Our Brass Quintet Heritage

As musicians, it is important to know our history; the people and ensembles that came before us and built something from which we all benefit. Because of this, I really appreciate it when ensembles offer a history of the group. When an ensemble is marketing itself, the only concern is who the current members are. But for anyone who is really interested in brass quintet playing, for example, it is also nice to be able to see who the former members are. Both the American Brass Quintet and the Canadian Brass acknowledge former members on their websites.

I really like the diagram below, because it clearly lays out the members, the length of time they played with the group, who else they played with in the group, and on the American Brass Quintet website, you can click on a musician’s name and read their biography. This is a wonderful way for the current quintet to pay tribute to the musicians who came before them. In many ways, these former members are responsible for the jobs that the current members have. Obviously the current members had to do the work to get into the quintet, but thanks to the players that came before them, they did not have to do the work of forming the quintet or building a legacy.

A similar diagram can be found on the Canadian Brass website. One thing that I like about    the Canadian Brass is that they seem to really celebrate the personality of each individual member of the group. As such, when a musician leaves the group, it seems like they really are still part of the CB legacy. The CB have also laid out the Discography section of their website in the form of a timeline so that it is easy for someone to see which members played on what recording.

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