A native of Pittsburgh, Andy Kozar is a New York City based trumpeter, improviser, composer and educator that has been called a “star soloist” by TimeOutNY, noted for his “precise trumpeting” by New York Classical Review and has been said to be “agile as he navigated leaps and slurs with grace…he shifted between lyricism and aggression deftly” by the International Trumpet Guild Journal.
A strong advocate of contemporary music, he is a founding member of the contemporary music quartet loadbang, which has been called “inventive” by The New York Times, “cultivated” by The New Yorker, and “a formidable new-music force” by TimeOutNY. With loadbang, his playing has been said to be “polished and dynamic, with very impressive playing” by the Baltimore Sun, and that he “coaxed the ethereal and the gritty from [his] muted instrument…and revealed a facility for shaping notes and color” by the San Francisco Classical Voice. He is also a member the Byrne:KozarDuo, and has performed with new music ensembles including Bang on a Can, Ensemble Signal, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Argento Chamber Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, Ensemble Echappe, Tilt Brass, Wet Ink, Boston Music Viva, and Mark Gould’s Pink Baby Monster. He has performed alongside artists and conductors such as Dave Douglas, Pablo Heras Casado, James Thompson, Mark Gould and Brad Lubman, in addition to working closely with numerous composers including Helmut Lachenmann, Christian Wolff, Joe Hisaishi (Spirited Away), George Lewis, Chaya Czernowin, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composers David Lang and Charles Wuorinen. Kozar has performed at venues both domestically and abroad including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, MoMA, Rothko Chapel, The Barclays Center, and Shanghai Symphony Hall.
A flexible performer well versed in many styles, he has performed with the St. Petersburg Ballet, Wordless Music Orchestra, the Ostravska Banda (Czech Rep.), the Stamford and Hudson Valley Philharmonics, and was the principal trumpet of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra from 2014-2018. As a baroque trumpeter, he has performed as a part of the Boston Early Music Festival and with period performance ensembles including Rebel Baroque Orchestra, American Baroque Orchestra, The Bach Players of Holy Trinity in New York City, Ensemble Musica Humana, and at St. Thomas alongside the St. Thomas Boys Choir. In addition to contemporary and traditional classical music, his versatility has also allowed him the opportunity to perform with the Grammy-nominated Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra, Russian pop-stars Tamara Gverdtsiteli and Igor Krutoi, indie pop bands including YUCK, the Generationals, and Emanuel and the Fear, with Bang on a Can’s Asphalt Orchestra, and on Broadway’s Mary Poppins.
As a commercial recording artist, he can be heard on indie pop albums by Yuck on Mercury Records, Emanuel and the Fear and Bennett Lin, the Hollywood film Sushi Girl, and on PBS’s special featuring baritone Paul Byrom from Celtic Thunder. As a classical recording artist he can be heard on labels including Mode Records, New Focus Recordings, Bridge Records, Wide Hive Records, and ANALOG Arts. In 2020, Andy released A Few Kites on New Focus Recordings, an album of music for trumpet and electronics that was called “entrancing” by Alex Ross (The New Yorker, The Rest is Noise) and that “Trumpeters around the world owe Kozar…a debt of gratitude…the variety here is simply astonishing” by anearful.
In addition to performing, his work as a composer has been said to have “intriguing sonorities” by The New York Times, to be “virtuosic” by The New Yorker, “extremely effective and quite touching” by New Music Box, and “at the cutting edge of creativity” by Sequenza21. His music has been performed by loadbang, the MIVOS Quartet, Bang on a Can All Star’s pianist Vicky Chow, and many others.
Andy has studied with Anthony Pasquarelli, James Thompson, Brian McWhorter, Jens Lindemann and Mark Gould, has studied at Carnegie Mellon University, holds a BM from the Eastman School of Music, and an MM in contemporary performance at Manhattan School of Music. He has given lectures and masterclasses at institutions including The Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, Peabody Conservatory, New York University, and Northwestern University. Kozar regularly works as a teaching artist for the New York Philharmonic’s Very Young Composers program and is on faculty at Hunter College as well as the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Boston where, in addition to teaching trumpet, he is the Chair of the Instrumental Studies Department, co-directs Ensemble Uncaged, Longy’s contemporary music ensemble, and is the co-director of the Divergent Studio, a summer program designed for young composers and performers of contemporary music. Andy is a Yamaha Performing Artist and exclusively performs on Yamaha trumpets.