|River City Brass Band
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Web site: http://www.rivercitybrass.org/calendar/2011-10
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Twenty-nine years ago, something special happened – a musical renaissance took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Under the baton of conductor Robert Bernat, the River City Brass took to the Carnegie Music Hall stage for its inaugural concert on November 21, 1981. It was an evening of musical excellence and determination – determination to bring about the revival of the grass-roots tradition of the American brass band.
At one point, there were more than 20,000 such performance groups throughout the United States. In 1981, it was a bleak picture: fewer than 1000 bands were still in existence in America. Throughout the rest of the world, the genre was flourishing and the River City Brass was determined to foster a similar appreciation here in the United States.
That determination has paid off. Today, the River City Brass performs a 56-concert series in eight different venues in Western Pennsylvania. In addition, the 28-piece ensemble tours extensively throughout the United States with more than 40 performances each year as part of community concert series, major symphony pops series and arts festivals. From California to New York (as well as everywhere in between), River City Brass Band has delighted audiences with its signature style. Every performance features superb soloists and powerful repertoire from classical to pops and from jazz to marches. A River City Brass performance, whether in Pittsburgh or Poughkeepsie or Pensacola, is a memorable event!
In addition to its unique performance style, RCB is renowned for its recordings and original compositions. To date, RCB has released 15 recordings and been responsible for nearly 200 compositions and arrangements by American and British composers which have premiered at RCB concerts. Many of these works have since been published and are performed by brass bands throughout the world. In October of 2002, the Band released its 15th CD – Polished Brass, a collection of more classical pieces, on the Summit Records label.
River City Brass receives praise from audiences and critics alike: “It’s not a reach to say that this may be the most fun with music you’re going to have all year,” touts the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “RCB delivers the rare kind of show that truly manages to combine lighthearted fun with serious musicianship,” notes an audience member in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. And, most tellingly, “River City Brass puts the fun back into music,” explains The Tribune Review of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.