Per Brevig’s legacy

Much-honored trombonist encourages all to invest in the next generation of musicians

Photo courtesy of Berit Brevig Per Brevig and Arne Nordheim, Norway’s composer laureate, collaborating on a piece.

Photo courtesy of Berit Brevig
Per Brevig and Arne Nordheim, Norway’s composer laureate, collaborating on a piece.

Molly Jones
Norwegian American Weekly

An incredible trombonist, devoted educator, and passionate Norwegian American, Per Brevig has spent many decades benefitting the musical community and increasing the presence of Norwegian culture in the U.S.

He first arrived in New York in 1965 when he moved from his home in Norway to attend the Julliard School, where he received his Doctor of Musical Arts five years later.

Brevig then embarked on a remarkable career, performing as the Principal Trombone of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for 26 years. In 1994, Brevig left the orchestra to become a critically acclaimed conductor and held the position of the Music Director and Conductor of the East Texas Symphony Orchestra for nine years.

In addition, Brevig has helped foster the talents of many promising musicians as an educator at the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, the Mannes College of Music, and New York University, among others.

A proud Norwegian, Brevig founded the Edvard Grieg Society, Inc. New York in 1991 to promote Norwegian music and culture in the U.S. This organization has produced more than 100 events in New York concert halls, celebrating the famed Norwegian composer and encouraging collaboration between Scandinavian and American musicians.

Brevig has many times been honored for his success as a musician and his generous support of his communities. In 1990, he was decorated with the Royal Medal of St. Olav by King Olav V of Norway, and in 2012 he received the International Trombone Association’s Award.

At the District Three Sons of Norway Convention in Albany on June 14, 2014, Brevig accepted the 2014 Leif Erikson Citation Award from Norrona Lodge President Solveig Hellstrom. She discussed the impressive career of this lodge member and cited his “tireless efforts to present Norwegian culture to the United States” as the foundation for his award. Brevig thanked the organization for the honor, and the celebration continued with entertainment by a big band—perfect for Brevig who once led his own big band as a young man in Norway.

Last summer marked Brevig’s 46th consecutive year as an Artist Faculty in Residence with the Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS), a prestigious summer festival in Aspen, Colo. In 1989, he established the Per Brevig Trombone Scholarship for young, talented trombonists from around the world who qualify for AMFS but are not able to attend due to financial barriers. The scholarship has continued to this day, and Brevig requests donations, large or small, in order to see the opportunity continue for many additional students in the years to come.

To donate to the Per Brevig Trombone Scholarship, contact Barbara Lish at (970) 205-5065 or

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 12, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.