This weekend, True North Brass will be performing in three concerts as part of the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival. On Saturday, we’re joined by Eric Robertson for a program featuring the world première of Scott’s transcription of Mussorgksy’s Pictures at an Exhibition. On Sunday afternoon, you can hear us in a free concert on the grounds of Rideau Hall, the official residence of Canada’s Governor General. For this performance, we’ll be playing alongside Ottawa’s Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet. And on Monday, we once again join the Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet and five more brass players for a performance of R. Murray Schafer’s Isfahan.

Here’s where we’ll be:

Saturday: TNB with Eric Robertson

Sunday: TNB with Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet

Monday: R. Murray Schafer’s Isfahan

For lots more about the musicians, the music, and the programs, click here or follow the link below!

Saturday, August 2nd, 8:00 pm, Dominion-Chalmers United Church

Our Saturday evening performance features organist Eric Robertson. Eric is a Juno and Gemini award winner, and is music director and organist at St. Paul’s Bloor Street in Toronto. We’ll be joining Eric for three numbers: Scott’s Ceremonial Fanfare and Morning Music, and Mussorgksy’s Pictures at an Exhibition in Scott’s brand new transcription for brass and organ. The quintet alone will also be performing Calixa Lavallée’s La rose nuptiale and Morley Calvert’s Suite on Canadian Folk Songs, and Eric will be performing four solo selections, including three works by J.S. Bach. You can see the festival program here (PDF).

We’re all very excited about Scott’s version of Pictures. As brass players, we finally get a crack at the juicy solos that Ravel foolishly assigned to other instruments, and the combination of brass and organ creates an absolutely fabulous sound.

For this performance, we’re also delighted to welcome one of the founding members of True North Brass (and another brass quintet you may have heard of), Stuart Laughton. Stuart will be filling in for Ray, and he’ll be featured in Morning Music, a piece he has performed many times and which was originally written for him. Stuart’s energy and musicianship make him a real joy to work with, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy hearing him play with TNB once again.


Sunday, August 3rd, 4:00 pm

On Sunday afternoon, you can hear us on the grounds of Rideau Hall in a free concert. We’re delighted to be sharing the stage with the Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet (Karen Donnelly and John Ellis, trumpets; Jill Kirwan, horn; Donald Renshaw, trombone; Nick Atkinson, tuba). It’s a real treat to get to play with such great musicians and fabulous people. Both groups will perform selections on their own, but of course we’ll also band together for some spectacular pieces for double brass quintet.

You can see the festival program here (PDF), but it’s not entirely accurate, so what follows is the most up-to-date list of the repertoire TNB will be performing at this concert. (The other information in the program is correct.)

Scott Irvine: The True North

Duke Ellington: Don’t Get Around Much Any More

Monti: Czardas (featuring Al’s dazzling trombone playing)

arr. Scott Irvine: Purple Bamboo Melody

Jim McGrath: Tango from Three Miniatures

arr. Al Kay: Londonderry Air

Youmans, Kahn & Eliscu: Carioca

For this performance and again on Monday evening, TNB is very pleased to once again welcome Brendan Cassin. Brendan is a fabulous trumpet player who performs all over the Toronto area, and I always consider myself lucky to get to play alongside him. Useless trivia item: with Brendan filling in for Ray, everybody in the group is either a french horn player (Joan) or married to one!


Monday, August 4th, 8:00 pm

Our final performance in Ottawa is part of a celebration of the 75th birthday of one of Canada’s greatest composers, R. Murray Schafer. The program (see it here, PDF) features four works by Schafer, including a world première, but the grand finale is his work Isfahan for three brass quintets. The work was inspired by two historic buildings in the Iranian city of Isfahan, both of which have remarkable acoustic properties. For this performance, we once again join the Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet, plus Geoffrey Thompson and Michael Fedyshyn (trumpets), Lawrence Vine (horn), Colin Traquair (trombone), and Christopher Lee (tuba). The performance will be conducted by Alain Trudel, who also happens to be one of the world’s finest trombonists. This promises to be a truly memorable event.


We look forward to seeing you in Ottawa!