Regular readers probably know by now that I have been following the International Low Brass Trio (ILBTrio) with enthusiastic interest since I first encountered them last November. At that time they were participating in a student recital of performances on brass instruments at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, but by then they were already beginning to establish themselves on the public concert circuit. What particularly impressed me was that they were building up their repertoire through commissions. As a result of this process of “new music for a new kind of chamber ensemble,” they have, to date, given thirteen world premiere, one United States premiere, and two West Coast premieres. They are currently working with eleven more young composers, whose music they plan to premiere during the 2014–15 season.
The French horn is not, strictly speaking, an entirely low-register instrument (particularly for those who were fortunate enough to take in the San Francisco Symphony performance of music Benjamin Britten wrote for the ballet The Prince of the Pagodas). However, there is still “truth in advertising” in the ILBTrio name, not only through register preference but also through the nationalities of the members: horn Jeff Dittmer from London, Canada, trombone Gabriel Cruz from Alameda, California, and tuba Jess Rodda from Mildura, Australia. This diversity may account for their ability to work with the wide variety of approaches taken by the composers they have commissioned.
This summer ILBTrio will release their first EP entitled The First Six. As one might guess from that title, the recording will feature music by six of the composers the ensemble has commissioned: Nick Benavides, Danny Clay, Matthew Joseph Payne, Drew Phillips, Justin Rio, and Lillian Yee. It will also include John Stevens’ “Triangles,” which is the composition that inspired the formation of ILBTrio, The new recording will be celebrated with a release party to be held in August.
More specifically, the party will take place at 8 p.m. on Sunday, August 24, at the Center for New Music (C4NM). This venue is located at 55 Taylor Street, about half a block north of the corner of Market Street. Admission will be $15, but those paying $20 will also receive a copy of the EP. Admission for C4NM (as well as the lowly waged) will be $10 or $15 with the EP included. Tickets at all price levels may be purchased through a Brown Paper Tickets event page.