Terrapin Brass Quintet: School of Music Fellowship Ensemble

Terrapin Brass Quintet: School of Music Fellowship Ensemble

Wednesday, May 11, 2022 . 8PM
Photo by Laura Franklin.
Principal People: 

Maria Carvell and Julia Tsuchiya-Mayhew, trumpets
Emerson Paul Miller, horn
Eusung Choe, trombone
Cameron Farnsworth, tuba

Special Announcement: 

Please note: The livestream for this performance will only be live. The stream will not be available to view afterwards.

Event Attributes

Presented By

Presented By: 

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Join us in person at The Clarice or watch the livestream from the comfort of your home. 

The UMD School of Music launched its first-ever graduate fellowship brass quintet, Terrapin Brass, in the Fall 2021 semester as a way to further showcase its esteemed brass program. Don't miss the debut recital by this talented group of master's students. Learn more about Terrapin Brass in this news announcement. Recital repertoire coming soon.

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Patrons attending University of Maryland arts events are no longer required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. We continue to encourage audiences to wear a mask and stay current with vaccinations and boosters. Please see our Health & Safety information page for information about what to expect during your visit.

Overture to The Marriage of Figaro
W.A. Mozart (1756–1791)
arr. S. Bergler
Little Fugue in G minor
J.S. Bach (1685–1750)
arr. Ronald Romm
String Quartet No. 1, Op. 12
Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847)
arr. Verne Reynolds
I. Adagio non troppo - Allegro non tardante
III. Andante Espressivo
Joan Tower (b. 1938)
Three Intermezzos for Brass Trio
Eric Ewazen (b.1954)
I. Allegro Vivace - L’istesso Tempo
Vuelta del Fuego
Kevin McKee (b. 1980)
Overture to The Marriage of Figaro
Born January 27, 1756, Salzburg, Austria, Died December 5, 1791, Vienna, Austria
arr. Bergler
Just as Brass players love to play transcriptions of the orchestral repertoire, Mozart was also a great admirer of forbidden fruit. The play, “The Marriage of Figaro,” by Beaumarchais was originally banned by the Austrian government for themes of rebellion, denunciation of authority, and disrespect of the upper class. In light of these themes, this transcription by S. Bergler allows the Horn and Tuba to showcase their own interpretation of the rapid opening bassoon solo. With no time to waste, Mozart writes this overture full of grandeur and excitement, all without giving away any musical motifs or themes that would come later in the opera.
Program Note by Emerson Miller
Little Fugue in G minor
Born March 31, 1685, Eisenach, Germany, Died July 28, 1750, Liepzig, Germany
arr. RONALD ROMM, Born December 4, 1946, New York
J.S. Bach composed this fugue for organ sometime between 1703-1707 while he was living in Arnstadt, Germany. Ronald Romm, a former trumpet player in the Canadian Brass, arranged this fugue for brass quintet. This arrangement begins with a solo trumpet playing the main five measure subject, which repeats throughout the entire work. The second trumpet comes in with this same theme, followed by the trombone and then the tuba. The french horn plays counterpoint around this theme but never the main subject in this version. As the piece goes on and each instrument enters, the counterpoint develops around the initial theme with sequences usually occurring between reiterations of this theme. The instruments are often trading and playing off with each other while playing the counterpoint, particularly between the two trumpet parts. While this work is mainly in a minor key, the final chord follows the tradition of that time period by ending in a major key.
Program Note by Julia Tsuchiya-Mayhew
String Quartet No. 1 in Eb Major
Born February 3, 1809, Hamburg, Germany, Died November 4, 1847, Leipzig, Germany
arr. Verne Reynolds (1926–2011)
Felix Mendelssohn was born in 1809 in Hamburg, Germany and moved with his family to Berlin in 1811. He was born into a wealthy, cultured family and was constantly surrounded by the intellectual elites of Berlin during his childhood. During the early years of his musical education, Mendelssohn closely studied the music of the baroque and classical era. Having been inspired by composers such as J.S. Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, many of Mendelssohn’s early works reflected this inspiration through his compositional techniques. Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 1 Op. 12 was written in 1829 and was most likely influenced by Beethoven’s last string quartets as Mendelssohn had been closely studying them at the time.
The first movement, Adagio non troppo - Allegro non tardante, begins with a brief, expressive introduction that leads into the exposition. The lyrical main theme presented in the trumpets is heard multiple times throughout the movement with an added variation each time.
The third movement, Andante Espressivo, is in Bb Major and is relatively short compared to other string quartets of the time. The movement’s soft, lyrical theme is punctuated by dramatic passages heard in the trumpets marked con fuoco “with fire”.
This arrangement for brass quintet was made by the late Verne Reynolds.
Program Note by Eusung Choe
Born September 6, 1938, New Rochelle, New York
Joan Tower, widely regarded as one of the most successful female composers of all time, was born in New Rochelle, NY in 1938. When she was nine, her family moved to Bolivia where she began learning the piano at her father’s insistence. Tower has stated that her time in Bolivia is the reason why rhythm is such an integral part of her compositional style. Eventually, she moved back to the USA where she studied composition at Bennington College and then at Columbia University. After receiving her doctorate in composition in 1968, Tower would go on to write several successful works including her first orchestral composition Sequoia in 1981. Over the course of her storied career, Tower has won a number of awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1976. She became the first female recipient of the Grawmeyer Award for Music in 1990 for her piece Silver Ladders, and she most recently won three Grammy Awards in 2008 for her orchestral work Made in America.
Joan Tower’s Copperwave, was commissioned in 2006 for the American Brass Quintet by the Juilliard School for its centennial celebration. The piece calls for two trumpets, horn in F, tenor trombone, and bass trombone, however, it has become quite common for brass quintets to swap the bass trombone for a tuba. Tower utilizes a variety of mutes throughout the piece to create different timbral textures, and Latin-esque rhythms play a significant role in creating the musical atmosphere. The constantly changing time signatures and syncopated rhythms help create an evolving narrative of aggressive unison sections and gentler ethereal moments. Tower also uniquely presents each voice in a soloistic manner, and the piece as a whole is an exciting showcase of the brass quintet.
Note by the composer:
My father was a geologist and mining engineer and I grew up loving everything to do with minerals and rocks. Copper is a heavy but flexible mineral that is used for many different purposes and most brass instruments are made of copper. The ideas in this piece move in waves, sometimes heavy ones and at other times lighter — also in circles, turning around on the same notes. Occasionally, there is a latin type of rhythm that appears, which is a reminder of my years growing up in South America where my father was working as a mining engineer.
Program Note by Eusung Choe
Three Intermezzos for Brass Trio
Born March 1, 1954, Cleveland, Ohio
Eric Ewazen was born in 1954 in Cleveland, Ohio. Receiving a B.M. At the Eastman School of Music, and M.M. and D.M.A. degrees from The Juilliard School, his teachers include Milton Babbitt, Samuel Adler, Warren Benson, Joseph Schwantner and Gunther Schuller. He is a recipient of numerous composition awards and prizes. His works have been commissioned and performed by many soloists, chamber ensembles and orchestras in the U.S. and overseas. New World Records has released his concerto for brass quintet, "Shadowcatcher" with the American Brass Quintet and The Juilliard Wind Ensemble, conducted by Mark Gould of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Individual works of Eric Ewazen have recently been released by the Ahn Trio, Julie Giacobassi of the San Francisco Symphony, Charles Vernon of the Chicago Symphony, Koichiro Yamamoto of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Ronald Barron of the Boston Symphony, Doug Yeo of the Boston Symphony, Steve Witser of the Cleveland Orchestra, Joe Alessi and Philip Smith of the New York Philharmonic, the Horn Section of the New York Philharmonic, the Summit Brass Ensemble and the American Brass Quintet.
Ewazen originally composed his Three Intermezzos for the Pinnacle Brass Quintet of the University of Arkansas, but later composed a version for a brass trio. The trio consists of a horn, a trombone, and a tuba. The Intermezzos are described as “Frequently joyous and dance-like, at other times introspective and lyrical, the varied character of the music recalls the diverse applications of the title “intermezzo” in music history.”
The first movement in particular offers three different musical selections. The first section is a lilting waltz at an energetic pace, brimming with joy. The second section could be described as a “neo-Baroque” counterpoint, showing off a fair amount of rhythmic interplay between the performers. The Intermezzo briefly recapitulates the first section before launching into a raucous pirate shuffle, ending with the musicians soaring to stratospheric heights.
Program Note by Cameron Farnsworth
Vuelta del Fuego
Born December 26, 1980, Yreka, California
Kevin McKee graduated with his Master’s of Music in Trumpet Performance from the University of Maryland in 2006. He became interested in composing after attending the 2005 Music Masters Course in Japan and working with trumpet player/composer Anthony DiLorenzo. After returning to UMD for his final year of graduate school, McKee wrote his first piece, entitled Escape. Written for his brass quintet to play on his senior recital, Escape quickly became a bestseller in the chamber brass world. Now, McKee has published four pieces for brass quintet, trumpet solos (unaccompanied, with piano, and with orchestra/concert band), brass ensembles, trumpet ensembles, and solos for tuba, french horn, and trombone. In addition to composing, McKee is an active trumpet player and educator in the DC area, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.
Vuelta del Fuego, or “Ride of Fire,” was inspired by a love of the Mexican “Zorro” sound. With notes in the score such as “with flair,” “go time!” and “let it rain!”, this piece mixes an over-the-top romance with swagger. While composing, McKee values writing a piece enjoyable to every performer and audience member. This is especially evident in Vuelta del Fuego, as each instrument has soloistic moments and technically demanding passages, yet is fun to play. With the flair of the Mexican style in this piece, performers can explore adding their own swagger beyond the fast tempos, driving articulation, and loud dynamics.
Program Note by Maria Carvell
TERRAPIN BRASS is the Graduate Fellowship brass quintet at the University of Maryland School of Music. Each of the graduate fellows receive partial tuition remission and a stipend to pursue a Master of Music degree at the SOM while actively performing in the brass quintet, engaging in educational outreach programs and serving as ambassadors for the school. Selected by national audition, they come here from Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Ashburn (Virginia), and Silver Spring, Maryland. Terrapin Brass consists of Maria Carvell and Julia Tsuchiya-Mayhew, trumpets, Emerson Miller, horn, Eusung Choe, trombone, and Cameron Farnsworth, tuba.
As a core part of their training, they receive weekly coachings and mentorship under the tutelage of Distinguished University Professor Chris Gekker, who teaches both classical and jazz trumpet at the SOM. After starting rehearsals in August, they made their performance debut in September during NextNOW Fest as part of the Music For All Terps Pop-Up Concert Series. The quintet frequently performs in awards ceremonies, funerals, outreach concerts, and masterclasses for world-renowned musicians.
Terrapin Brass looks forward to sharing brass chamber music repertoire with a broad audience, and connecting with them by performing music written by local composers such as Duke Ellington, Eubie Blake, and Kevin McKee. Passionate about music education, the quintet partners with local schools such as Roosevelt High School and programs such as Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra to coach the talented young musicians of the next generation.
Follow the Terrapin Brass @terrapinbrass on Instagram for photos, recordings and the latest news and events.