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Brassy and Beautiful at 4o!

noe tanigawa
noe tanigawa

Celebrating their 40th Anniversary, the Honolulu Brass Quintet is charged with fresh energy.  New members, plus a growing repertoire and appreciation for brass ensembles is helping to fuel their endeavors.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa discovered they plan to debut a new commissioned work at their celebration concert Monday.

The Honolulu Brass Quintet is celebrating its 40th Anniversary with a concert flaunts the best in brass capabilities. 

HonoluluBrass Quintet–40thAnniversaryConcert



The group is comprised of Ken Hafner and JoAnne Lamolino, trumpets, Julia Filson, French horn, Jason Byerlotzer, trombone and Rudi Hoehn, bass trombone.  They are all Hawaii Symphony Orchestra members.

These fine musicians are actually bellows, pressing air through tiny little lip muscles.  That’s not easy, and composers must take into account the amount of playing time their pieces require.  Then, there’s something about all that vibrating copper when brass instruments are in the zone.  There are scientific reasons you can almost feel brass harmonies.  Trumpet JoAnne Lamolino says, “As a chamber player you want to be more like a chameleon so you can get into everyone’s sound.  That’s how we make a warm blend.”

noe tanigawa
Credit noe tanigawa
Composer, trumpet player, Anthony DiLorenzo was commissioned to create an arrangement of Hawaiian music for the Anniversary concert. "I'll Remember You" and "White Sandy Beach" are among the chosen melodies.

Bohme’s classic sextet, will be a treat, with founding member, trumpeter Don Hazzard joining the group for that piece.  Also on the program, baroque arranged for brass, since the whole idea of a brass only ensemble is quite recent, just a hundred fifty or so years old.  With that in mind, The Honolulu Brass will premiere a new work too, says French horn, Julia Filson.

“The interesting part about this program is it’s going to show the audience the history behind the brass quintet and just how much we’re trying to innovate it and commission new music for this genre.”

The Honolulu Brass commissioned composer Anthony DiLorenzo to arrange a suite of Hawaiian music for this anniversary.  Di Lorenzo has worked on projects that range from a 300 member choir to solo trumpet, including the Marvel Avenger films and others.  Hawai‘i’s music, however,  was new for him.

“There’s actually a retro feeling to all of these.  They sort of bring you to a blissful state.  All of this music just made you enjoy the moment and I wanted to sort of just create a sense of bliss.  Not just for the listener but for the player to enjoy the time while they’re playing.  In fact I even called it, “Hawaiian Bliss.” 

DiLorenzo, a trumpet player, features Hawaiian songs from the last 40 years in an arrangement that showcases their melodies and harmonies.   

Trumpet Ken Hafner says,  “Especially with the brass ensemble, with the way the sounds fit together.  We try to make an especially warm sound when we’re playing this kind of music.”  

The Honolulu Brass Quintet 40th Anniversary Concerts happen at WCC’s Palik? Theatre Monday March 14th and at HoMA’s Doris Duke Theatre Monday the 21st.  Find tickets here.  Students with ID are always free a half hour before each concert.

The Honolulu Brass Quintet is one of the ensembles in Chamber Music Hawai'i, whose season continues with the Galliard String Quartet April 12th.

Noe Tanigawa covered art, culture and ideas for two decades at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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