Emblems Quintet

We are dedicated to the enrichment of our individual and collective communities through a shared commitment to music performance and education.

Emblems Quintet is dedicated to the enrichment of our individual and collective communities through a shared commitment to music performance and education.


EMBLEMS is a wind quintet and collective of musicians who value individuality, storytelling, and collaboration. Our mission has two overarching goals. The first demonstrates our commitment to inclusive programming; we bring to the stage works by composers of our time as well as pieces by composers that have been historically overlooked or brushed aside. Our second goal emphasizes the vitality of education through musical performance. Each member of Emblems is a passionate teacher dedicated to enriching communities through interactive concerts, masterclasses, and workshops.

We are a small group of individuals, each an “emblem” in our own right, who unite to create something beautiful and meaningful together. Caroline is a Michigan native, Brandon and Clarissa are from the west coast of the United States, Merryl is  South African and Canadian, and Alex has roots in Hawaii and Japan. While we work across a great distance, we are always planning the next occasion to discover, teach, and perform together.

In 2016, we performed for the first time as Emblems at the Threads All Arts Festival. Following our first performance, we distributed an international call for scores, which yielded over 150 works. In March 2017, Emblems received a grant from the EXCEL program at the University of Michigan to fund a short tour of Eastern Michigan, giving concerts in Ypsilanti, Adrian, and Ann Arbor at which we performed pieces from our call for scores. In 2018, Emblems will give the world premiere of Terms of Venery by Nathan Thatcher, a work commissioned on our behalf by the Barlow Endowment for Musical Composition. Over time, Emblems has been building an online repertoire list, which we hope will become a resource for other quintets to find fresh “Emblems-approved” works outside of the traditional canon.

Emblems is currently planning a recording and performance project for the Summer of 2018 that includes works by Thea Musgrave, Julia Wolfe, Nathan Thatcher, Brandon Rumsey, and Finnur Karlsson.

Emblems Quintet is Merryl NeilleAlex HayashiClarissa OsbornBrandon Scott Rumsey, and Caroline Steiger.

All Content ©2017 Emblems Wind Quintet
Photography by Chris O'Brien