Author: Henry Michaels

Deck the Halls with the Canadian Brass

In the world of brass quintets, there is one name that stands above all others: the Canadian Brass.

 From Carnegie Hall to Sesame Street, the Canadian Brass has been entertaining audiences around the globe for more than 50 years. Few musical groups are known so equally for their musicianship and their charisma, but this potent combination of impeccable playing and magnetic stage presence has become the hallmark of the Canadian Brass. Their more than 130 albums—totaling more than 2 million albums sold worldwide—is a testament to their immense musical impact.

 A veritable musical force of nature, the Canadian Brass have left the landscape of brass chamber music forever altered. Their jam-packed schedule of traveling, performing, recording and outreach means the group goes through a lot of music—and in so doing, they have almost single-handedly transformed the brass quintet repertoire. Between commissions for new music and transcriptions and arrangements of existing works, the Canadian Brass are responsible for adding more than 600 musical works to a repertoire that once could have been described as limited.

Throughout the course of the 53-year history of the Canadian Brass, there has been one constant: tubist and founding member Chuck Daellenbach has served as the foundation—musically and otherwise—of the group since 1970! But new faces do join the Canadian Brass from time to time, and this fall marks the debut of new trumpet player Ashley Hall-Tighe. Ashley brings a wealth of playing experience to the group, both as an internationally acclaimed soloist and as a chamber musician. She serves as principal trumpet of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and is on the faculty at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. And this won’t be her first experience with the Canadian Brass, having first worked with the group as a student in 2001 as part of their chamber music residency at the Music Academy of the West. With an almost 20-year international performing career, Ashley Hall-Tighe is sure to fit right in with one of the world’s busiest and most storied brass ensembles.

Although it may feel strange to refer to a group as well known as the Canadian Brass as being famous for any one particular thing, they are justifiably renowned for their Christmas concerts. With decades of holiday-themed programming and more than 10 Christmas albums, the Canadian Brass are sure to present a Yuletide musical extravaganza that will have visions of sugar plums dancing in everyone’s heads.

The Canadian Brass perform at Macky Auditorium on the Artist Series Dec. 13, 2023.