CANADIAN BRASS: ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE TOUR – Billings Symphony Skip to content


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Sukin Series


Oct 18, 2024


Babcock Theatre

2810 2nd Ave N


Joe Burgstaller and Ashley Hall-Tighe, trumpets
Jeff Nelsen, horn
Achilles Liarmakopoulos, trombone
Chuck Daellenback, tuba

Prepare for an evening of entertainment, spontaneity, and virtuosity, as the world’s most famous brass ensemble makes their Billings debut. Renowned for their seamless genre-bending versatility and joyous, audience-engaging performances, the Canadian Brass is almost single-handedly responsible for elevating the art of the brass quintet to what it is today.

  • Louis Armstrong's wife helped jumpstart his solo career. Armstrong spent three years playing in jazz ensembles in Chicago and Harlem. He was largely content to be a journeyman musician, but his second wife, a pianist named Lil Hardin, believed he was too talented not have his own band. In 1925, while Armstrong was performing in New York, Hardin went behind his back and inked a deal with Chicago’s Dreamland Café to make him a featured act. She even demanded that he be billed as “The World’s Greatest Trumpet Player.”
  • At age 62, Louis Armstrong surpassed The Beatles at the top of the pop charts. In late-1963, Armstrong and his All Stars recorded the title track for an upcoming musical called “Hello, Dolly!” The trumpeter didn’t expect much from the tune, but when the show debuted on Broadway the following year, it became a runaway hit. By May, “Hello Dolly!” had soared to the top of the charts, displacing two songs by The Beatles, who were then at the height of their popularity. At age 62, Armstrong became the oldest musician in American history to have a number one song.

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With an international reputation as one of the most popular brass ensembles today, Canadian Brass has truly earned the distinction of “the world’s most famous brass group.

Friends Chuck Daellenbach and Gene Watts first came together in 1970 to form a brass quintet — a chamber music setting not entirely new, but never before having garnered the success and storied career Canadian Brass would achieve over the next 40 years. Initially, Gene took on the role of developing new repertoire while Chuck was the moving force in marketing, publishing and managing the business. Three empty chairs were quickly filled and together, the group’s imagination and consummate musicianship elevated the art of the brass quintet to what it is today. Here was not only an opportunity to explore the possibilities of an all-brass chamber group but a challenge to bring the sound and the excitement of brass music to new audiences.

Masters of concert presentations, Canadian Brass has developed a uniquely engaging stage presence and rapport with audiences. Each of their concerts will show the full range from trademark Baroque and Dixieland tunes to new compositions and arrangements created especially for them – from formal classical presentation to music served up with lively dialogue and theatrical effects. The hallmark of any Canadian Brass performance is entertainment, spontaneity, virtuosity and, most of all, fun – but never at the expense of the music:

Whatever the style, the music is central and performed with utmost dedication, skill and excellence.

Education plays a key role in the story of Canadian Brass and each member is uniquely attuned to training the next generation of players. On their travels around the world, they often pause for masterclasses and are more than happy to work with students and young audiences. Canadian Brass was Chamber Quintet-in-Residence for many years at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, and has created an innovative brass summer course at the Eastman School of Music. Their support of education is also clearly viewed in their outreach and interaction with El Sistema, the acclaimed global music education program in Venezuela.




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