- An Onyx Brass JAM Session (0)June 28, 2013
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
- Tour de Brass! supported by the Leche Trust (0)June 10, 2013
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.
- Tour de Brass! awarded significant funding by PRSF (0)May 21, 2013
Onyx Brass has been awarded the maximum sum available by the PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Biennial flagship scheme. The money will go towards commissioning a new work from David Sawer to form the centrepiece of a short programme of contemporary British music that Onyx will perform across the country in 2014, in the Tour de Brass!
The New Music Biennial has made 20 awards to groups to commission new works which will be performed together in showcases at the Southbank Centre’s Festival (4-6 July 2014) and as part of the Commonwealth Games Cultural programme in Glasgow (2-3 August 2014). Our project is designed to be a lot more portable and we are planning upwards of 40 free, unticketed concerts at bandstands and public spaces up and down the UK.
- Onyx Brass is 20! (0)March 1, 2013
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!
- BACH UNWRAPPED … AND THEN REWRAPPED (0)February 25, 2013
Onyx are very excited to be part of the forthcoming Bach Unwrapped series at King’s Place – a collection of concerts celebrating Bach’s music as a gift to mankind.
The concert, Bach Through Brass, will take place on May 3rd – and will include a selection of Bach classics arranged for brass ensemble. It’s a unique offering in a traditional concert series – the rigorously pure, clean nature of Bach’s counterpoint really warms up when played by brass instruments and adds a certain romantic twist to some old favourites. If King’s Place are unwrapping Bach, then we are rewrapping him!
Tickets for King’s Place can be booked here. If you can’t make the King’s Place concert, there will be plenty of other opportunities to hear Onyx play their programme of Bach arrangements. Just click on the Onyx Diary tab on our homepage to find upcoming performances – or, if you want something more permanent – have a think about the Onyx CD Recording ‘Fugue‘ – an album of Bach and Shostakovich fugues nourished by the rich energy of brass instruments.
- “Stamina, ensemble and tuning” (0)February 21, 2013
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!
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