During the first week of November, Colburn brass students will have the valuable opportunity to rehearse and perform alongside the venerated San Francisco Symphony brass section on a thrilling concert that spans the ages from early music to contemporary film score pieces. November 9’s concert will close out a weeklong residency during which San Francisco Symphony brass members will lead master classes and mock auditions so Colburn brass students can get the most from these top-notch professionals.
After previous successful visits from the LA Phil and New York Philharmonic brass sections, the side-by-side collaborations have become a tradition that Colburn students and faculty both look forward to. According to Brass Chair Mark Lawrence, curator of the week and conductor of Saturday’s concert, “Being exposed to the teaching of professional brass players and performing with them gives our brass students a really great idea of what they have to do and where they have to be to be successful.”
Each night before the concert, San Francisco Symphony brass members will present master classes focusing on a different instrument. Tuesday, November 5’s master class will be led by trumpet players Aaron Schuman and Guy Piddington; Wednesday’s by San Francisco Symphony Principal Horn Robert Ward; Thursday’s by trombonist Tim Higgins; and Friday’s by Principal Tuba Jeffrey Anderson. “Being able to play in a master class for a well-respected and established professional is always a valuable learning experience,” Lawrence explained.
Besides master classes, students will spend their week immersed in rehearsals for the November 9 concert. On Saturday evening, they will begin the program with three Gabrieli antiphonal brass pieces performed with San Francisco Symphony players. Then, the San Francisco brass quintet will play an arrangement of the Shostakovich String Quartet No. 12. Following intermission, the program picks back up with contemporary works, including i/o (inside/outside) by San Francisco trombonist Timothy Higgins. A brass arrangement of the theme from the 1986 movie The Mission, titled Gabriel’s Oboe, follows. The program closes with Hollywood composer Bruce Broughton’s Fanfares, Marches, Hymns, and Finales.
“I’m really looking forward to hearing [the San Francisco brass members] play the Shostakovich string quartet arrangement, and I’m excited to have everybody play the Broughton which is a very challenging large-scale work for brass, but I’m excited about the whole program. I think it’s going to be very well balanced and enjoyable for the audience,” shared Lawrence.
Lawrence encourages audience members who haven’t been to a brass concert before to come and experience this type of performance. “I think they’ll come away being impressed and have a really good time. There’s not many things more thrilling than a great brass concert.”