Summer Brass Institute and Festival at Menlo School showcases instruments and musicianship

by Linda Hubbard on July 14, 2011

This weekend wraps up the Summer Brass Institute and Festival at Menlo School with the treat of listening to young talent in action at two performances, both free of charge. Institute participants will perform masterworks of the repertoire for brass, including music by Gabrieli, Brahms, Broughton, and Plog on Friday, July 15 at 8:00 pm in Stent Hall. The same stage will showcase the “radiance of brass quintet artistry, an intimate yet powerful form of chamber music” on Saturday, July 16 at 8:00 pm.

We stopped by earlier this week to talk with Music Director Vicky Greenbaum, who founded the Brass Institute nine years ago and while there got a peak of the young musicians working with Adam Luftman , principal trumpet of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. (“You’re not committing to the note!” he prodded his students.)

Vicky was a professional violinist before becoming a conductor and teacher and now leads the Menlo School orchestra and chamber music program during the academic year. She explained her motivation for starting the Brass Festival: “I wanted brass players to have a chance for training like young string players have. Brass musicians need to train hard to sound beautiful.”

Institute participants range in age from 13-27 and come from the Bay Area, the United States and the world to attend the two-week program. While in Menlo they listen to “great musicians of the brass world: The Bay Brass, comprised of artists from the San Francisco Symphony and other important orchestras. Guests artists this year are Mark Inouye, principal trumpet with the San Francisco Symphony; Nicole Cash, associate principal horn with the Symphony; and Jeffery Anderson, tuba artist with the Symphony.”

“The Brass Institute is a homegrown labor of love,” Vicky says. “The center of my job is music making.”

Photo by Scott R. Kline

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