Empire Brass to give shining performance

Veronica DeVore

Lawrence will welcome the Empire Brass to Memorial Chapel Saturday as part of the annual Performing Arts at Lawrence concert series. The brass quintet has been heralded as the finest of its kind in North America and has toured extensively throughout the United States and the world. The concert should include something for any listener, since the group’s standard repertoire includes everything from Bach to Broadway tunes.
The Empire Brass is led by principal trumpet player Rolf Smedvig; although the group’s personnel has changed over the years, Smedvig has been there through it all as a soloist and innovator. Last month’s issue of The Instrumentalist featured an interview with Smedvig, in which he offered advice to young musicians, indicating his and the quintet’s dedication to the next generation of artists.
There is seemingly no end to the praise and acclaim for the Empire Brass; terms such as “astonishing,” “entertaining,” “breathtaking,” and “exhilarating” are constantly used to describe the group’s stage presence and performance style. A reviewer for the New York Times wrote, “They exhibited virtuosity and versatility far beyond the normal call of concert duty. You have not often heard an ensemble that played with more gusto than this one.”
Even more of this gusto and energy will be present at the Memorial Chapel on Saturday due to the scheduled appearance of organist Donald Major with the quintet.
Major has made solo appearances in major cities around the world and has performed with the likes of Ravi Shankar, Aretha Franklin, and the Marine Corps Band, among others. His stylings on the chapel’s Brombaugh organ will surely prove impressive in combination with the quintet’s already full sound.
This concert is sure to appeal to a wide audience because of its diversity of repertoire and high level of musicality. Tickets are $8-9 for Lawrence students, $15-17 for other students, $20-22 for adults, and $17-19 for seniors. An outstanding,
world-renowned group like the Empire Brass is sure to be worth every penny.