24/7 VALENCIA: Can you tell us something about the tradition of brass music in the Valencian Community?
SPANISH BRASS: Hello to the ‘24/7 Valencia’ team, we are pleased to greet you and take this opportunity to congratulate you on your 22nd year in Valencia. Thank you for your magazine and your invitation to participate in this interview.
As is well known, the musical tradition in Valencia is rich and deep. We could say that it is an intrinsic part of our DNA as a society. But in particular, brass music, like wind instruments in general, is intimately linked to the musical societies and their bands that populate our Valencian Community, the backbone of any popular, religious or secular manifestation of any community. The bands of the Comunitat Valenciana should be World Heritage because they provide their environment with training, culture, entertainment and tradition among many other benefits.
Could you explain to us how “Spanish Brass” was formed and what the concept of the band is?
The concept formed in 1989 when all the members were part of the incipient Joven Orquesta Nacional de España (JONDE). The 5 of us were members of the brass section of the orchestra and one day we decided to search the archive for some chamber music repertoire for brass, in order to have a good time. Conceptually we wanted to follow in the footsteps of pioneering groups such as the American Brass Quintet, The Philip Jones Brass Ensemble or The Canadian Brass. We listened to those vinyl records with real passion and being able to play that demanding repertoire was very rewarding as well as challenging. Since that year, we never stopped playing together and although we became professional musicians in different orchestras and conservatories in Spain, we always wanted to make the brass quintet our way of life.
After winning a prestigious competition in France that specialized in the subject, we thought it was time to take the step and in 1997 we decided to leave our jobs to make the obsessive dream that had been chasing us since the first day we started playing together come true. From that moment on, all our energy and talent combined together to reach this moment as one of the very few groups in the world that are 100% dedicated to Chamber Music.
What have you learned during your travels abroad about people and different cultures?
That is one of the most enriching parts of our work; to date we have played in over 50 countries. These experiences allow you to form yourself as a human being beyond the music itself, but if it is with it everything is easier because there are no limits to expression and getting to know people and places, it provides fundamental keys to understanding how close we could be to each other despite the frontiers we strive to set.
Describe a typical year for ‘Spanish Brass’
Until 2019 we were averaging about 100 concerts per year, which means spending a lot of time on the road and at airports. Two tours in the United States, one in Japan and two in Europe were cancelled due to the pandemic. However, we are now touring all over the Valencia region and Spain again… and we have a tour scheduled for the U.S.A. in 2023!
What are your plans for the future?
The immediate future, not having problems going to rehearsals tomorrow, that good health returns to humanity on planet earth and that culture and music are as necessary for society as it is for the spirit. We know it sounds like wishful thinking but, in reality, that’s the plan.
24/7 VALENCIA: ‘Spanish Brass’ have a new album out in 2022 called ‘Piazzolla: Resurrección’
Interview by ‘24/7 Valencia’
Article copyright 24/7 Valencia
More info: https://spanishbrass.com/home/