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Robert Posten, co-founder of Annapolis Brass Quintet, dies at age 75

Former Annapolis Brass Quintet member Robert Posten died at the age of 75 in June.
Former Annapolis Brass Quintet member Robert Posten died at the age of 75 in June.

Robert Posten, the co-founder of the Annapolis Brass Quintet, which toured the globe for more than two decades, died June 10 at age 75.

Born Jan. 24, 1945, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Mr. Posten made a name for himself both with his talent and his personality, becoming a fixture in the quintet as a bass trombonist after he graduated from Lebanon Valley College with a degree in music education in 1967.

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From 1971 through 1993, Mr. Posten traveled across the world with the quintet, performing in concerts in all 50 states as well as in Europe, Asia and Central America. Their accomplishments reached the halls of Congress in 1993, where then-Sen. Barbara Mikulski honored the group after their final concert earlier that year.

Mr. Posten’s widow, Ellen Bungay-Posten, said the bass trombonist served as a mentor on the team, something that translated to his family life as well.

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She said that when their daughter was little, she joined a swim team and the Postens would attend some of her swim meets.

Rather than being the typical “I’m just here for my kid” type of father, Ms. Posten said, her husband implored her to learn the names of all of the other swimmers so that they could cheer for each one individually when their turn to swim came up.

“Despite the fact that the swimmers had caps on, were underwater and couldn’t hear us, we’d make lots of noise for each swimmer,” she said.

His enthusiasm for connected communities spilled over into Pines on the Severn, where he turned trash collection into an event, sometimes trying to save items that had been discarded in hopes someone else in the neighborhood could use it.

Ms. Posten said her husband “turned it into a major, highly anticipated social event” and would pull out “anything that was vaguely useful” in hopes of finding it a home.

While she said her husband’s personality was driven by a desire to help individuals, his accomplishments ultimately stretched across the globe with the Annapolis Brass Quintet.

The group, billed on its website as being the first full-time performing brass ensemble, also performed the first brass concert in at the Brahms-Saal concert hall in Vienna, Austria, in 1978, more than 100 years after the first concert was performed there. The 600-seat concert hall in which they performed is known for facilitating intimate classical music, but had yet to have a brass ensemble play there until Mr. Posten’s team.

The group also established the International Brass Quintet Festival in Baltimore in 1980, which brought talent from across the globe to perform in the city.

Ms. Posten said her husband was a driven person; someone who didn’t like school but was more than willing to teach himself. She said he taught himself carpentry and plumbing to help fix up rundown houses in Baltimore, describing him as “a self-taught scholar.”

“And I think he really believed there wasn’t anything he couldn’t learn to do and couldn’t teach himself to do,” she said.

A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Posten is survived by his daughter, Anne Posten, and son-in-law, Christoph Roeber, of Berlin, Germany; and his sister, Maude Parry of Ebro, Florida.

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