Now available on iTunes by ABC Classics: Punch: The Brass Music of Katy Abbott, featuring Cross Sections for solo trumpet and trombone with brass ensemble, Midnight Songs and undercurrenT with Ensemble Three, and Punch for brass ensemble.

The Victorian Music Teachers' Association was kind enough to request an interview with me for the most recent volume of "their "Music and the Teacher" (Vol 43:2 Spring 2017).


Queen's Birthday Brass Concert! Here is a little taste of tomorrow's brass chamber music concert, organised by students at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM). The concert winners and finalists of the 2016 MCM Chamber Music Competition, recipients of the inaugural Athenaeum Club, Melbourne Prize, and summer fellows of the 2017 Yale Summer School of Music / Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. The program will include Bruce Adolphe - Triskellion William Lovelock - Miniature Suite Enrique Crespo - Suite Americana Leonard Bernstein - West Side Story Suite Monday 12 June 2017, 6:30pm St Carthages Catholic Church, Parkville Free!

Posted by Melbourne Brass - Melbourne Conservatorium of Music on Sunday, June 11, 2017

Happy to have a holiday weekend, but I'm going to need more than three days to go through all this exciting new music I got from qPress Music Publishing while at #itg2017

Posted by Joel Brennan on Saturday, June 10, 2017

Heading back to Melbourne after an enriching week at the International Trumpet Guild (Official) Conference. I had a...

Posted by Joel Brennan on Sunday, June 4, 2017

A pleasure to have taken part in this.

Posted by Joel Brennan on Monday, March 27, 2017
Posted by Joel Brennan on Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Preparing for Saturday night's performance of Grisey's "Quatre chants" at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM)...

Posted by Joel Brennan on Wednesday, September 14, 2016

This seems a lifetime ago. Japanese premier of Dai Fujikura's "Crushing Twister." As exciting as the title suggests!

Posted by Joel Brennan on Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Christmas Concert! German Trinity Lutheran Church, 7pm. Fasch Concerto, Handel Suite, Biber Sonata, Carols & more!

Posted by Joel Brennan on Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hottest Messiah performance of my life. Seriously: 42°C (108°F) out today.

Posted by Joel Brennan on Saturday, December 19, 2015

Trumpet player's perspective recording at @ABCClassic w/ Christian O'Brien from @alpineband

Posted by Joel Brennan on Saturday, February 28, 2015

Excited to play with Les Craythorn and the EMS Synthi 100 today

Posted by Joel Brennan on Friday, April 22, 2016


Joel Brennan enjoys a diverse career performing as an orchestral, chamber, and solo musician. Joel has performed with orchestras around the globe, including the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Australia), Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (Korea), Rotterdam Philharmonic (Netherlands), Winnipeg Symphony (Canada), Malaysian Philharmonic, and Bilkent Symphony Orchestra (Turkey), and has served as principal trumpet of the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra (Japan) and Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra (Netherlands).

A Yamaha Performing Artist, Joel can be heard in performances, broadcasts, and recordings with the Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras as well as numerous other ensembles. Joel is also an active performer in Melbourne's early music scene, performing as principal trumpet with the Saint John's Bach Orchestra, Melbourne Baroque Orchestra, and with the Australian Chamber Choir.

A proponent of contemporary music and chamber music, Joel has given solo and collaborative recitals in the United States, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Australia and Japan. He is a member of Ensemble Three, a unique trio of trumpet, trombone, and guitar which has been praised as “an inspiring example of forward-thinking classical music culture” and won the 2017 Melbourne Recital Centre Contemporary Masters Award.

Joel received his bachelor's degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and before pursuing graduate studies at the Yale School of Music where he is a recipient of the Doctor of Musical Arts degree. Awarded a Fulbright Grant 2007, Joel spent a year performing, teaching, and studying in the Netherlands.

Deeply devoted to teaching, Joel is currently Senior Lecturer in Music Performance at Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (University of Melbourne) and has also been on faculty at Brandon University (Canada). He has been a guest teaching artist at the Australasian Trumpet Academy, Danish/German Brass Academy, and Oberlin Trumpet Workshop. He is the creator of Poper's Game a unique practice app for trumpet players.

On Stage

Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan


Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan


Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan
Joel Brennan


I am on staff at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (University of Melbourne) where I coordinate all trumpet activities, teach one-to-one trumpet lessons, and conduct brass ensembles. MCM offers a BMus with the option to specialize (performance, composition, musicology, ethnomusicology) or to study music more broadly, as well as postgraduate degrees. About half of the 20+ member trumpet studio are performance majors.

Brass students at MCM have the opportunity to perform with a variety of ensembles including:

  • The University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performs orchestral masterworks and new Australian commissions in Hamer Hall and the Melbourne Recital Centre. The orchestra has toured to Sydney and will tour Asia in 2018
  • The Melba and Tallis Brass Ensembles performs original works for 10-12 part brass ensemble as well as arrangements. The Melba brass Ensemble performs at various university functions, outreach concerts at area schools, and has toured to Sydney, Germany, and Denmark.
  • Brass Quintets - students performing in brass quintets have won the MCM chamber music competition, local prizes, as well as international fellowships.
  • Wind Symphony
  • Philharmonic Orchestra - a chamber orchestra for training players
  • Big Band
  • Concert Band
  • Baroque ensemble

Training on period instruments is integrated into the curriculum, with all trumpet students being required to achieve basic profieceny on baroque trumpet. Students who develop a deep interest in early music are able to take lessons on baroque trumpet and perform with the school baroque ensemble.

MCM's collection of instruments allows students to receive the training and experience needed for a modern-day performer prior to having saved up enough money to purchase a set of their own. The collection includes:

  • Piston C trumpets: Bach 229/25H, Philadelphia, Chicago
  • Rotary Trumpets: Schagerl Hörsdorf Heavy C (x3), Vienna Bb
  • Piccolo trumpets: Schilke P5-4, Yamaha YTR-9835
  • Eb/D trumpets: Yamaha YTR-9636 and 6610S
  • C cornets: Schilke A2C (x2)
  • Bb cornet: Yamaha YCR-8335
  • Flugelhorns: Yamaha YFL-631 (x4)
  • Baroque trumpets: Egger Historic 3-hole Haas (x3), Meinl & Lauber 3-hole (x3), Keavy Van-Ryne 4-hole
  • Keyed trumpet: Egger after Alois Doke (Linz, c. 1823)

Stay up to date on news from the MCM brass area by liking us on Facebook

In addition to my brass teaching activities at MCM, I coordinate the Master of Music (Orchestral Performance) - a collaborative degree with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra - and all other postgraduate performance studies.

App: Poper's Game

Poper's Game | Ensemble Three | Reveille | Fulbright

Download in the App Store

New, updated, iOS-11 version coming soon!

A unique practice tool for trumpet players that helps build confidence, efficiency, and consistency. Stop fussing with your embouchure so you can focus on whats important - the music.

Every musician needs to play with ease and accuracy, yet oftentimes misses entrances or plays with a strained tone quality. For trumpet players, these errors are commonly a result of unnecessary embouchure adjustments, whether made knowingly or impulsively.

Methods of addressing the psychological and physical implications of seeing and anticipating a particular pitch are elusive. This app encourages consistency, both in embouchure and breath, so as to minimize mistakes and increase efficiency and control. The app displays a randomly-generated pitch only after the player has set his/her embouchure and begun to breathe. An accuracy score is logged to track progress in the player's efforts to make reliable entries in any register.

"Poper's game" was created by Joel Brennan (University of Melbourne) based on the pedagogy of Roy Poper (Oberlin College Conservatory). For best results, the app should be used in daily practice sessions with strict attention to detail.


Poper's Game | Ensemble Three | Reveille | Fulbright

Ensemble Three was founded by Melbourne-based musicians unified in their goal to diversify and expand the chamber music repertoire for trumpet, trombone, and guitar. Over the past five years the group has curated a unique collection of cutting-edge new works and presented performances that resonate with current-day audiences. Each member brings a distinctive musical background to the ensemble, with influences ranging from jazz and popular music to traditional “classical” and avant-garde contemporary music. Many of the pieces they have commissioned enhance the sonic possibilities of their unique instrumental combination through the addition of pre-recorded electronic soundscapes and live electronic sound manipulation.

The group’s debut album, Midnight Songs, received numerous favourable reviews and has been described as an “intriguingly beautiful record” (CutCommon) that “hold[s] the listener enthralled” (Soundboard). They won the 2017 Melbourne Recital Centre Contemporary Masters Award, and ABC Classic FM showcased their world-premiere performance of Wally Gunn’s Pinwheel at the 2017 International Rostrum of Composers in Sicily.

Through their performances in Australia and overseas, a dedication to commissioning new works, and an ever-expanding catalogue of recordings, Ensemble Three has established itself as “an inspiring example of forward-thinking classical music culture in Australia” (CutCommon).

More info can be found at


Poper's Game | Ensemble Three | Reveille | Fulbright

Reveille is a collective dedicated to exploring new paths for trumpet while connecting performers, composers and audiences in innovative ways. We use commissions and premieres as starting points: opportunities for composers to communicate directly with audiences worldwide, for audiences to interact with artists, and for performers to gain intriguing glimpses into new repertoire.

The collective sponsors an annual Composition Prize that receives submissions from all over the world.

For more information, please visit the


Poper's Game | Ensemble Three | Reveille | Fulbright

Jasper Johns-style Dutch Flag
Jasper Johns 'US Flag'

I was awarded a Fulbright Grant to travel to the Netherlands in 2007/2008. Sponsored by the Fulbright Center, Netherland-America Foundation and the Institute of International Education, this grant allowed me to take residence in the Netherlands for one year to engage in a project focusing on contemporary

During my time in Holland, I worked closely with Arto Hoornweg (Rotterdam Philharmonic, Utrecht Conservatory) who served as a teacher and advisor. I also became active in Holland's orchestral scene, performing with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Amsterdam Symphony, Orkest van het Oosten and Joop van den Ende's production of Ciske de Rat.


p: +61 3 9035 8601

Joel Brennan
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
University of Melbourne
Melbourne, Victoria 3010