As members of The EBQ we considered ourselves pioneers in the world of brass quintets. Before us came only two brass quintets of any significance, The American Brass Quintet and The New York Brass Quintet. Both of these wonderful groups were NYC based, and comprised of the finest among the professional players in the City, with the NYBQ all being principals of the New York City Ballet Orchestra. Being under the prestigious management of CAMI (Columbia Artists Management Inc.) the NYBQ performed primarily doing runouts and short tours, giving them national prominence, exposing music lovers everywhere to contemporary brass quintet literature, which at that time, was somewhat limited.
These men were our teachers at Yale; we stood on their shoulders. And we owe them so much, and pay them due homage, as should the brass quintets that came after us.
As mentioned, we considered ourselves pioneers...for we were the first full time touring brass quintet...anywhere, under the auspices of CAMI, Inc. NYC. It cannot be understated the importance of being under this pre-eminent musical management company. The most notable musical ensembles and soloists In the world were, and are presently, under CAMI guidance and Community Concert Series’s organizational networking.
Brass quintets everywhere are indebted to that commitment of CAMI for exposing our musical message to American audiences. We were honored and humbled by its faith in our talents and professional commitment.
To sustain such a “novel” career we developed a varied program, designed to be entertaining rather than esoterically educational... stressing casualness and humor, while at the same time, promoting serious brass quintet literature, with an informal air of musical purity and intellectual honesty.
Our collective experiences ranged from near death in a twin-engine Cessna to a blown motor home engine in Jackson, Mississippi to traveling into the depths of The King Ranch in Texas, and to being the very first non-government employee, ever, invited to have lunch with the Crow Indians at The Battle of Little Big Horn reservation. The stories are endless and we each carry our individual memories and scars.
For us, the performances actually became secondary, as we were under daily logistic issues (anyone who has toured extensively understands); deadheading from NYC to Kalispell, Montana, driving deserts overnight, Rocky Mountain passes in winter, adventuresome canyons, endless horizons of Interstate 10 and 80, the incredible Canadian Rockies and the timeless roads of Newfoundland.
One season we drove the four corners of America... from Presque Isle, Maine to Vancouver to San Diego and down to Key West... and all points in between-100+ major concerts every year. It was, at times, very stressful and we came close to breaking up...but all-in-all, it was the time of our lives!
However, our travels did serve up some unforgettable memories, such as...as a last-minute replacement for the Cleveland Quartet, in a remote part of Vermont, our horn player forgot his horn...a faux pas not discovered until 15 minutes before the concert... a historical, and hysterical, evening on a scrounged up antique single F horn with permanently stuck valves. To his credit, and continual hazing, it was a masterful performance that included the Bozza Sonatine on “natural horn,” and on and on...tuxes left hanging in motel closets, trumpets forgotten to be packed in the motorhome after a concert, a complete trumpet folder left behind (excellent memory skills required). This is all true!
We were living a dream. We felt like professional baseball players must feel, being paid to play with your best friends every day. On our rare days off back home, we would often be found playing tennis -much to the chagrin of our wives! When not, we were teaching our students at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, where we were engaged as Artists-in-Residence.
Being out of print for decades and our eventual breakup in 1981, the Quintet fell into obscurity, save for some die-hard, true blue fans and the somewhat of a cult status reputation...But they are offered here, thanks to the internet and friends. Enjoy!
About the Quintet