A celebration of the American spirit through the performing arts will continue at Louisiana Tech on Thursday, Dec. 11, when the American Brass Quintet takes the stage.

The second offering of the 2008-2009 Louisiana Tech Concert Association season will feature the American Brass Quintet.

The quintet follows the American String Quartet, which performed in October as the first of this year’s Louisiana Tech Concert Association presentations.

Dr. Ken Robbins, director of Tech’s School of Performing Arts, explained that 2008-2009 offerings “will take our audiences on a cultural tour of the best music this country has to offer.”

Since 1960 the American Brass Quintet has performed on the world’s major concert stages, Robbins said, achieving status as the unparalleled leader among serious brass chamber music ensembles. Their repertoire ranges from their own definitive editions of Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces to commissioned works by significant contemporary composers. The quintet is ensemble-in-residence at The Juilliard School in New York City and the Aspen (Colo.) Music Festival.

Among the group’s accolades: “the high priests of brass” by Newsweek, “positively breathtaking” by The New York Times, and “of all the brass quintets, the most distinguished” by the American Record Guide.

The quintet has produced more than 50 recordings and premiered over 100 contemporary brass works.

Its members are:

  • Raymond Mase, trumpet, principal trumpeter of the New York City Ballet Orchestra and chair of Juilliard’s brass department; 
  • Kevin Cobb, trumpet, a regular performer with the New York Philharmonic and co-principal trumpeter of the Aspen Festival Orchestra;
  • Michael Powell, trombone, a faculty member at Juilliard, Rutgers University, SUNY Stony Brook and the Aspen Music School;
  • John D. Rojak, bass trombone, performer with “Les Miserables” during its 16-year Broadway run and the first bass trombonist to be artist-in-residence at Quad City Arts in Iowa; and
  • David Wakefield, horn, associate dean for performance activities at Juilliard and principal horn of the Little Orchestra Society.

Season ticket prices are $65 for adults, $40 for students younger than 18 and $25 for senior citizens. Single-show tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students younger than 18 and seniors.

Other 2008-2009 attractions are as follows:

Hot Club of San Francisco, Jan. 27
The inspiration for a “Hot Club” comes from the playing of gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, who performed jazz manouche, as the style is called in France, where it originated. The popularity of this sometimes flamboyant, sometimes melancholy guitar music is growing worldwide, and Hot Clubs now exist throughout the world. They can be found, for example, in San Francisco, Norway, Tokyo, New York and probably every country where the guitar is played.

An Evening of Broadway, Feb. 19
This concert features a cornucopia of songs from current popular Broadway shows as well as from time-honored revivals. The performing group consists of four classically trained musicians – including native Louisianian Naomi Cordell – who boast national opera and musical theater credits. Highlights include contemporary cutting-edge shows such as “Wicked” and “Les Miserables” and ample selections from Broadway icon Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The All American Boys Chorus, April 2
One of the most widely traveled choirs in the world, the All-American Boys Chorus was founded in 1970 in Southern California. The youngsters, ages 8 to 15, perform different styles and genres, building on the versatility of the voices and mixing in high energy and theatricality. Artistic collaborations with a plethora of organizations – from Disney to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra – have given the Chorus a notable stature.

All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. in Howard Auditorium, Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets may be purchased through the Howard Center Box Office from 1:30-4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call (318) 257-3942 for tickets or more information. 

Written by Sallie Hollis