Parkland Press

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Canadian Brass tour stops at Miller Symphony Hall

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN Special to The Press in Focus

The Canadian Brass, the most famous brass ensemble in the world, presents its holiday season tour concert, “Christmas Time Is Here,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 23, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

The Canadians are among the most famous, most entertaining, and most musically excellent of all brass groups today.

Their storied history dates back to 1970. For nearly 50 years, the group has produced the highest-quality performances in venues all over the globe.

The Canadian Brass has produced 137 recordings and videos, sold more than two million CDs and has been responsible for adding nearly 600 new works and arrangements to the brass quintet repertoire.

In many ways, the Canadian Brass has led a brass quintet revival, moving the genre from an association with stuffy recitals to an entertaining style that embraces all types of music, while injecting humor and maintaining the highest musical integrity.

The present cast of Canadians is led by founder and tubaist Chuck Dallenbach. Starting tuba lessons with his father as a boy, Dallenbach moved on as a teen to study with the great Arnold Jacobs of Chicago Symphony renown and famous for his “song and wind” approach to brass playing.

Dallenbach received a PhD from the Eastman School of Music and joined the faculty of the University of Toronto. There, he met trombonist Gene Watts, and the rest is brass-quintet history. Dallenbach may be the world’s most recognized tuba player and he among the best.

Watts retired from touring in 2010. The trombone chair has been occupied by Achilles Liarmakopoulos since 2011.

Liarmakopoulos received degrees from Yale University, Curtis Institute of Music, San Francisco Conservatory, and Philippos Nakas Conservatory, the latter in his native Athens, Greece. He has won numerous prestigious competitions and has five solo albums to his credit. He has toured the world as a soloist and often performs with Pink Martini. He is adjunct trombone professor at Brooklyn College, CUNY.

Jeff Nelson is in his ninth year as French horn player for the Canadian Brass. He has performed for more than 25 years with orchestras all over the world, including the New York Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic. He was guest principal horn for a Carnegie Hall concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has also performed in Broadway show orchestra pits and on dozens of movie and videogame soundtracks. He is professor of music at Indiana University.

Trumpeter Chris Coletti has been with the group since 2009. He has performed with a variety of musicians in many styles, including Metropolitan Opera Brass, Ricardo Muti, Quincy Jones, Carlos Santana, and Miami Sound Machine. He also performs on the Baroque trumpet with early music ensembles. Coletti received a bachelors from Manhattan School of Music and a masters from the Julliard School. He is assistant professor of trumpet at Ithaca College.

Trumpeter Caleb Hudson is the newest member of the ensemble, joining in 2013. Husson received bachelors and masters degrees from the Julliard School. Hudson is equally at home playing Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major, BWV 1; performing with early music ensembles, or appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” He is assistant professor of trumpet at the University of North Texas College of Music.

The Canadian Brass are quite busy this holiday season with 22 performances in 20 venues in 13 states from Nov. 18 to Dec. 22.

Tickets: Miller Symphony Hall box office, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown; allentownsymphony.org; 610-432-6715