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Howard J. Buss

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Howard J. Buss
Howard J. Buss
Buss in August 2012
Born (1951-01-06) January 6, 1951 (age 73)

Howard J. Buss (born January 6, 1951]) is an American composer of contemporary classical music. Buss’ works include instrumental solos, chamber music, symphonic, choral, and band works.[1] His music has received awards, including from the 2011 Lieksa Brass Week Composition Competition in Finland, the 2015 American Trombone Workshop National Composition Competition,[2] the National Flute Association’s Newly-Published Music Competition, the Erik Satie Mostly Tonal Award, State of Florida Fellowships, ASCAP Plus Awards.,[3] and The American Prize.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Buss was born on January 6, 1951, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the eldest of eight children. He was raised in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, where he attended Emmaus High School. At age 14, he began his professional performing career as a member of a jazz band in Allentown and joined the American Federation of Musicians. Soon thereafter, Buss became a member of the Marine Band of Allentown and occasionally soloed with the group.[5]

As he neared high school graduation, Buss was recruited as a trombonist by the nationally known group, the Tijuana Brats. In the three years he performed with the band he appeared numerous times on national television programs, including The Tonight Show, The Mike Douglas Show (multiple times), and The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon. He recorded with RCA Records in New York City and toured extensively.[5]

In college, Buss shifted his focus from popular music and jazz to classical music. In 1972, he received his Bachelor of Arts in applied music performance from West Chester State College (now West Chester University), where he studied music composition with Larry Nelson. Shortly thereafter, he moved to East Lansing, Michigan, where he was awarded a Master of Music in trombone performance from Michigan State University in 1974 and studied with composer H. Owen Reed who inspired him to change his primary musical thrust from performance to composition.

In 1975, he received a Master of Music in composition from Michigan State University and he married Judy, a woodwind specialist. They moved to the Champaign–Urbana metropolitan area to attend the University of Illinois, where Howard received a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition in 1977. His music composition teachers at the University of Illinois included Thomas Fredrickson and Salvatore Martirano. While there, his works began being published and noticed by the wider public.[6]


In 1985, Buss established Brixton Publications (ASCAP) and Howard J. Buss Publications (BMI). The catalogs expanded to accommodate his compositions and those of other American composers. The companies were sold to Cimarron Music Press in New London, Connecticut, in October 2021. Buss continues to accept commissions to compose new compositions.


The following is a partial chronological list of Buss' works:[7] A complete list is at http://www.howardbuss.com

  • Camel Music for solo trombone, 1975
  • Coexistence for clarinet and 4 percussion, 1983
  • Trombone Concerto version for trombone and piano, 1985 and version for trombone and band, 1986
  • Sonic Fables: “Lessons from Aesop” for brass quintet and one percussion, 1992
  • Modern Times for narrator, flute, and four percussion, duration: 30’, 1995
  • Millennium Visions for clarinet and string quartet, 2000
  • The Heavens Awaken for bassoon and string quartet, 2009
  • Cosmic Portraits in 2 versions: for flute, clarinet, alto sax, and tenor sax; and flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon, 2010
  • Brom Bones in versions for trombone octet, 2005; and 10-part brass choir, 2010
  • Three Euphonics for solo euphonium, 2011
  • Jazzical #4 for horn, trombone, tuba, and piano, 2012
  • Crossroads for trombone choir and percussion ensemble, 2012
  • St. Francis and the Animals for flute, clarinet, and harp, 2013
  • Energico for band, 2014
  • Reflective Journey" for horn and 4 percussion, 2015
  • Alien Loop de Loops for trombone and electronic recording, 2015
  • Constellations for flute, piano, and percussion, 2015
  • The Enchanted Garden for bassoon and string trio, 2016
  • Interstellar for horn, tuba, and electronic recording, 2016
  • Zephyrs of the Dawn for flute choir, 2017
  • Serendipity Suite for trumpet, trombone, and piano, 2017
  • Another World Stood Here for flute choir, 2018
  • Concerto for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble 2018
  • Into the Hall of Valor for horn and band, 2018
  • Brass Miniatures for brass quintet, 7'33", 2019
  • Concertante in 2 versions: for euphonium, tuba, and piano; and euphonium, tuba, and orchestra 9', 2019
  • Reflections on the "Last Post" in 2 versions: for tuba and piano; and tuba and band 8', 2019
  • Totally Tubular for oboe/English horn and trumpet/flugelhorn, 8'05", 2019
  • Bassoonisms for 4 bassoons, 8', 2019
  • Reflections on the "Last Post in 2 versions: for clarinet and piano; and clarinet and band, 8'05", 2019
  • Skylines for flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bass clarinet, and bassoon, 10'30", 2019
  • Aquarius for saxophone trio (alto, tenor & baritone) 7', 2020
  • Sonic Tapestries for violin, alto sax, and piano, 11'15", 2020
  • Visitations from the Dark for alto sax, bass clarinet, and piano, 11'30", 2020
  • Color'tudes for bass clarinet and piano, 2021
  • Divergences for clarinet and viola, 2021
  • Gemtones for two clarinets and bassoon (or bass clarinet), 2021
  • On the Stroke of Midnight for solo horn, 2021
  • Tribute to Stephen Foster for brass quintet, 2021
  • La Sonata modello for solo piano, 2021
  • Toccata and Retro-Invention for solo piano, 2021
  • Trigon for trumpet, trombone, and tuba, 2021
  • Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra, 2022
  • Island of Enchantment: 5 Vignettes from Puerto Rico for flute, clarinet, horn, bassoon & piano, 2023
  • Spring Reverie for viola, cello, and bassoon, 2023
  • Suite Amici for flute/alto flute, and oboe/English horn, 2023
  • Cadenzas and Interludes #1 for violin and alto saxophone, 2023
  • A Middle-aged Man and His Two Mistresses for baritone voice and alto saxophone, 2023
  • One Night for clarinet, tenor saxophone, and piano, 2023
  • Sonatina of Remembrance for oboe and piano, 2023
  • Three Contemplations for wind quintet, 2023
  • Dances and Interludes for guitar and string quartet, 2024
  • Enigmatic Triptych for brass trio, 2024


  • Alien Loop de Loops for horn and electronic recording on ALIEN LOOP DE LOOPS, performed by Erika Loke, available on Spotify, Amazon, and Apple Music.
  • Alpine Spring for flute and harp on the CD "Flauto e arpa" from Bottega Discantica Records of Milan, Italy. Performed by Elena Cecconi, flute; and Paola Devoti, harp. "Flauto e arpa” BDI 188.
  • Atmospheres for trumpet and one percussion is recorded on 3 different CDs - PL Productions DT002 - ATMOSPHERES, performed by Sheryl Linch, trumpet, and Don N. Parker, percussion; and on IBS Classical Records (Spain) - SPANISH MEMOIRS, performed by Diego Arias, trumpet and Yu-Jung Chung, percussion - INCANTATION by the Samodai-Szives Duo of Budapest, Hungary.
  • Awakening for solo harp on the CD, JEWISH MEMORIES, performed by harpist Paola Devoti on La Bottega Discantica Records (Milan, Italy) BDI 248.
  • Ballad for bass trombone and piano MOVING ON featuring Jonathan Warburton on bass trombone.
  • Cosmic Portraits for flute, clarinet, alto sax, and tenor sax - COSMIC PORTRAITS - available on Spotify and Apple Music, performed by flutist Caterina Stocchi, clarinetist Antonio Fraioli, and saxophonists Caterina Villari and Emma Nicòl Pigato.
  • Currents for four percussion - Capstone Records CPS-8735 - HOWARD J. BUSS: MODERN TIMES.
  • Dances and Interludes for solo guitar - NIGHT DANCES - 4-Tay Records CD4061, performed by Robert Phillips.
  • Dragon Flight for flute and piano - FLUTE AND PIANO - La Bottega Discantica Records (Milan, Italy) BDI 237, performed by Elena Cecconi, flauto and Federico Brunello, piano.
  • Fantasie for flute and piano - DUX Recording Producers, Warszawa, POLAND - on the CD FANTAISIE, performed by Agata Igras-Sawicka,flute, and Mariusz Rutkowski, piano - DUX 0658.
  • Four Miniatures for two bassoons - DUETTINO - Soundview Multimedia CD. Performed by Arnold Irchai and Tama Kott.
  • Hurricane! for solo flute - FLAUTOSOLO from Bottega Discantica Records of Milan, Italy. Performed by Elena Cecconi. "FlautoSolo" BDI 187.
  • Incantation for trumpet and percussion - recorded on four different CDs: on PL Productions DT001 - DOUBLE TAKE featuring Sheryl Linch, trumpet, and Don N. Parker, percussion; on Equilibrium Records EQ58 OLD NEWS - New Music for Trumpet and Percussion, performed by Steven Dunn and John Pennington; on IBS Classical (Spain) Records SPANISH MEMOIRS, performed by Diego Arias, trumpet, and Yu-Jung Chung, percussion and on INCANTATION by the Samodai-Szives Duo of Budapest, Hungary.
  • Modern Times for flute, narrator and 4 percussion - Capstone Records CPS-8735 - HOWARD J. BUSS: MODERN TIMES.
  • Moon Glow for flute and piano - on the CD "SOGNANDO LO SPAZIO - Performed by Elena Cecconi and Tim Carey- Urania Records (Italy)
  • Mysterious Exit for solo flute and percussion quartet - C. Alan Publications Label PREMIERS, VOL. 1, performed by Kim McCormick, flute, with the University of South Florida Percussion Ensemble.
  • Night Flight for piccolo, clarinet, and piano - Crystal Records CD713 - TAKE WING, performed by Lois Bliss Herbine, piccolo; Allison Herz, clarinet; and Charles Abramovic, piano.
  • Night Tide for trombone and marimba - IBS Classical Records (Spain) SPANISH MEMOIRS, performed by Manuel Quesada Benitez, trombone, and Yu-Jung Chung, marimba.
  • Overture for Percussion (4 percussion) - Capstone Records CPS-8735 - HOWARD J. BUSS: MODERN TIMES.
  • Pipe Dream for solo flute - Capstone Records CPS-8721 - TWILIGHT REMEMBERED: The McCormick Duo, Kim McCormick, flute.
  • Rite of Passage for solo marimba - IBS Classical Records (Spain) - SPANISH MEMOIRS, performed by Yu-Jung Chung, marimba.
  • Scenes from the Holy Land (flute and percussion) - Capstone Records CPS-8735 - HOWARD J. BUSS: MODERN TIMES.
  • Seaside Reflections for flute and harp - Albany Records - ALLUME, performed by Brian Luce, flute, and Carrol McLaughlin, harp.
  • Sonic Fables: Lessons from Aesop - Granada Brass B-12180-2021 - 20, performed by the Granada Brass with Ana Hernandez Sanchiz, narrator and Yolanda Chung, percussion.
  • Spanish Memoirs on IBS Classical Records (Spain) - SPANISH MEMOIRS, performed by Diego Arias, trumpet and percussionists Yu-Jung Chung, Antonio Jose Herrera Molina, Daniel Jesus Martin, and Jorge Cano Rodriguez.
  • Stellar Visions for flute and marimba - Ravello Records (PARMA) RR-7814 - MCDUO, performed by the McCormick Duo.
  • Three Character Sketches for solo viola -THREE CHARACTER SKETCHES- performed by Emanuel Oliveri, available on Spotify.
  • Venetian Memoirs for solo flute, the third movement "The Train Ride Home" - De Ferrari Publications (Genoa, Italy) - ARABESCHI E GEOMETRIE performed by Elena Cecconi.
  • Wave Train for flute and marimba - HoneyRock RM01 - PREMIERS PLUS ONE The McCormick Flute and Percussion Duo; and by the Windstruck Duo (Ana Laura González, flute; and Julie Licata, percussion) on “RECIPROCITY 3”

Personal life[edit]

After receiving his doctorate in 1977, Buss and his wife, Judy, moved to Lakeland, Florida, where they resided until July, 2023.[8] They currently reside in Emmaus, Pennsylvania.


  1. ^ [1] Nb: Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies
  2. ^ "Brixton Publications - Howard J. Buss, Composer".
  3. ^ [2] Nb.: Brixton Publications: Howard J. Buss, Composer
  4. ^ [3] Nb: The American Prize.
  5. ^ a b [4] Nb:Lakeland Public Library Special Collections: Howard J. Buss Papers, Box 1, Folder 1 (1988)
  6. ^ "Howard J. Buss". Smith Archives: Composer Profile. THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON BIERCE LIBRARY. Retrieved 20 Sep 2012.
  7. ^ "Howard J. Buss, Compositions".
  8. ^ Cordeiro, Monivette. "Composer's Muses Found on Earth, Heavens". "Composer's Muses Found on Earth, Heavens": Composer Profile. Polk Life Magazine. pp. 52, 53, 60. Retrieved 2015-11-01.

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