Andy Clausen is a New York-based trombonist, composer, producer, and educator. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Clausen currently serves as Artistic Director for Jazz at New York Youth Symphony.
As a trombonist, Clausen maintains an active performance schedule in Jazz, Chamber Music, and Pop/Rock circles. He has performed or recorded with Bill Frisell, Wynton Marsalis, Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Frank Wess, Gerald Wilson, Kurt Elling, The After Midnight Orchestra, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Wayne Horvitz, Andrew D'angelo, John Zorn, The American Brass Quintet, Fleet Foxes, Big Thief, Feist, My Brightest Diamond, Patrick Watson, Josh Garells, and Landlady. He has performed at Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fischer Hall, Radio City Music Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, Red Rocks, The Kennedy Center, The Ravinia Festival, Newport Folk Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, SF Jazz, Caramoor, The Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, The Allen Room, Dizzy Club Coca Cola, The Blue Note, Birdland, 54 Below, The Stone, The Earshot Jazz Festival, The Vancouver Jazz Festival, PDX Jazz, Music In The Mountains, The Umbria Jazz Festival, Jazz A Vienne, and the Sound of The Dolomites Festival.
As a composer, Clausen’s works for small and large ensembles explore what it means to grow up in a 21st Century America, in which both artist and listener are expected to be equally versed in the music of Bach and Bob Dylan, Louis Armstrong and Leonard Bernstein. By embracing these seemingly disparate traditions with passion, balance, organization, contemplation, and judgment, Clausen is rapidly creating a body of work that connects them with a sense of playful nostalgia. Although jazz is woven into the fabric of Clausen’s music, his projects reflect a belief that Jazz isn’t a "what" but a "how" – how to share the most honest emotions possible with fellow performers and audiences.
Clausen’s first large-scale composition “The Wishbone Suite” was commissioned by King County 4Culture, and recorded for Table & Chairs Music in 2011. The 19-movement suite for chamber jazz ensemble of clarinet, accordion, piano, trombone and drums embodies Clausen’s playful and vivid musical outlook. In the jazz tradition, compositionally crafted folk-like motifs act as springboards for the ensemble’s improvised material. While the traditional concept of the jazz solo is seldom present in Clausen’s works, improvisatory counterpoint and conversations abound in his music, creating innovative opportunities for his band-mates to assert their personal voices.
Another major outlet for Clausen’s music is The Split Stream Big Band. Formed in 2009, the ensemble has premiered over 20 original works for large Jazz ensemble, inspired by the orchestrations of Gil Evan’s, the rhythmic cycles of Gamelon music and the harmony of Igor Stravinsky. The New York Times has described the ensemble as “sleek, dynamic large-group jazz, a whirl of dark-hued harmony and billowing rhythm...The intelligent sheen of Mr. Clausen’s writing was as striking as the composure of his peers...It was impressive, and not just by the yardstick of their age.”
Clausen is a founding member of The Westerlies, a chamber ensemble dedicated to the cultivation of a new brass quartet repertoire that exists in the ever-narrowing gap between American Folk Music, Jazz, and Classical Music. Their 2014 debut “Wish The Children Would Come on Home: The Music of Wayne Horvitz” was met with critical acclaim from NPR Fresh Air, Jazz Times, and was named the NPR Jazz “Best Debut of 2014” by Francis Davis. Their 2016 self-titled double CD of original music received acclaim from LA Times, NPR Music, Chicago Reader, and Stereogum before going viral on Spotify and peaking at #2 on the iTunes Jazz charts.
Clausen’s works have also been performed by Wynton Marsalis, Cuong Vu, The Monterey Jazz Festival Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, The BMI Composer’s Workshop, The New York Youth Symphony, The Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, The Seattle Chamber Players, and earned him the Gerald Wilson Prize from Monterey Jazz Festival, The Irving Berlin Scholarship from The Juilliard School, The Lotos Foundation Prize, and Earshot Jazz's Emerging Artist of The Year Award.
An active composer for film and television, Clausen has been commissioned by The New York Times, Bloomberg TV, Carnegie Corporation, The Whitney Museum, Dell, Morgan Stanley, Mizuho Americas, Freedom House, and Blue Chalk Media. His work has appeared at Austin Film Festival, Greenwich Film Festival, DocNYC Festival, Reykjavik International Film Festival, Seattle 48 Hour Film Fest, and LA Shorts Fest.