IU Jacobs School of Music announces Canadian Brass Collection
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music’s William and Gayle Cook Music Library and the Canadian Brass recently announced an agreement to build and maintain a comprehensive collection of all of the quintet’s recordings and published scores, eventually adding a number of its unpublished works.
The items in The Canadian Brass Collection will be available for students and faculty to study, check out, listen to and perform, unlike other “special collections” held by the library, which are archival.
“The members of the Canadian Brass are truly pioneers,” said Phil Ponella, director of the Cook Music Library and of Music Information Technology Services at the Jacobs School. “During their history, they have remained one of the most well-known and most sought-after ensembles not only because of their virtuosity, but because of their inventive and fun approach to music making and performance. We are tremendously honored to be the caretakers of these materials and are thrilled that by making them available to future generations of students, we will play a part in preserving the well-deserved legacy of the Canadian Brass.”
“In 1970, when the Canadian Brass first came on the music scene, there was a dearth of performable repertoire for a brass quintet,” said Chuck Daellenbach, founding member. “The first challenge was to create a program that would sustain musical interest on both the part of the performers and that of the audiences we were trying to attract. Now, 40 years later, the Canadian Brass collection represents the tangible evidence of that effort — over 600 works that represent the musical path that put us in front of an international audience.”
Daellenbach said that the ensemble has always encouraged and continues to encourage composers to write new works for the brass ensemble, which has resulted in more than 80 new major compositions for brass quintet. In addition, the group’s “masterpiece approach” to selecting music for adaptation has resulted in a formidable collection of great works readily available for performance by other ensembles.
Currently, the library’s collection consists of 76 published editions and 60 sound recordings, begun following a generous donation of recordings from the Canadian Brass and a large purchase of all available editions by the Cook Music Library. In the ensuing months, staff at the library — leaders in digitization of musical materials — hope to scan and digitize unpublished arrangements performed by the quintet during their prestigious 40-year history.
“We are very proud to have our collection housed at the Cook Library of the Jacobs School of Music, making it available to both performers and researchers,” said Daellenbach. “And we are excited that the journey of the Canadian Brass specifically, and the brass quintet in general, can be examined and researched, and grow through this unique collaboration.”
Canadian Brass hornist Jeff Nelsen is a member of the Jacobs School of Music’s faculty.
About the Canadian Brass
The Canadian Brass is a brass quintet founded by Charles Daellenbach and Gene Watts in 1970. In addition to maintaining a heavy international touring schedule, the Canadian Brass has recorded more than 80 CDs and DVDs. It has commissioned, performed and recorded hundreds of transcriptions and original works for brass quintet. Named the “world’s leading brass ensemble” by The Washington Post and credited as “the men who put brass music on the map,” the quintet is best known for its ability to seamlessly cross between classical and jazz styles. This very success forms the basis for dismissing the brass quintet as a “serious” chamber music ensemble; the world’s best string quartets, for example, have been able to gain an audience while playing original literature for their combination, rather than transcriptions of classical music’s “greatest hits” warhorses and arrangements of pop, jazz and Broadway material.
The Canadian Brass (known for its unique performance attire of black suits and white athletic shoes) made its American debut at Washington’s Kennedy Center in 1975. The quintet was put on the international map in 1977 when it was sent to mainland China in a cultural exchange between Canada and China. Being the first Western musicians allowed into China after the “Cultural Revolution” had totally subverted Western art music, the group is credited with the restart of China’s incredible arts involvement.
In 1979, the Canadian Brass again revolutionized so-called chamber music by being the first chamber ensemble to solo the main stage at Carnegie Hall. As The New York Times reported, its sold-out performance “clearly establishes the Canadian Brass as a main-stage production.” While dominating the concert scene for over 30 years, the Canadian Brass has also dominated the recording scene for brass players. It has been on the Billboard charts in each decade of its existence, recording with RCA, BMG, CBS, Sony, Phillips and Decca, occupying virtually all the spots open to brass players.
There is virtually no major concert hall in the world that the Canadian Brass has not played.
The current members are Dr. Charles “Chuck” Daellenbach (tuba), Eugene “Gene” Watts (trombone), Jeff Nelsen (horn) and Chris Coletti and Brandon Ridenour (trumpet).
Canadian Brass recordings are released by Toronto-based Opening Day Entertainment Group.