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Take 5: Gaudete Brass Quintet

This edition of Take 5 features an interview with the Gaudete Brass Quintet. Founded in 2004, Gaudete Brass is devoted to presenting serious brass chamber music at the highest level of excellence. They have expanded the brass quintet repertoire by commissioning works from noted composers including David Sampson, John Cheetham, Jan Bach, Rob Deemer, and Stacy Garrop, and by working with emerging young artists through programs such as the advanced composition course at Columbia College-Chicago and the composition program at Roosevelt University. The ensemble is also dedicated to historically informed performances of Renaissance music, creating and performing its own editions of these works. Their newest Cedille album “sevenfive — The John Corigliano Effect” brings a fresh perspective to music of the American composer and his protégés and includes world-premiere recordings of his groundbreaking Fanfares to Music for on- and off-stage brass choirs, his stately Antiphon for double brass quintet, and a new arrangement of the Rossini-esque Overture from his popular Gazebo Dances. “sevenfive” will be released on February 10, but is currently available for preorder on

1) What is your most recent project and what sparked your interest in it?

Gaudete is rehearsing for a set of young people’s concerts that feature an interactive narrative work written for us called “Dragon Call.” It has a compelling story in which each instrument plays a different character (like “Peter and the Wolf”), and it even has a participatory part for the audience performed on rudimentary brass instruments. (Paul Von Hoff)

2) If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?

I think I have an entrepreneurial spirit, so I would want to be creating something. I have an ongoing joke with my wife about all of the outlandish ideas that I come up with. My all time favorite: instrument maker/brewmaster/sausage maker. you come for the horns, but you stay for the beer and snacks. (Phil Kassel)

3) Was there a formative moment for you as an artist?

I moved to Chicago with no intent to pursue a career playing the trumpet or with music in general. If it weren’t for my rehearsal with Gaudete Brass, I would absolutely not be where I am today. I was, for the first time, surrounded by musicians who value the depth of what exists under the surface of any music and strive each rehearsal to extract every ounce of musicality. I will forever be grateful to GB for bringing me back from the darkness, providing me the outlet to express music in my own way. (Bill Baxtresser)

4) What album/band are you listening to right now?

In the world of chamber music, I am quite excited about the new American Brass Quintet album, especially considering we have our own album championing fantastic music for brass coming out in just a few short weeks! Outside of the chamber music world, I have been really enjoying the music of a few folks I went to University of Florida with, Hundred Waters. They do an incredible job of blending electronic and more organic sounds in such an incredibly inventive way. (Charles Russell Roberts)

5) What makes the Chicago classical music scene unique?

The sense of community we have here in Chicago is what makes our music scene so unique. This past fall, the Ear Taxi Festival showcased the vibrant new music scene we have here which included performances by smaller chamber groups, youth music ensembles, and even included events by the CSO Association. More importantly, when you looked out at the audience, you would see fellow musicians supporting each other. What an exciting time to be in Chicago! (Scott Tegge)


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