleman.
In the spring of 2000 Rojak made his New York concerto debut, performing Walter Ross’ Trombone Concerto No. 2 in Alice Tully Hall with the New York Chamber Symphony, Gerard Schwarz conducting. The piece was recorded and is featured on ROJAK ROCKS on Navona Records. He has been featured with the trombone section of the Brass Band of Battle Creek, and played the solo trombone part with Vladimir Spivakov and the Moscow Virtuosi in the North American premiere of Schnittke’s Five Fragments Based on Paintings of Hieronymus Bosch for Violin, Trombone, and Tenor in Avery Fisher Hall. His first solo recording, The Romantic Bass Trombone with pianist Robert Koenig, on MMC Records, was critically acclaimed in several trade journals. Other solo recordings are Rhapsody for Bass Trombone and Strings composed by Eric Ewazen with the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra on the Albany album, Bass Hits, and The Essential Rochut on Belle Records. He has collaborated on chamber music recordings with Andrew Violette, David Sampson, and Jeffrey Nichols.
Rojak received a Bachelor of Music degree from Juilliard and held fellowships at the Tanglewood and Waterloo Music Festivals. He is Director of Brass Studies at New York University, and on the faculties of Juilliard, Hartt, Colorado College Summer Music
Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Release Date: January 8, 2016
Catalog #: NV6019
John D. Rojak, bass trombone
Three Pieces for bass trombone with jazz rhythm section
Russ Kassoff, piano; Joe Bongiorno, bass; Ray Marchica, drums
Christopher Sacco Steven
Sonata for bass trombone and piano
Antoinette Perry, piano
4. I. Romance
5. II. Adagio
6. III. Scherzo
James Miller & Andy Malloy, tenor trombones
Concerto no. 2 for trombone and orchestra
New York Chamber Symphony | Gerard Schwarz, conductor
12. I. Poco Adagio, Allegro Energico
13. II. Allegro animato
14. III. Adagio, Allegro vivo
Tracks 1-3 recorded April 11, 2011 at Dolan Recording Studio,
NYU in New York City NY
Session Engineer Paul Geluso
Tracks 4-6 recorded August 15, 2007 at Harris Hall in Aspen CO
Session Engineer Riccardo Schultz and the students of
the Audio Institute of the Aspen Music Festival
Tracks 7-11 recorded February 20, 2008 at Daniel Recital Hall,
California State University, in Long Beach CA
Session Engineer, Producer Sonny Ausman
Tonmeister Kait Mahony
Special thanks Rob Frear, Director of Brass Studies
Tracks 12-14 recorded March 14, 2000 at Master Sound
in Astoria NY
Session Producer Elliott McKinley
Track 15 recorded August 24, 2010 at Hunter Canyon, Moab UT
Session Producer Kait Mahony
Assistant Session Producer Frank Todaro
Roland Edirol with external Sony microphone
Editing and Mastering Paul Eachus
Photography Kait Mahony
© NAVONA RECORDS LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Navona Records offers listeners a fresh taste of today's leading innovators in orchestral, chamber, instrumental, and experimental music as well as prime pieces of classic repertoire. Our music is meticulously performed by the finest musicians and handpicked to ensure the most rewarding listening experience.
223 Lafayette Road
North Hampton NH 03862
603.758.1718 x 161