Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Willem de Koch is a trombonist, composer, and educator. He is co-founder of The Westerlies, the brass quartet whose music “occupies a lively territory between jazz, Stephen Foster-styled folk and chamber music with bracing melodies and, crucially, an undeniable sense of fun” (Chris Barton, LA Times). The Westerlies have produced two critically acclaimed albums of genre-defying chamber music: their 2014 debut, Wish the Children Would Come On Home: The Music of Wayne Horvitz, and a 2016 double-CD of primarily original compositions, The Westerlies. Sought-after collaborators, The Westerlies were recently featured on Fleet Foxes’ Crack-Up (2017), and Dave Douglas’s Little Giant Still Life (2017); they spent much of the past season touring with Fleet Foxes in support of their new release, including performances at Coachella, Red Rocks Ampitheatre, and Hollywood Bowl. The Westerlies’ 2017-18 season included featured performances at Musical Masterworks (New Lyme, CT); Clefworks (Montgomery, AL); Mobile Chamber Music (Mobile, AL); Joye in Aiken (Aiken, SC); Bologna Performing Arts Center (Cleveland, MS) and The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
In addition to his work with The Westerlies, Willem has performed with a wide variety of artists including improvisational-music luminaries Wayne Horvitz and Bill Frisell, electronic music duo Odesza, indie-rock songstress Feist, and jazz legends Wycliffe Gordon and George Duke, among others. Willem has performed in a wide variety of venues, from the world-renowned Carnegie Hall and Hollywood Bowl, to hole-in-the-wall jazz clubs and living rooms. He strives to bring people together to build strong communities through music, and seeks to break down the barriers of genre to create a more integrated and inclusive musical landscape.