Meet the Musicians: Canadian Brass

ACHILLES LIARMAKOPOULOS, Trombone

Achilles Liarmakopoulos joined the Canadian Brass in 2011. He has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe and Asia, performing and educating in the world’s most important venues and institutions..

Achilles holds degrees from the Yale University School of Music, Curtis Institute of Music, San Francisco Conservatory and the Philippos Nakas Conservatory in his hometown Athens, Greece. Upon completion of his studies, he won the position of principal trombone of the Greek Radio Symphony Orchestra. Achilles has also performed with the Malaysian Philharmonic, Jacksonville Symphony and the European Union Youth Orchestra, among many others. 

As a recitalist, Achilles has performed in China, Panama, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Greece, USA and Canada, having been awarded honors at competitions around the globe. At the age of 18, he gave two solo performances at Walt Disney Hall as the Grand Prize Winner of the Pasadena Showcase House Instrumental Competition judged by members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has gone on to win prizes at the Christian Lindberg International Competition, the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe (YMFE) and the International Trombone Festival’s Robert Marsteller/Conn-Selmer and Larry Wiehe solo competitions, to name a few. Achilles was also awarded the Alexandros S. Onassis Foundation and the Greek State Scholarship Foundation educational scholarships.

His discography includes five solo albums – “Obvious” with French harp Soloist Coline-Marie Orliac, “Ethereal” with 20th and 21st century lyrical works from around the world, “Trombone Atrevido” dedicated to Choro music from Brazil, “Discoveries” with contemporary compositions on the ODEG label, “Tango Distinto” with Astor Piazzolla’s music on the NAXOS label  – five recordings with the Canadian Brass and numerous appearances on classical, pop, Latin, and other albums.

Achilles also performs around the world with Pink Martini and he has also performed with salsa icon Ruben Blades.

He is also an adjunct trombone professor at Brooklyn College at CUNY University in NY.

JEFF NELSEN, Horn

One of the many Canadian pig-farm-raised magician horn players in the world, Jeff Nelsen has thrilled audiences and mentored students for over twenty-five years. Having recently entered his ninth year touring and recording as solo horn with Canadian Brass, Jeff Nelsen has also performed concerti with orchestras on six continents, and in the horn sections of dozens of orchestras including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, and the Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Montreal Symphonies.  One thrilling event last summer was performing in Carnegie Hall as guest principal horn with the Philadelphia Orchestra and fellow Canadian, maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Jeff is Professor of Music (horn) at the prestigious Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he teaches full-time as a horn, chamber music, and performance coach. He is founder of Fearless Performance LLC, a company that focuses on training musicians and entrepreneurs to improve their mental game so they consistently perform their best. In 2011 he gave his celebrated TED Talk on Fearless Performance. A huge Broadway musical fan, Jeff played the complete run of two Broadway shows in NYC that were nominated for Tony awards – “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (Sherman Brothers) and “The Pirate Queen” (Boublil and Schönberg). Jeff has toured with Michael Bolton and Barry Manilow, has recorded with Michael Buble and the pop band “Barenaked Ladies”, and has performed on dozens of movie and video game soundtracks. Jeff most enjoys performing with his wife, mezzo-soprano Nina Yoshida Nelsen, on recital and orchestral pops series. Jeff was President of the International Horn Society from 2014-16. Jeff performs on his Dieter Otto 180 K-JN (Nelsen Model) horn he co-designed with German horn-maker Martin Ecker, and his mouthpiece he co-designed with Scott Laskey. He publishes a collection of sheet music through his company “Perform Music” and has upcoming releases of online video courses on “Beginner Horn Fundamentals” with The Musician’s Toolkit, and on “How to teach Fearless Performance” with The Royal Conservatory in Toronto.

Aside from creating musical magic, Jeff is an enthusiastic magician, and often adds touches of illusionary arts to performances. He is a magician member of the Academy of Magical Arts at the world famous Magic Castle in Los Angeles. His most magical time is spent with his enchanting wife, mezzo-soprano Nina Nelsen and their two spellbinding sons Rhys and Blair.

CALEB HUDSON, Trumpet

Caleb Hudson is the newest member of the Canadian Brass, having graduated from the Juilliard School with both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees.

Acclaimed by the New York Times as ‘brilliantly stylish,’ Caleb has performed as an international soloist, including a recital that was broadcast nationally on NPR’s Performance Today.

Caleb is known for his piccolo trumpet mastery of Bach’s infamous Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, having performed it around the world with ensembles including Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Israel Philharmonic Soloists, and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Possessing a wide range of musical styles, his experience ranges from soloing in Carnegie Hall to performing with early music ensembles, even appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live. He is an alumnus of Interlochen Arts Academy and Ensemble Connect, a fellowship program of Carnegie Hall that promotes community outreach, and music education.

Caleb enjoys writing and arranging music for Canadian Brass, having many works performed, published, and recorded. They can be heard on two albums, Canadian Brass: Perfect Landing and Canadian Brass: Great Wall of China. In 2015, his original composition White Rose Elegy was performed as a world premiere in Lincoln Center by the Canadian Brass and New York Philharmonic Principal Brass.

Caleb is Assistant Professor of Trumpet at the prestigious University of North Texas College of Music, where he is devoted to teaching and sharing his love for music with students.

CHRIS COLETTI, Trumpet

Internationally acclaimed trumpeter Chris Coletti, best known for his work with the legendary Canadian Brass (2009-2019), is a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician and new Assistant Professor at Ithaca College School of Music.

Comfortable in many musical styles, he has collaborated with a broad spectrum of musicians ranging from the Metropolitan Opera Brass, New York Philharmonic Principal Brass, Pierre Boulez, Michael Tilson Thomas and Ricardo Muti to Quincy Jones, Carlos Santana, Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine. Chris also performs on the Baroque Trumpet with various early music ensembles in and around NY. Chris regularly performs with NOVUS NY, the all-star contemporary music orchestra of Trinity Church Wall Street in Manhattan.

With Canadian Brass, Chris has performed hundreds of concerts in the finest concert halls in the world, countless live TV appearances and radio broadcasts, and regularly appears in front of major symphony orchestras. Chris can be heard on 9 Canadian Brass recordings, most of which feature his original arrangements, and countless other recordings and music videos with world-class artists. Chris got his professional start in 2008 as Principal Trumpet of The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra in Alabama, a position he still holds. As an educator, Chris has taught master classes at top conservatories around the world, and his students have won positions in professional orchestras and have been accepted into top music programs including Manhattan School of Music, McGill University and Tanglewood. Chris’s articles have been featured in notable publications such as the International Trumpet Guild, International Trumpet Guild Youth Journal, SONIC – Magazin für Holz – und Blechinstrumente (Germany) and The Brass Herald (England), and have been translated into German, Spanish, and Japanese. Chris has been a featured guest on many music performance and music business podcasts, and maintains a popular blog and email newsletter for trumpeters and other musicians.

Chris received his Masters Degree from The Juilliard School and his Bachelors Degree from Manhattan School of Music. Throughout his education Chris received multiple awards and scholarships, and won a number of competitions including the Music Academy of the West Chamber Concerto Competition, Manhattan School of Music Concerto Competition, LaGuardia Arts Concerto Competition, Staten Island Symphony Concerto Competition, The Tanglewood Music Center Charles E. Culpeper Foundation Fellowship and Susan B. Kaplan Fellowship, The Juilliard School Frieda and Harry Aronson Scholarship, and The Manhattan School of Music President Scholarship. Among his numerous accolades, Chris also has perfect pitch, is a professional whistler, and has the unique ability to sing an operatic high C.

CHUCK DAELLENBACH, Tuba

Chuck Daellenbach has brought music, imagination and humour to Canadian Brass since the group was formed in 1970. Playing a key role in all of the group’s ground- breaking projects, world travels and on over 100 recordings, Chuck and his gold-plated & carbon fiber tuba are the bedrock of the massive Canadian Brass repertoire – from Baroque to jazz. Chuck comes from a long line of German and Swiss musicians and, during his upbringing in Wisconsin, his father gave him daily music lessons. As a teenager, Chuck began studies with legendary Chicago Symphony tuba player, Arnold Jacobs and throughout his career whenever possible would stop in to see his mentor, Mr. Jacobs.

After earning a Ph.D. at the age of 25 from the Eastman School of Music, Chuck headed north to teach at the Music Faculty at the University of Toronto. His academic plans were soon derailed when he met trombonist Gene Watts. Together they formed this unique brass quintet with Chuck on Tuba.

For the next 38 years Gene and Chuck guided Canadian Brass to the top of their field, through thousands of wonderful performances and fantastic opportunities including two “command” performances for the Queen of England. Chuck’s dialogue during concerts has kept audiences engaged (and in stitches) for many years helping to establish a bridge of appreciation for great music of all types to musicians and non-musicians alike. Possibly the most recognized tuba player in the world, having appeared on over 100 recordings, Chuck has performed with many of the greatest musicians and conductors of the last 40 years.

The definition of a multi-tasker, Chuck always has several projects in the works at once and somehow keeps track of it all. Among his various projects is a series of 200 brass works published by Hal Leonard, many accompanied by CDs, played by music students around the world. He is President of Canadian Brass Publishing as well as Opening Day Entertainment Group, the group’s recording label. Chuck has also enlisted the services of his wife, MB, a fine musician in her own right, to do A&R, production and direct social media for Opening Day as well as support the management of the Brass in Canada.

Join us at the Abilene Convention Center on January 15th, 2022 at 7:30pm to hear the Canadian Brass live with the Abilene Philharmonic! To see more information or to buy tickets:

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