Sunday, February 14, 2016

Concert Preview: Milwaukee Festival Brass

The next concert by the Milwaukee Festival Brass will be on Saturday February 27 at 7 PM at the Father Robert V. Carney Performing Arts Center in Pius XI High School, located at 135 N. 76th Street in Milwaukee, just north of I-94.  The program is entitled Virtuoso Brass.

Rather than my trying to summarize the program, here are some comments from the MFB Music Director Mark Taylor:

From its humble beginnings as a response to poor social conditions in the rapidly industrializing northern towns of 19th century England, the brass band has always been the people’s orchestra: an ensemble for the community. But with limited resources and little training, those early musicians had to perform the only music available for them, which was often parts for a symphony orchestra. Musical necessity became the mother of technical invention, and brass players quickly learned to play music that had originally been intended for the more nimble string or woodwind instruments. Fast forward to today, when brass bands around the world have a repertoire all their own, yet one that leans heavily on their legacy of being populated by some of the most accomplished amateur musicians in the world.

 That tradition continues in present day Milwaukee, when musicians from an incredibly diverse array of communities, professions, and generations meet weekly to form the Milwaukee Festival Brass.

The concert will open with Festmusik der Stadt Wien by Richard Strauss, a stirring fanfare originally written for a city-wide Viennese celebration. Two members of Milwaukee Festival Brass will be featured as soloists in tour-de-force performances, as euphoniumist David Meyer gives the Milwaukee-area premiere of Peter Graham’s In League With Extraordinary Gentlemen. Nathaniel Esten, a member of MFB’s High School Apprentice Program, will display his slide mastery in Tommy Dorsey’s swinging classic, Trombonology. The band’s newly named Assistant Conductor, Tyler Burmeister, will lead the band in a stirring British march, The Gladiator’s Farewell.  And the band will cap off its virtuosic demonstration with the hair-raising finale from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.

Tickets are $12, $9 for seniors and students, and group rates are available.  For more information, see the MFB website.

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