John D. Rojak joined the American Brass Quintet in 1991. He is bass trombonist with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, IRIS, New York Pops, Stamford Symphony, Little Orchestra Society, Riverside Symphony, and the Scandia Orchestra. He has performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus, New York Chamber Symphony, and as solo trombone of Solisti NY. He has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, for Pope John Paul II in New York's Central Park and St. Patrick's Cathedral, and for Pope Francis in Madison Square Garden. As part of Gunther Schuller’s handpicked orchestra, he was involved in the recording of Brahms’ First Symphony and Beethoven’s Fifth for a collaborative CD to Mr. Schuller’s book “The Compleat Conductor.” Mr. Rojak has performed with many ballet companies, including the Bolshoi, Kirov, Royal, Netherlands Dance Theatre, China, and San Francisco. Broadway shows include the 16-year run of Broadway’s Les Misérables, The Producers, Sugar Babies, and Shirley MacLaine on Broadway and he has played with the big bands of Mel Lewis, Gerry Mulligan, Toshiko Akioshi, and Bob Mintzer. In addition to classical recordings, he can be heard on soundtracks for commercials and film, and played with Metallica, Peter Gabriel, and Styx.
Active as a soloist and clinician, Rojak was the first bass trombonist to be artist in residence at Quad City Arts in Illinois/Iowa and has been featured at the International Trombone Association Workshops in Champaign-Urbana, Boulder, Salt Lake City, New York City, and Iowa City as well as performing Eric Ewazen's Concerto for Bass Trombone with the Daejon, Korea, Philharmonic. In August 2017, he performed Daniel Schnyder's subZERO, the first performance of a bass trombone concerto in the history of the Aspen Music Festival. As artistic lead of a consortium, he gave the world premieres of Ken Fuchs' Bass Trombone Concerto in 2019 at the American Trombone Workshop in Ft. Myers, Virginia with the US Army Band and of the version with piano in Morehead, Kentucky. He has given master classes and recitals throughout the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Brazil, and Australia, been visiting trombone instructor at the North Carolina School of the Arts, and adjudicator for competitions including Concert Artists Guild, Fischoff, and Coleman.
In the spring of 2000 Rojak made his New York concerto debut, performing Walter Ross’ Trombone Concerto No. 2 in Alice Tully Hall with the New York Chamber Symphony, Gerard Schwarz conducting. The piece was recorded and is featured on Rojak Rocks on Navona Records. He has been featured with the trombone section of the Brass Band of Battle Creek, and played the solo trombone part with Vladimir Spivakov and the Moscow Virtuosi in the North American premiere of Schnittke’s Five Fragments Based on Paintings of Hieronymus Bosch for Violin, Trombone, and Tenor in Avery Fisher Hall. His first solo recording, “The Romantic Bass Trombone” with pianist Robert Koenig, on MMC Records, was critically acclaimed in several trade journals. Other solo recordings are “Rhapsody for Bass Trombone and Strings” composed by Eric Ewazen with the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra on the Albany CD, “Bass Hits”, and “The Essential Rochut” on Belle records. He has collaborated on chamber music recordings with Andrew Violette, David Sampson, and Jeffrey Nichols.
Rojak received a Bachelor of Music degree from Juilliard and held fellowships at the Tanglewood and Waterloo Music Festivals. He is on the faculties of Juilliard, Colorado College Summer Music Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival and School, where a scholarship was named for him in 2015. As an artist representative for Michael Rath Trombones, Rojak plays a custom designed R9 bass trombone.