Onyx Brass is excited to be performing at the John Armitage Memorial (JAM) concert series this summer, a fantastic initiative dedicated to yearly commissioning and performing of new music, often sympathetically programming new music with the more familiar. Onyx Brass has performed at JAM regularly since 2000, and this July will be performing four wonderful concerts and bringing a nine schools education project to fruition
On 2nd July, at St. Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, Onyx Brass will be joined by BBC Singers and Daniel Cook (organ), under Nicholas Cleobury to perform MacMillan’s transfixing Cantos Sagrados and Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb and the English Premiere of JAM’s 2013 commission The Farthest Shore, composed by royal wedding/chart-topping composer Paul Mealor. This spectacular new work is based upon a fireside Celtic legend. Cast upon an unforgiving shore, during a terrible storm, a stranger weaves an unfathomable, unforgettable spell over the inhabitants of a small village. This remarkable tale entwines reality, morality and faith in the quest for an ultimate personal truth.
On the 3rd July, 2200 children from five Romney Marsh and four Folkestone primary schools will be involved in A Sporting Chance; a piece for brass quintet and primary school children written by internationally-respected Bob Chilcott to enthuse children about music and sport. Each movement of the piece reflects a different musical style; e.g. sprinting trumpets, a football rap and an ice-skating trombone. This will be followed two days later, on the 5th, by a performance of a well-loved Onyx programme from Gabrieli to Gershwin in the exquisite St Mary’s Church, Rye.
On 6th July, Onyx will be part of the repeat performance of 2nd July programme, bringing a rare treat to the St. Leonard’s Festival (Hythe), performed appropriately next to the sea.
Their final appearance will be a second performance of A Sporting Chance with the Folkestone schools. This will be on the 19th July at Holy Trinity Church. It’s not often you get to perform so much new music in a short space of time on such a large scale, and Onyx feel very privileged to be involved in JAM once more. They’ll have to be on top form to keep up with 2200 children though! Onyx tuba player, Dave, says to play the part of a weightlifter he has to be “very macho, but the kids keep us all going with their enthusiasm!”
You kind find tickets for all of these concerts through the JAM website
Onyx on the move…
Photo by Benjamin Ealovega
Posted in 2013 concerts, commissioning, News, onyx, Onyx Brass
Tagged chilcott, farthest shore, JAM, john armitage, mealor, music and sport, Onyx Brass
Onyx is delighted to announce they have been awarded £5,000 towards their Tour de Brass! project in 2014. The Leche Trust was set up to support – among other things – arts projects, the preservation of Georgian buildings, and projects which promote good relations between Britain and the third world.
The grant is a huge step in our funding campaign, and we are immensely grateful to the trustees for their generosity. The Tour de Brass! planning is going forward in leaps and bounds – the Trust’s email comes in the middle of a day of very positive talks with venues around the country.
Our dedicated page for the Tour de Brass! is still in its infancy, but soon it’ll be the place to go for everything you want to know about the Tour.
Pro brass players shouldn’t have any trouble blowing out the candles!
Onyx Brass turns 20 this year, and the party has already started! During the first half of the year, they’re celebrating with other young people in a series of family concerts and evening concerts with Music in the Round, who specialise in providing informal performances by great musicians. That suits Onyx down to the ground, and they’re looking forward to meeting the next generation of concert-goer, too.
Last year, Onyx premiered Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s “The Madness Industry”. Audiences loved it, and the new piece is at the centre of Onyx’s programmes in their 20th anniversary year. Cheryl heard the group perform it last night in Milton Keynes, and was very pleased – a great birthday present.
In May, Onyx will be at Kings Place in London, as part of their “Bach Unwrapped” season, playing some of the most popular music from their “Fugue” and “Time to Time” CDs, as well as transcriptions of grander works by the Baroque master, including the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor.
All of this, though, is laying the groundwork for some very exciting plans we have for 2014 – when Onyx will be coming of age, 21!
Onyx Brass are continuing to tour Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s ‘The Madness Industry’ – a piece that was commissioned especially for the brass ensemble with kind support from the PRSF Foundation.
Back in Autumn we asked Cheryl what it was like to write for the group, and she told us she felt bad for giving them so few bars rest. So we thought we’d ask Onyx for their opinion:
“”We are now three performances in to Cheryl’s piece and still very much enjoying it. The technical challenges are considerable for us: stamina, ensemble and tuning. Hard work! But as it is musically such a satisfying and enjoyable piece to play, we love it! Brava Cheryl.”
There are still opportunities to catch Onyx playing Cheryl’s new piece. The next performances are on February 24th at the Bridge House Theatre, Warwick, and on June 16th at the Wiltshere Music Centre, Bradford-upon-Avon. More details about upcoming Onyx concerts can be found under the Onyx diary tab on the homepage, and tickets can be booked here and here. Hopefully we’ll see some of you there!
This autumn, Onyx Brass will be giving the premiere tour of “The Madness Industry” by Women Make Music award-winner, Cheryl Frances-Hoad. “It’s been a great experience to write The Madness Industry: I’d not really written very much for brass before and working with Onyx Brass has been brilliant,” she says, “although in hindsight I’m feeling a bit guilty for giving them so few bars rest!” Sounds like it’s going to be pretty full-on.
The first peformance will be on September 25th, for Richmond Concert Society, and you’ll also be able to hear it at the Crucible in Sheffield, on the 24th of October. Other performances in 2013 include Chipping Campden, Milton Keynes, Warwick and Bradford-on-Avon.
We wrote about the commission ages ago on our own website, and there’s a little bit on the background of the piece here. We’d like to thank again the PRS for Music Foundation’s Women Make Music programme, as well as the RVW Trust for supporting the commission and performance of this fantastic new piece.
Posted in 2012 concerts, commissioning, News, Onyx Brass
Tagged Brass, Cheryl, commission, Frances-Hoad, Industry, Madness, Music, October, onyx, Premiere, September, Women
Onyx played to a packed house at Durham International Festival on Thursday – they had a great time, and so did the audience. The concert was filmed, so we’ll be uploading some footage as soon as we can.
Music from Gabrieli and Dowland was played alongside new pieces written by composers who all have a special relationship with Onyx, including their own arrangements of Fugues in G major by Bach and Shostakovich.
In September, Onyx Brass are touring Switzerland, but they’ll be back in the North for a Music in the Round concert in Sheffield on October 24th.
Posted in 2012 concerts, Blog, commissioning, Onyx Brass, videos
Tagged Durham, Durham International festival, North, onyx, Onyx Brass, Sheffield, Switzerland