“These are the men who put brass music on the map with their unbeatable blend of virtuosity, spontaneity and humor.”
“If you said the Canadian Brass represented the “gold standard” among brass quintets, you’d be right on the mark. Aside from performing on 24K gold-plated instruments, the group, led by its avuncular tuba master (and sole original member) Chuck Daellenbach, essentially put the idea of the brass quintet on the map.”
“The Kings of Brass: After 42 years, the Canadian quintet still makes music that soars.”
“One need not be partial to brass, or even to classical music, to love Canadian Brass. For these famous five are masters not only of music but also of presentation. After 40 years on stage, the’ve got the chops of virtuosos and the deadpan delivery of the best stand-up comics.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Practically since its founding in 1970, this ensemble has devoted itself to creating new musical opportunities, generating a published music catalogue cherished by brass ensembles around the world…”
The Toronto Star
“After four decades, it’s great to see Canadian Brass — practically an institution at this point — still sounding fresh, still attracting young virtuosos and, above all, still having fun with the music.”
“From tunes from The Beatles’ Lennon and McCartney to holiday classics to traditional Dixieland to high-toned opera, the group delighted the audience with its humor, antics, personality and impeccable instrumental expertise. Outstanding showmanship! Acting out the various main roles from the opera, the five guys from Canada showed they could rock an opera as well as anyone and look pretty good in a wig at the same time.”
Times Record News
“The Canadian Brass achieve a blend that’s akin to the dark smoothness of aged Scotch whisky, purring out rounded legato lines in which no breath seems to transpire.”
Joe Burgstaller and Ashley Hall-Tighe, trumpets Jeff Nelsen, horn Achilles Liarmakopoulos, trombone Chuck Daellenbach, tuba
Recipe for 50 Years of Successes
The original challenge was to develop an audience for an ensemble of brass players that, at the time, had no standing in the concert world. What set Canadian Brass apart from all other performing artists in 1970 was the relentless search for repertoire that was both loved by its performers and embraced by a growing brass audience.
The musical experiences of the members along with the interests and wishes of audiences informed the programs that the group created ranging from Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Joplin, Gershwin and Ellington, to ballet, opera and Schickele. The ensemble never ignored an opportunity to relate to its audience which brought the Brass to international attention. They were at first criticized for talking to audiences and now take pride in seeing the entire concert world embracing engagement as a fundamental element of performance.
The Brass has averaged two and a half full length recordings per year of its 52 years of existence for a total of 138 recordings. They have received a combined total of 24 Grammy and Juno nominations and won the German Echo Award for Goldberg Variations. A North American group taking Bach back to Europe and winning approval at the highest level was a crowning achievement! Most recently during the Covid era the Brass created another award-winning recording, Canadiana. The album features unique arrangements of many Canadian superstars including Joni Mitchell, k.d. lang, Bruce Cockburn, Drake and DeadMau5.
Education continues to be at the forefront of Canadian Brass’ yearly activities. There are over one million Canadian Brass quintet repertoire books in the hands of students in every country with a strong brass tradition. Between Hal Leonard Music Publishing distributing its 800 unique individual brass titles and SmartMusic now making available some 76 titles for mixed ensemble use, the Brass continues to shape the future of chamber music ventures.
For a comprehensive Canadian Brass biography, blend together the complete history of any random five musician ensemble and it will yield a year in the world of Canadian Brass. “We’ve created ballets, played Carnegie Hall, toured China during its 1977 reopening, and performed in front of five prime ministers, but most importantly performed for more than ten million friends, family and audiences worldwide so far. We did all this so we could play Bach,” says tubaist & founder Chuck Daellenbach.