Joseph Howard Brooks

1952 - 

Joseph Brooks, an accomplished performer on clarinet, saxophone, oboe, and flute, is professor of clarinet and saxophone at Central Washington University, a position he has held since 1994. Brooks is a frequent soloist and recitalist, widely acclaimed for his consummate artistry and ability to play in many musical styles.

While he is most often heard as a classical musician, Brooks has played in jazz ensembles such as The Denton Jazz Machine, The A Train Express, and The Jazz Connection. He is also a composer and has written several works for clarinet. Synergism, a work he composed for band, reflects his interests in both traditional and more contemporary musical styles.

As a guest artist, clinician, and conductor, Brooks has performed on many college and university campuses nationwide. He served as the solo clarinetist with the United States Continental Army Band, was principal clarinet and featured soloist with the Rome Festival Orchestra, and was invited to give a recital at the 1992 convention of the International Clarinet Association.

Brooks, whose father was a noted band director in Oregon, began playing saxophone and clarinet at an early age. After graduating from high school in 1970, he took some classes at Oregon State University and then entered the armed services, where he completed a diploma at the Navy School of Music in 1973. His ability as a performer on both clarinet and saxophone led to an appointment as principal clarinetist and soloist on both instruments with the United States Continental Army Band, one of four having "special band" status in the Washington, D.C., area.

Brooks completed a B. Mus. in woodwind performance on clarinet, oboe, and flute at Walla Walla College, now University, in 1982. While a student at WWC, he developed proficiency on both the oboe and flute and served as Assistant Band Director. Upon completion of his degree, he joined the faculty as an instructor and Associate Band Director. A year later he assumed direction of the band, a position he held for the next four years.

During his time at WWC, he made a distinguished contribution as a teacher, director, and performer. In those years, Brooks completed a master's degree in woodwind performance on clarinet, saxophone, and oboe at the University of Oregon (1986), the first student at UO to be allowed do so on multiple instruments.

He also taught as an adjunct professor at Whitman College, serving as visiting lecturer, jazz band director, and woodwind teacher in 1986-1987. In 1987, Brooks accepted a position as assistant professor in clarinet at Western Kentucky University, where he taught until his appointment at Central Washington University.

During his years at CWU, Brooks, a sought-after teacher, has been a featured soloist with university ensembles, given numerous recitals, and held principal chairs in both oboe and clarinet in regional orchestras. He has also been a member of the Brooks/Ott Jazz Quartet and the faculty woodwind quintet. He takes special pleasure in performing as often as is possible with his son, Jeffrey Brooks, also an accomplished clarinetist.

A member of Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honor society, since 1982, Brooks was also nominated for the Potter College Creative Award at Western Kentucky University in 1993. While studying at the Navy School of Music, he received a citation as student of the quarter. He is a member of several professional associations.


Sources: Biographical Resume provided by Joseph Brooks (2007); Program biographies; Faculty Records on file at Walla Walla University; Numerous contacts over several years; personal knowledge.