Mirari Brass doesn’t necessarily want you comfortable in their concerts! Expect the unexpected, as the terrain could vary from music of the Renaissance to Mingus and back to Bozza! Comfortable in their own skins, Mirari embraces the opportunities of 21st century mediums, and is winning a special connection with their millennial peers. As the buzz for this fresh new group grows, “FIVE!” charts the new millennium with The Mirari Brass.
1. The spirit that infuses and inspires your work seems fresh. How did the five friends of Mirari meet? And how did you forge your purpose, was there an event or experience that made you think, “Why doesn’t anyone do it this way?”
The original members met playing at Indiana University together. New members, Matt and Stephanie, have been added not only because of their musical abilities but also due to their awesome personalities.
The group is spread out all over the country. When new members have been added, it’s not based on location but instead of who will fit best with the rest of the group.
One of the main missions of the group is education. All five members are college professors who love to teach. At the same time, we don’t want to lose the other big part of being a musician, performing. Finding a group of people that get’s along really well and shares an artistic vision is a rarity, and in the end is more important than all of us living in the same place.
2. At times you need a French horn, and sometimes it is just about ‘more cowbell’! Please talk about integrating percussion into your arrangements as played by the members themselves. It certainly adds a lot of color.
Some genres of music need a non-brass element to communicate time and style. We take pride that we can provide that element from within the group itself.
In addition to adding percussion we also have pieces that include piano and singing, which showcases other members additional talents.
3. How were you selected to perform at the 2015 ITG, and what does it mean to you?
We knew a guy, but seriously…. ITG was really interested due to our emphasis on new music and commissions. In addition our 2014 at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference created a positive buzz which eventually made its way to the ITG coordinators. As college professors we encouraged to perform and connect with other musicians across the country.
Performing at ITG will give us a chance to broaden those connections with students and other professionals. We’re excited to share our music with our colleagues. This will hopefully encourage other musicians to perform some of the works we are showcasing.
4. Your website is a thing of beauty. Can you discuss the challenges and opportunities of managing bookings, websites, and recordings for a young brass quintet in the millennial age?
In some ways it’s actually easier.
Because there are so many social mediums and opportunities that reach a huge demographic of people, we can easily show and represent who we are as performers, teachers, and people!
We can easily share all of the fun things we are up to through Facebook and twitter as well as highlighting our professional side on our website and through our agent’s website, too. It’s great to our fans to be able to get to know who we are as people. It creates stronger connections:)
We started out booking all of our own gigs, and though we are well connected in the music business we did have to do a good deal of cold calling and reaching out. Figuring out that process was initially a challenge. Starting and maintaining connections with presenters is also a challenge, but fortunately we now have help with that from our management company, Ariel Artists.
Our first recording took a few years to finish due to how spread out we all were. We did a ‘Kickstarter’ campaign to raise funds for our second CD (recording in May, just before ITG), which will allow us to record all of the music in a 4-day span at a great hall in Logan, Utah.
We look to a wide variety of genres for inspiration outside of the brass genre. Jessie loves musical theatre, so that’s a huge inspiration for her. Alex is also a great jazz performer and teacher, so that’s a big inspiration for him as well. Specifically though, Stevie Wonder, Chicago, Charles Mingus, Thad Jones…
6. Do any of your members sing, and/or do you anticipate collaborations with vocalists?
Yes, our horn player Jessie also sings. We don’t have any collaborations with vocalists in the works right now, but are always open to new collaborations. Recently we started talking with some of the other Ariel Artists about potential group projects.
7. Programming seems vital to your ensemble. You seem to like to mix it up? How wide does this philosophy range in style, and how does it affect the performers and the audience?
We’ve coined the term “stylistic whiplash” to describe our programs. Meaning we play works from the Renaissance, to Classical, to Romantic, to jazz, throwing the audience between styles rapidly. We do like to mix it up, audiences have access to and enjoy all different types of music.
As a result we think it’s important to offer music from a wide variety of genres to serve a larger demographic. This keeps us continually changing the way we approach the group sound and style, molding our sound to fit each new period or genre, forcing us to be versatile performers. In addition it keeps the audience engaged and on their toes.
8. Do you find yourselves drawn to any particular places or times?
Anywhere we can make music together is fine with us:)
9. Where do you see the future of brass quintets heading in the next ten to twenty years?
We can’t speak for all brass quintets, but we think there will be many more chamber groups (not just brass quintets) popping up all over the country and world.
Chamber groups are a great vehicle to take music on the road, spreading the genre to a wide variety of people.
We also believe that live music will take on an even greater importance in the current age of Youtube and Spotify. In the past live music was a fundamental social event. Our society has somewhat moved away from that. We hope and believe that there will be a resurgence of that social importance, and as a result live chamber music.
Interested in more “FIVE!” tm Interviews?
Canadian Brass 2014, Windsync 2014, Boston Brass 2015, Mnozil Brass 2015, Spanish Brass 2014, Dallas Brass 2014, Seraph 2014, Atlantic Brass Quintet 2015, Mirari Brass 2015, Axiom Brass 2015, Scott Hartmann of the Empire Brass 2015, Jeffrey Curnow of the Empire Brass 2015, Ron Barron and Ken Amis of the Empire Brass, Meridian Arts Ensemble 2015, Berlin Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet 2015, American Brass Quintet 2015
c. 2015 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved www.davidwilliambrubeck.com
Images courtesy of Ariel Artists and YouTube
FREE MUSIC FROM MIRARI BRASS!
“Goodbye Porkpie Hat”
Charles Mingus arranged by Alex Noppe
by Alex Noppe