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Axiom Brass Opens Fifth Middlebury Bach Festival April 24

April 8, 2015

Quintet to Perform “Sacred Brass,” Music Inspired by the Church

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Middlebury, VT—For the first time since 1999, the sounds of brass instruments will ring out for Middlebury College’s Performing Arts Series, when the award-winning Axiom Brass Quintet performs on April 24 as the opening event for the fifth annual Middlebury Bach Festival.

In a second special collaboration between the Performing Arts Series and Bach Festival, the Axiom Brass will perform a program entitled “Sacred Brass,” featuring arrangements of works of J.S. Bach, Palestrina, Albinoni, Stephenson, Byrd, Tchaikovsky, and Gabrieli. This musical journey through time will focus purely on music written for, or inspired by, the church. The evening also includes a pre-concert lecture by Professor Greg Vitercik, chair of Middlebury’s Department of Music.

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The members of Axiom Brass include Brazilian trumpeter Dorival Puccini Jr., Chicago-based trumpeter Kris Hammond, French horn player Jacob DiEdwardo from West Palm Beach, trombonist Orin Larson of Minnesota, and Kansas City native Kevin Harrison on tuba. Their performances have earned major honors worldwide. They are the only brass quintet in 27 years to win the prestigious Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition (2012), and the only American ensemble to ever win the Preis der Europa-Stadt Passau in Germany (2012). Other prizes include the 2010 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, the Plowman Chamber Music Competition, and the Jeju City International Brass Quintet Competition in South Korea.

The Quintet has garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. The Journal of the International Brass Chamber Music Festival praised their “high level of musicality and technical ability,” “poised and assertive stage presence,” and “clean, clear and precise sound.” Edward Ortiz of the San Francisco Classical Voice noticed the quartet’s unique presence: “In the life of largely unknown ensembles, there’s that moment when the group has solidified in a way that its performances portend that future notoriety is almost a given. It can be likened to a garage band that plays at a club for the first time, where everyone in attendance has that ‘I was there when they were nobody’ moment. This was the undercurrent felt during a stellar performance by the Axiom Brass Quintet…Looking crisp in their identical dress blacks and performing behind stands holding iPads instead of sheet music, this ensemble made a bold statement by the way they tackled a tricky assortment of works, some written for brass, others far from the brass realm.”

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Highlights of Axiom’s past seasons have included concerts in the Dominican Republic, Germany, Portugal, Spain, South Korea, and Japan; a four-week residency at the Grand Tetons Music Festival; the release of their debut album “New Standards,” their New York debuts at Symphony Space and Merkin Hall, and masterclasses at the Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music. Their current season marks the release of two new albums: “Astor,” with original arrangements of Astor Piazzolla’s music, and the second installment of “New Standards.” Axiom Brass is an Ensemble-in-Residence at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and Rush Hour Concerts’ “Back of the Yards” program in Chicago.

The Axiom Brass maintains a strong commitment to education. Their blend of virtuosic performances and dynamic teaching have inspired young audiences around the nation, earning the ensemble the 2011 Fischoff Educator Award. Their educational concert “Let’s Make Music” has captivated thousands of elementary and middle school students in the U.S. Since 2011 the ensemble has been featured as brass quintet-in-residence for the National Brass Symposium, sharing the stage with principal brass players from the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Atlanta Symphony, Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg, Moscow State Orchestra, the symphonies of Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, San Francisco, and the major orchestras of Australia.

The Axiom Brass concert will take place on Friday, April 24, 2015, at 8:00 P.M., at Middlebury College’s Mead Memorial Chapel. The pre-concert lecture will begin at 7:15 P.M. in the same space. Mead Chapel is located at 75 Hepburn Road, on the campus of Middlebury College, just off Vermont Route 125 west. Free parking is available along Route 125, on Hillcrest Road, and on Old Chapel Road, with handicap-accessible parking available behind the Chapel on Hepburn Road. Tickets are $25 for the general public; $20 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For tickets or information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to http://go.middlebury.edu/arts.

Photos by Dario Acosta

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