The Westerlies are a New York-based brass quartet comprised of childhood friends from Seattle: Riley Mulherkar and Chloe Rowlands on trumpet, and Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch on trombone.
Formed in 2011, the self-described “accidental brass quartet” takes its name from the prevailing winds that travel from the West to the East. “Skilled interpreters who are also adept improvisers” (NPR’s Fresh Air), The Westerlies explore jazz, roots and chamber music influences to create the rarest of hybrids: music that is both "folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous” (NPR Music). Equally at home in concert halls and living rooms, The Westerlies navigate a wide array of venues and projects with the precision of a string quartet, the audacity of a rock band, and the charm of a family sing-along.
The ensemble has produced two critically acclaimed albums of genre-defying chamber music: its 2014 debut, Wish the Children Would Come On Home: The Music of Wayne Horvitz (Songlines), and a 2016 double-CD of primarily original compositions, The Westerlies (Songlines). Sought-after collaborators, The Westerlies are also featured on recordings by Fleet Foxes (Nonesuch), Vieux Farka Touré (Six Degrees Records), Common (Lakeshore) and Dave Douglas (Greenleaf). The group is currently developing an evening-length program in collaboration with Grammy-nominated vocalist and composer Theo Bleckmann, entitled Song of Refuge & Resistance.
The Westerlies’ 2018-19 season will include engagements at Seattle Pacific University, the Norton Center for the Arts, the Moore Theatre, Shenandoah University, Purdue University, the Oxford Performing Arts Center, Luther College, the Schubert Club, St. John’s University and the University of Washington. In addition, the ensemble is producing the first annual Westerlies Fest, September 20-23 in Seattle. Combining evening performances with daytime in-school concerts and a weekend creative music workshop, The Westerlies will reach over 1,000 students in Seattle and surrounding underserved areas to give back to the city that raised them.
Recent performances include the National Gallery of Art, the Cliburn, Mobile Chamber Music, Musical Masterworks Old Lyme, Joye in Aiken, and Delta State University, in addition to residencies at ClefWorks in Montgomery, Alabama, Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, and Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport, Maine. The ensemble was featured with Fleet Foxes at Coachella, the Hollywood Bowl, the Greek Theatre Berkeley, Red Rocks, the Newport Folk Festival, Merriweather Post Pavilion, the Santa Fe Opera, Outside Lands in San Francisco, Panorama New York City, and the Pitchfork Music Festival.
Educational and community engagement is a core element of The Westerlies' mission. Each season, the ensemble reaches thousands of students around the country with their innovative and inspiring assemblies and masterclasses.