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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

Minneapolis' Uptown Brass Are Deep In The Heart Of Texas

The Uptown Brass Quintet consists of the principal brass players from the Minnesota Orchestra (according to writer/critic Alex Ross as "the greatest orchestra in the world.") This particular ensemble of musicians have been playing over a decade together, and you'll hear it in their comradery and especially in their music making.  Typically the group presents community concerts and educational outreach around Minnesota and whereever the orchestra is touring. But since last October, these musicians have been locked out of work.

Not playing in Minneapolis has led these five to finding work subbing with other orchestras - from the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, and Philadelphia Orchestra, to playing in the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Malaysian Philharmonic as performers. "We've seen unbelievable support from around the country," says trombonist Doug Wright. "All the top tier orchestras are hiring musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra. We [the musicians] remain unified, solid, and strong - we're going to keep working toward this, and remain hopeful for a resolution."

So these five friends and colleagues have continued to rehearse, and perform for communities as a brass quintet. "It started with my dad, a tuba player and educator in Brenham, Texas," states tuba player Steve Campbell. "He asked if we would play for his school, doing a masterclass and concert. We all talked and Mike [Gast] started putting out feelers for more opportunities, and here we are!"

The Uptown Brass will play and teach in Austin, Waco, San Antonio, and Brenham in a series of concerts. They will return for a concert by the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra on April 25th.

Find out more online and on facebook.

Enjoy these performances in the TPR Studios with the Uptown Brass: