This blog post is on the Gaudete Brass Quintet based in Chicago, Il. Gaudete was founded by mostly grad students from Roosevelt University in 2004.
Their mission statement is as follows:
"Founded in 2004, the Gaudete Brass Quintet is devoted to presenting serious brass chamber music at the highest level of excellence and to encouraging worldwide appreciation of the art of brass chamber music through live performances, recordings, education, and the creation of new works.
The quintet has been featured on concert series, radio broadcasts and at universities throughout the country."
I have had the pleasure of playing with all of the members of Guadete at one time or another freelancing in Chicago. Scott, Paul, Brian, and their former trumpeter Ryan Berndt and myself were part of the founding brass section for the Chicago Composer's Orchestra that formed in 2010. Please check them out if you are inclined. They are an orchestra devoted entirely to performing works by living composers. Their website is http://www.chicagocomposersorchestra.org/
Speaking of performing works by living composers; this is largely how Gaudete has laid their foundation. To me, their name is synonymous with commissioning new works for brass quintet by established composers (like David Sampson), to composers just getting their careers started. Their was a period when I was living in Chicago that every concert they played seemed to have a new piece on it. Around 2014 they did a concert at Roosevelt that had four newly composed fanfares.I will be interviewing Paul Van Hoff (the trombonist in the group) to discuss more about why they decided to take this approach. I will say brass quintets everywhere are lucky to have Gaudete leading the charge in getting new works composed for brass quintet.
Most people do not understand the huge undertaking of starting a brass quintet for purposes other than gigging. The idea that you can start a chamber group that is taken seriously by chamber music presenters around the country/world is not an easy task. For those that are uninitiated, the chamber music scene is largely filled with string quartets and piano trios. When I talked with presenters during my time in Axiom we were usually the first brass quintet they had ever booked, and they were always concerned that their audiences would not show up due to the lack of familiarity.
The reality of the situation was that most of the presenters simply did not believe that their audiences would be interested in an entire evening devoted to brass music. Presenters often had very little knowledge of the repertoire out their for brass quintets and generally associate them with loud raucous playing. I would often get comments like "I can't believe how soft you guys could play".
I'm very much looking forward to interviewing Paul later in the spring, and until than I leave you with a video of Gaudete performing a fanfare by Joan Tower.
My beer pairing for Gaudete is
Goose Island was the first Chicago brewery that I heard about when I moved to Chicago in 2007. I love Matilda, but the first beer I ever had by Goose Island was their 312. It was after a concert at Harris Theater in the loop, and I ordered it at a swank down town bar with no prices listed on the menu. As a sophomore at Roosevelt with no money I can say that was a learning experience. I think I spent all my money paying for that pitcher. Cheers!