Together the trumpets, horns, trombones and tuba form the Brass of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO). They have been performing officially together as an ensemble since 2003. When the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra did not make its usual yearly tour to the United States, The American Friends of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra decided to invite the brass section to give concerts and masterclasses in New York and Philadelphia. The brass section had been performing in various formations for many years but never all together (trumpets, horns, trombones and tuba).
The aim of the Brass of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is to demonstrate through concerts and masterclasses the versatile repertoire for brass instruments in various combinations. These formations can vary from a quartet to a large ensemble of 20 players, sometimes complemented by percussion.
The Brass of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has since performed extensively at home and abroad. After the first successful American Tour in 2003 other tours followed: in the Chicago Symphony Hall with the brass section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (2005), and in 2006 and 2009 in New York with the New York Philharmonic brass section. In 2012 the ensemble gave masterclasses and concerts in Costa Rica. In Europe the RCO Brass has performed in various countries including Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, Austria and Belgium.
In the Netherlands the ensemble has performed in various venues such as the Concertgebouw, during the famous Amsterdam Canal Festival (in 2006 together with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Brass) and during the Giromania Festival to mark the start of the ‘Giro d’Italia’. In 2012 they performed at the Royal Theater Carré to celebrate the theatre’s 125th anniversary, and at the reopening of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
The RCO Brass has given masterclasses at the Julliard School of Music in New York, at the Northwest University in Chicago and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia as well as at major conservatories in China, Japan, England, Germany and Switzerland. Most of the members also teach at Dutch and foreign top conservatories.
The RCO Brass has inspired various composers to write works especially for this ensemble. Detlev Glanert, Henny Vrienten, Nick Woud (solo timpanist of the RCO) and the American composers Benjamin Boyle and Ralph Mostel have composed works for the ensemble.
In 2007 they presented their first CD, Brass of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, released on the RCO Live-label of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. A second CD, Brass Too, was released in October, 2014. Many of their performances have been broadcast at home and abroad. In 2012 the N.T.R. broadcasted a documentary about their tour in Costa Rica.
From 2003 until 2015 the RCO Brass was part of the Brass of the Royal Concertgebouw Foundation.