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When planning our December recital, we immediately thought of A4 Brass Quartet (2018 CMF Artists) – who better to bring us some much needed Christmas cheer! For our final recital of 2018, A4 Brass Quartet present a Celebration of Christmas, a varied programme of carols sacred and secular arranged for brass. You can expect everything from Away in a Manger to Santa Baby, as well as a little seasonal sing-song at the end.
“Everybody enjoys hearing brass during the festive period”
A4 Brass Quartet is comprised of principal players from two of the UK’s top brass bands, Grimethorpe Colliery Band and Foden’s. With “technical virtuosity in abundance” (Brass Band World), these four astonishing musicians come together to perform both lyrical and high-octane works, forming a distinctive and new take on chamber music.
Why do you think people love hearing brass at Christmas?
I think brass music at Christmas has its roots in the Salvation Army, with many SA bands playing carols in their communities at Christmas time. Everybody enjoys hearing brass during the festive period as it’s traditional and somehow seems to bring a sense of warmth in what is always a cold time of year! For some people it may bring back childhood memories, whilst for children the sight and sound of shiny brass instruments all adds to the excitement of Christmas!
How are you benefiting from the CMF Artist Programme so far?
Although we have only been on the CMF Artist Programme since September, we are already benefiting from numerous professional development workshops as we pursue our aim to become a full-time chamber ensemble. These workshops have involved advice on copyright laws, development of communication skills, and programming, and we look forward to further business mentoring in the coming months. As part of the programme, CMF are also assisting us in planning bespoke projects for the near future, including the release of our second CD during 2019.
Tell us about a gig you’ve got coming up:
In January 2019 we are looking forward to working with the brass students at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC). Here we will spend the day coaching various aspiring chamber ensembles; perform our own public recital in the RBC’s newly-renovated concert hall; and judge the annual Bernard Brown Brass Ensemble of the Year competition.
A4 Brass Quartet: a Celebration of Christmas
Wednesday 19th December 2018 1pm
The Hospital Church of St Bartholomew the Less
Now in its 28th year, the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award offers up to £5,000 for an emerging jazz musician or group to undertake a creative project of their choice that will support their professional development. The award can fund recording, filming, touring, performances, mentoring, collaboration and promotion.
London-born saxophonist and composer Alex Hitchcock – who received the full £5,000 award – has been winning fans around the world for several years, having performed at festivals across Europe including Glastonbury and North Sea Jazz in the Netherlands. This year he released his quintet’s debut EP and completed a 15-date nationwide tour followed by a sold-out launch at Pizza Express Jazz Club in London. His talents have been recognised by a wealth of respected outlets, including BBC Radio 3 and JazzFM, while larger ensemble work includes the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at the O2 Arena, the BBC Big Band and the Laurence Cottle Big Band.
Trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey – a member of 2016 CMF Artists Nérija – also received a £2,000 development award.
The Quartet are one of seven recent RNCM alumni selected for this prestigious ambassadorial role as a result of their outstanding achievements since graduation. They will now play an active role in promoting and supporting the college’s strategic initiatives alongside current Honorary Associate Artists Alexandra Dariescu (piano), Tom Harrold (composition), Mikhail Nemtsov (cello), Kathryn Rudge (mezzo-soprano), and Le Yu (percussion), all of whom recently accepted the invitation to extend their two-year tenure for a further three years.
Other new Honorary Associate Artists include James Hendry (repetiteur/conductor), Daniel Kidane (composer), Soraya Mafi (soprano), Alexander Panfilov (piano), Abel Selaocoe (cello), and Andres Yauri (bassoon).
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