John Rutherford, one of Detroit’s most diverse musicians, has been a leading freelance trombonist for over fifteen years. He studied at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music and earned his bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Michigan. John has held teaching positions at the University of Toledo, Albion College, Henry Ford Community College, and Oakland University.
John has performed and recorded extensively with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and with Michigan Opera Theatre. He has performed with the Jerusalem Symphony, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Palermo (Sicily), the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra, and most recently at the Santo Domingo Music Festival in the Dominican Republic. He has also served as guest principal trombonist of New York State’s Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra
An active chamber musician, John has performed with the Boston Chamber Ensemble, Detroit Chamber Winds, Michigan Chamber Brass, Spectrum Brass Quintet, and he is the founding member of the Motor City Brass Quintet, whose 2009 debut CD features the premier recording of Pulitzer Prize winner John Harbison’s Christmas Vespers. He has recorded with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble (Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet) for Sony Classical, as part of the Silk Road Project. With the Silk Road Ensemble, John toured a large part of North America, including performances at Carnegie Hall. He has appeared as soloist with the Motor City Brass Band, a British-style brass band.
John also performs with many of Detroit’s leading jazz ensembles, and is lead trombonist with both Walter White and Small Medium @ LARGE and the Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra. He performs on tenor trombone, bass trombone, and tuba for pit orchestras at many theaters in Michigan and Ohio and has played in bands and orchestras for artists including Ray Charles, Jimmy Heath, Christian McBride, Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, George Russell, Terence Blanchard, Patti Austin, Gladys Knight, Debbie Gibson, The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Fifth Dimension, and Dennis DeYoung of Styx. John is the founding member of the Motor City Horns, who recently joined Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band on their 2006–2007 “Face the Promise” North American tour. With the Motor City Horns, John has collaborated with Clarence Clemons and the Temple of Soul, The Verve Pipe, Carl Craig and Tribe, and frequently with Alexander Zonjic. With Zonjic, he has shared the stage and crafted horn arrangements for many well-known jazz artists, including Bob James and Jeff Lorber. John has recorded for radio and television commercials at studios in Detroit and Los Angeles, and he is a voting member of the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs).