Bermuda’s Kenneth Amis Seizes The Brass Ring

November 6, 2011

Bermuda’s Kenneth Amis is more than just a tuba player –- he’s a composer, conductor, published author and performs professionally with the Empire Brass, one of the preeminent brass chamber groups in the world.

Last week he was conducting the Boston Conservatory Brass Ensemble at that city’s Fenway Centre as it played Bach’s “Contrapunctus IX”; Susato’s Suite; Grieg’s “Funeral March in Memory of Rikard Nordraak”; Di Lasso’s “Ola, o che bon eccho!”; and his own composition “The Reckoning.”

The 41-year-old Bermudian musician now lives in Massachusetts.

However, he returns to Bermuda regularly to visit relatives as well as to perform. He has taken part in the annual Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts several times.

Mr. Amis wasn’t raised playing the tuba.

Rather, “my parents originally made me take guitar and piano lessons. I hated them. I never practiced,” he said in an interview.

However, Mr. Amis’ mentality changed once he entered high school and could choose which instrument he wanted to play.

Lynn University Interview With Bermuda’s Kenneth Amis

“I ended up with the tuba. I was 11 years old and I’ve been playing it ever since,” he said. “It’s kind of a passion of mine to play the tuba. I’ve loved it ever since I started it, and I continue to love it.”

At the age of 16, Mr. Amis moved to the United States and began studying at Boston University, where the Empire Brass was in residence.

“They [The Empire Brass] actually performed in Bermuda when I was in high school,” said Mr. Amis. “I decided I wanted to study with these players.

“So, I entered college at Boston University. That’s where I began studying with a real aspect of playing tuba professionally.”

Majoring in composition, Mr. Amis continued performing throughout his college years, studying tuba under Chester Schmitz of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Sam Pilafian, a founding member of the Empire Brass.

After graduating from Boston University he attended the New England Conservatory of Music where he received his Masters Degree in composition.

Part One Of Documentary On MIT Wind Ensemble Featuring Mr. Amis

Mr. Amis began playing professionally with the Empire Brass in 1993, and he also currently plays with the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra.

An active composer, Mr. Amis has been commissioned to write for the annual Cohen Wing opening at Symphony Hall in Boston, the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, the University of Scranton, the College Band Directors National Association and other organisations.

He has also undertaken commissions/residences with the Boston Classical Orchestra, the New England Conservatory of Music, the Massachusetts Instrumental Conductors Association and Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston.

Audiences around the world have enjoyed Mr. Amis’s music through performances by such groups as the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Classical Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

As a tuba player, Mr. Amis has performed as a soloist with the English Chamber Orchestra and has been a member of the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra and the New World Symphony Orchestra.

Part Two Of MIT Wind Ensemble Documentary

His performance skills are showcased on many commercial records distributed internationally. Mr. Amis has served on the faculties of Boston University, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, the Conservatory of Music at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida and the Pacific Music Festival in Japan.

In 2003 Mr. Amis became the youngest recipient of New England Conservatory of Music’s “Outstanding Alumni Award.”

Mr. Amis is presently the tuba player of the Empire Brass and the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra and the assistant conductor for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Wind Ensemble.

Mr. Amis And The Empire Brass Performing At A 2009 New York Gala

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