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About German Brass

The German Brass is a large group that plays arrangements, generally made by members of the ensemble, of a wide variety of music. The ensemble has survived the waxing and waning in popularity of brass ensembles over its more than four decades of existence.
The German Brass was founded in 1974 by trumpeter Enrique Crespo, who later left the group after disagreements with other members. At first, it was called the Deutsches Blechbläserquintet- Solobläser deutscher Spitzenorchester, or German Brass Quintet-Soloists from Top German Orchestras. The group expanded to its present size of ten musicians (there is also one alternate) in 1985 when it was invited to perform in the Bach 300 recordings celebrating the 300th birthday of J.S. Bach; Crespo felt that the larger group was necessary to do the music justice. At that point, the group was renamed the German Brass; the English name is used even in German-language marketing materials and on the group's website. It retained the practice of drawing its membership from leading German orchestras and from the ranks of faculty members of German music schools. The repertory of the German Brass ranges from the Renaissance to the 20th century, and concerts often conclude with an international variety of popular selections such as jazz, bossa nova, or hits from Broadway musicals. Long one of Germany's most popular touring groups, the German Brass enliven their concerts with humorous commentary from the stage.
The ensemble is perhaps most notable internationally for its recording career, which by 2019 included more than 30 albums. Many were issued by the Berlin Classics label, but in the late 2010s, the group was signed to Sony Classical. The German Brass released the album Trip to America in 2019, featuring music by Gershwin, Bernstein, Barber, Copland, and Cole Porter. ~ James Manheim