Saint-Petersburg Philarmonic Brass-Quintet
"Russian Brass"

Solotrompeter des Berliner Philarmonischen Orchesters

     In September 1997 I made a brass-masterclass in St.Petersburg, Russia, together with two other members of our orchestra.
Surrounding this masterclass was a programm with various concerts and one of them was a concert with the "Russian Brass Quintet" with members of the St.Petersburg Philarmonic Orchestra and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra. It was a concert in a very high internacional brass-playing standard in the level of my friends from "Canadian Brass". They played with the typical Russian power combined with elegance and a superb technique. Within the program they played a lot of own interesting arragements.

Konradin Groth

Mariss Jansons
the Honored Artist of Russia, Prize-Winner of International Contest "Foundation H. von Karayan",
Professor, Conductor of the St.Petersburg Philarmonic Orchestra of St.Petersburg Philarmonics named after D.D.Shostakovich,
Music Director and Chief Conductor of Oslo Philarmonics
and Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra

       RUSSIAN BRASS QUINTET was founded in 1997 by the members of the St.Petersburg Philarmonic Orchestra and members of Symphony orchestra of Mariinsky Theatre. The repertoire of the ensemble includes classical works from Bach to Shostakovich as well as the works of the modern composers, often written specially for this ensemble. The priority is always given to Russian music - the works of Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Moussorgski are always included in the repertoire of this artistic group. The members of the Quintet are the graduates of the St.Petersburg Conservatory, prize winners of the All Russia and International contests. The performing art of this st.Petersburg group can be characterized by the high artistic skill, exquisite and refined style, ideal sense of partnership, brilliant and virtuoso performance, creative enthusiasm, permanent desire to enlarge the repertoire including in it new works.

Mariss Jansons


Experiment of alchemist in jazz-club

In St.-Petersburg jazz club JFC took place a presentation of the CD «Russian Brass». Five musicians joined into the St.-Petersburg Philharmonic Brass Quintet only this year, after an offer from Moscow company Olva that was accepted joyfully. In that way appeared the CD, and then the ensemble of brass virtuosos of the Philharmonic and Mariinski Orchestras: Igor Sharapov, Alexei Belyaev, Stanislav Tses, Alexei Repnikov and Valentin Avvakumov.

What was going on the scene of St.-Petersburg jazz club JFC resembled somehow an experiment of alchemist. A jazz basement and musicians in dinner-jackets, the public by tables and the overture to «Ruslan and Ludmilla» - all that was a background for the experiment. Chemical reaction began, and the auditorium started to warm up and by the end of the party everyone whistled and stamped just as inveterate jazzman at any jam-session though was not the club habitue at all.

The concert was steady moving to clowning and buffoonery. In the first part there were the classics’ hits including inevitable Glinka (and the quintet’s «specialty» - the overture to «Ruslan»), Chaikovski and Borodin. The second part with its turn from Glinka to Glen Miller («Moon Serenade») and then to Trayan («The Frog’s Romance») and Hachaturian («The Dance With Sabres»), did not get along without Hendel «Halleluja», not only played, but as well sang and danced.

The Philharmonic Brass Quintet is forming its image despite the canons of the genre: conventional classical repertoire becomes only a ground for creative experimenting. Performing only high professional arrangements of popular classics of three centuries (from Hendel to Shostakovich), the ensemble nevertheless does not fear jazz music nor avoid variety.

Irene Lesnevskaya

"Vecherny Petersburg" -
St.Petersburg, Russia
23 Sep 1997.

«Brass Quintet» «amusements» in jazz-club

In jazz-club JFC on Shpalernaya street took place a presentation of the first CD of the Brass-Quintet - an ensemble of brass wind instruments which was created by the artists of the Honored collective of the Academic Symphonic Orchestra of the St.-Petersburg Philharmonic and the Orchestra of the Mariinski Theater.

Everyone coming in the club was lulled by languid atmosphere of a western bar and began to feel oneself almost like a hero of Irwin Shaw being sprawled in a velvet chair with a drink. However it did not last long - small cozy hall with damped lighting, tiny round tables and indispensable bottle of Champaign on each of them literally «began to crash» under the pressure of the overture to «Ruslan and Lyudmila» by Glinka, the «Hungarian Rhapsody» by List and the «Polovetsian Dances» by Borodin. But this discrepancy between the styles taken into account by the musicians and ironically interpreted by them in the welcoming speech and by mimic only cheered up the auditorium and made the party uniquely amused.

The second part of the concert began in another manner. There were the parodies of classical music, and jazz and all kinds of amusements. And serious musicians showed relaxedness non typical for their severe symphonic being. As well as their mastery and ability to be proficient till the finest details.

The CD presentation became a presentation of the group itself because now it renewed its cast and is called the «St.-Petersburg Philharmonic Brass Quintet» instead of the «Brass Quintet of the Mariinski Theater». And even in this season Igor Sharapov (the first trumpet), Alexei Belyaev (the second trumpet), Stanislav Tses (French horn), Alexei Repnikov (trombone) and Valentin Avvakumov (trumpet) are much welcomed in the Small Hall of the Philharmonic and the Composers’ House. However if I were in their shoes I would not break up with the tiny JFC scene, where even apparition of Valentin Avvakumov’s trumpet is able to create a joyful feeling.

Margaret Yan


Russian Brass: pure delight

It was a moment of pure delight to listen to Russian Brass Quintet Tuesday evening in Cloitre de Jacobins. Between two international tours in the cast of the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Mariinski Theater Orchestra of St.-Petersburg, these five Russian musicians joined their talent of interpreters and their own manner of communication joyfulness and happiness to the public (in the frame of summer musical festival).

Everything attributed to the beauty of the notes. Grandiose and magic site of the capitulary hall of Cloitre des Jacobins enables to make such musical palette to resound high and clear. One might feel hot and dry breathing of the «Summer» and perceive bitter prickling of the «Winter», extracts of the «Four Seasons» by Vivaldi. Two trumpets, tuba, French horn, trombone - five Russian musicians - delightedly interpreted the caprices of the time. In the second part of the concert their virtuous instruments also reproduced a passion and audacity of irreverent Carmen by Bizet, while «Don Juan» by Mozart made fun being interpreted by duet of trumpet and trombone. In the air of Rosina from the «Seville Barber» by Rossini the brass from St.-Petersburg was head as a cascade of notes sparkling and joyful with brilliant sonority.

And while the night was softly coming down to the garden of Cloitre the Russian Brass Quintet music has been immortalized with exclamations «bravo» terminating the concert in the rhythms of jazz. It’s worth adding that the Russian artists like to make fun putting on the wigs and costumes from the operas which they interpret in the concert. And their resemblance sometimes to Marx Brothers does not impede them to stay the fascinating virtuosos.

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