ProMusica Sessions: Brass in the Biergarten

Justin Rowan, trumpet
Heather Zweifel, trumpet
Stephanie Blaha, horn
Jim Albrecht, trombone
Chris Blaha, tuba


Heather Zweifel is the co-founder of Burning River Brass and has served as principal trumpet of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra for seven years as well as maintaining an active freelance career in Cleveland. In addition, she has performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Opera Cleveland, the Akron Symphony Orchestra, the Canton Symphony Orchestra, and the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.

Stephanie Blaha was appointed Principal Horn of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in 2018. She is also Assistant Principal Horn of the Grant Park Orchestra since 2009, spending her summers in Chicago, IL. She held the position of Third Horn with the Winston-Salem Symphony from 2009-2014 and Fourth Horn with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra from 2005-2009. Stephanie has also performed with the Arizona Musicfest Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, and Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Originally from the Chicago area, she is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she was a student of Gail Williams and William Barnewitz. Stephanie lives in Wadsworth, OH with her husband Chris and their daughter Lizzie, where she teaches elementary music in the Wadsworth City Schools.

James Albrecht, a native of Valley City, OH, joined the music faculty at The University of Nevada, Reno in the fall of 2018. He is also the Principal Trombone in the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra and a member of the Great Basin Brass Quintet.

As an orchestral musician, Albrecht was the second trombonist in the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. He has served as acting utility trombone with the Pittsburgh Symphony and was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami, FL. He has also performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Nashville Symphony, the Colorado Symphony, the Honolulu Symphony and many regional orchestras around the country.

Albrecht began his undergraduate work at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and completed his Bachelor of Music degree at the Manhattan School of Music. He holds a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Memphis.

Through the years, Albrecht has been fortunate to study with some of the greatest brass virtuosi and pedagogues including Peter Sullivan, Tony Chipurn, Richard Stout, Mark Lawrence, David Finlayson, Steve Witser and Edward Zadrozny.

Albrecht is a Bach Performing Artist.

Dr. Christopher Blaha is the Associate Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at The University of Akron. He holds his Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in tuba performance from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Fritz Kaenzig, and his Bachelor of Music in tuba performance from The Ohio State University, where he studied with James Akins. His additional teachers include Wes Jacobs, Marianne Ploger, Ron Bishop and Gary Tirey.

Prior to joining the faculty at The University of Akron, Dr. Blaha was Assistant Professor of Tuba/Euphonium at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC from 2009-2014. Many of his former students are performing with United States military bands, teaching in the public schools or pursuing their graduate studies. Dr. Blaha was Principal Tuba of the Charleston (SC) Symphony Orchestra from 2004-2008 and has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Grant Park Music Festival, Toledo Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, Ann Arbor Symphony and Columbus Symphony orchestras. During his tenure in Charleston, Chris held instructional positions at Charleston Southern University and Armstrong Atlantic State University, in addition to his activities as a guest artist and clinician.

Dr. Blaha is a Buffet Crampon Performing Artist.