OperaBrass is one of the chamber music ensembles of the Bavarian State Orchestra. Although the formation also exists in the classic brass quintet formation, it is preferable to enter the stage with four trumpets and trombones, a horn, tuba and, in some cases, drums.
In 1996 the eleven musicians made their debut with two concerts in the Cuvilliés Theater in the Munich Residenz with a program made up of works from a wide variety of stylistic periods. Since all ensemble members are not only at home in classical music, but have also gained a wide range of experience from jazz to pop, this type of music also plays a major role in the formation’s repertoire. Arrangements of opera highlights, jazz standards and big band evergreens specially designed for OperaBrass were commissioned. In addition, the trumpeters Andreas Öttl and Frank Bloedhorn have also contributed their own arrangements to the repertoire. The two musicians are particularly attracted by the fact that they can use all their instruments in the ensemble – from the piccolo trumpet to the flugelhorn.
A tour with the cabaret artist Bruno Jonas and the program “Full Pipe - Hot Air” took them off the beaten track: a satirical tin, so to speak, the content of which dealt with no less than 400 years of love and death in the opera.
The musical collaboration with two former General Music Directors of the Bavarian State Opera, Zubin Mehta and Kent Nagano, and other renowned conductors such as the baroque specialist Ivor Bolton played an important role in the artistic development of the ensemble.
In 2006, OperaBrass organized a concert together with the world-famous King’s Singers in the Prinzregententheater. Under the title “In Perfect Harmony”, both ensembles spanned the musical arc over the centuries. With Wagner & Friends, the musicians from OperaBrass 2012 ventured directly from the orchestra pit onto the stage of the National Theatre with a real crossover programme. Every summer OperaBrass are also involved in the Unicredit Festival Night at the beginning of the Munich Opera Festival.
Apart from that, you can experience the ensemble at the chamber concerts of the Bavarian State Opera and on tours. More recently, after the European tour in 2016 with the Bayerisches Staatsorchester and a guest performance in Asia in 2017, they went to Mallorca in September 2018, where the Munich brass band were guests in Palma Cathedral for the second time.
Photo credits: Wilfried Hösl