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American Brass Quintet

Saturday, September 30, 2017 | 8 pm

Essential Classics

Baldwin Auditorium

$10 Duke student tickets and $20 tickets for patrons ages 30 and under will go on sale TUESDAY, AUGUST 29 at 11 AM. Tickets will be available for purchase online, via phone at 919-684-4444, and in person at the Duke University Box Office, Monday through Friday, 11 AM to 6 PM.


Famously dubbed “the high priests of brass” by Newsweek, the American Brass Quintet has built a world of its own over the last sixty years, sculpting new repertoire and setting the artistic standards for the modern classical brass ensemble. With the bright highs of two trumpets and the undergirding low of a bass trombone, the American Brass Quintet has expanded the reputation and catalogue of classical brass through both contemporary commissions and arrangements of canonical works not intended for horns. They’ve made it their mission to treat both past and present with equal zeal.

The Quintet begins with a suite of renaissance music. The musicians mourn with John Dowland’s exquisite lute piece Lachrimae Antiquae; they reimagine the intricate canzonettas and madrigals of Thomas Morley, and they cavort through William Brade’s delightful Canzon. The night then turns toward the new with Joan Tower’s pulsing Copperwave, premiered for the hundredth anniversary of the Juilliard School, where the quintet has been in residence for three decades. They move next to Kenneth Fuchs’ second brass quintet, 2016’s “American,” which sometimes feels like a wonderfully warped fanfare. The night ends with Eric Ewazen’s bubbly Colchester Fantasy, whose intoxicating movements are named for the high times and engaging characters of English pubs in what is believed to be the oldest town in Britain.


Thomas Morley: Arise, Awake and I Go Before, My Darling

John Dowland: Lachrimae Antiquae

William Brade: Canzon

Joan Tower: Copperwave

Kenneth Fuchs: Brass Quintet No. 2 (“American”)

Eric Ewazen: Colchester Fantasy

“The members of the American Brass Quintet breathe as one, provide effortless well-matched phrasing, and generally produce a superbly balanced, fine golden sound.”

Los Angeles Times

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