Canadian Brass

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The Canadian Brass is a Canadian brass quintet formed in 1970 in Toronto, Ontario by trombonist Gene Watts and tubist Charles Daellenbach. The group performs internationally and has recorded more than 100 CDs and DVDs. They have commissioned, performed, and recorded hundreds of transcriptions and original works for brass quintet.

As of 2015, the quintet is composed of trumpeters Caleb Hudson and Chris Coletti; hornist Bernhard Scully; trombonist Achilles Liarmakopoulos; as well as Daellenbach. Canadian Brass - 2014 (Photo Credit: Bo Huang)

Description and history[edit]

Canadian Brass on the marquee at Balaban and Katz Chicago Theatre

The "Kings of Brass," as described by the Ottawa Citizen, had their first European tour in 1972 with the Festival Singers.[1] The Canadian Brass (known for their unique performance attire of formal black suits with white running shoes) made its American debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC in 1975. A significant international visit was made in 1977 when they were sent to mainland China as a cultural exchange between Canada and China. The ensemble was chosen and sent on this cultural mission by then-Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. They are now remembered in China as the first Western musicians allowed into China after the Cultural Revolution had suppressed Western art and music.

In 1979 Canadian Brass became the first chamber ensemble to solo the main stage at Carnegie Hall.[2] As The New York Times reported, their sold-out performance "clearly establishes the Canadian Brass as a main-stage attraction." In addition to their heavy international touring schedule for over 40 years, and their extensive recording catalog, they have been on the Billboard charts in each decade of their existence, recording with the majors RCA, BMG, CBS, Sony, Philips and Decca, occupying virtually all the spots open to brass players. Canadian Brass recordings are currently released by Toronto-based Opening Day Entertainment Group (ODEG), headed by Daellenbach.

The first recordings the Brass created were for the CBC radio transcription service, including their very first major concert in Toronto the summer of 1971. Record producer Eleanor Sniderman discovered the group and put the group on its first commercial LPs in 1973 and 1974, which then attracted major artist management in New York City. In 1977, the same year the Brass represented North America in Peoples Republic of China, a live radio broadcast on WQXR was heard by multi-Grammy award-winning producer Jay Saks, who was impressed, and brought the group to the prestigious RCA Red-Seal record label. The ensemble was then scouted by CBS records, soon to be Sony, where they recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and Boston Symphony brass players, establishing a repertoire that is now standard for expanded brass ensembles.

When the group's former manager, Costa Pilavachi, assumed the post of "Head of A&R" at Philips Records in the Netherlands, he lured the Brass to his new label, establishing a new European presence for the group. Then in 1992 the Brass joined BMG, releasing fourteen albums in eight years, including Bach's Goldberg Variations, for which the group won a German Echo award.

In the 1990s, Daellenbach started Opening Day Entertainment Group Inc., a Canadian independent recording label, which as of 2014 has released over 70 CDs for artists in a variety of genres.

The band has been named the "one of the most popular brass ensembles in the world" by The Washington Post.[3] Explaining the incorporation of humor into their stage act, Marty Hackleman said, "Chamber music can get tedious… There's not that much variety and color. We add color and dynamics to what we're doing with humorous numbers."[4]

In 2004, the band appeared on Sharon, Lois & Bram's 25th Anniversary Concert special titled "25 Years of Skinnamarink" that aired on CBC on January 1, 2004 at 7:00pm. He sang two songs with the trio: "The Very Best Band" and "One Elephant".






  • Christopher Coletti (2010-present)
  • Caleb Hudson (2013-present)
  • Stuart Laughton (1970–1971, 2003–2005)
  • Ronald Romm, trumpet (1971–2000) & "Trumpet Dream Team" (2006–2010)
  • Fred Mills (1972–1996)
  • Ryan Anthony (2000–2003) & "Trumpet Dream Team" (2006–2010)
  • Joe Burgstaller (2001–2004, 2007–2009)
  • Charles Lazarus "Trumpet Dream Team" (2005)
  • Justin Emerich (2005–2006)
  • Brandon Ridenour (2009–2013) & "Trumpet Dream Team" (2006–2010)
  • Manon Lafrance, "Trumpet Dream Team" (2006–2010)
  • Jeroen Berwaerts "Trumpet Dream Team" (2006–2010)
  • Jens Lindemann (1996–2001)


  • Achilles Liarmakopoulos (2011-present)
  • Eugene Watts (1970–2010)
  • Keith Dyrda (2010–2011)


  • Bernhard Scully (2004-2007) (2014-present)
  • Eric Reed (2010–2013)
  • Jeff Nelsen (2000–2004, 2007–2010)
  • Christopher Cooper (1998–2000)
  • David Ohanian (1986–1998)
  • Martin Hackleman (1983–1986)
  • Graeme Page (1970–1983)


  • Canadian Brass (1971) CBC
  • Rag-Ma-Tazz (1973) CBC
  • Make We Joy (1973) CBC – with Festival Singers of Canada
  • Royal Fanfare (1973) Boot Master Concert Series
  • Canadian Brass in Paris (1973) Boot Master Concert Series
  • Rag-Ma-Tazz (1974) Boot Master Concert Series
  • A Touch of Brass (1974) Welk Group
  • Canadian Brass: Pachelbel to Joplin (1974) Welk Group
  • Pucker & Valve Society Band (1975) Umbrella
  • Unexplored Territory (1977) CBC – with Don Gillis Jazz Quartet
  • Canadian Brass Plus Organ (1977) CBC w/organist Doug Haas
  • Toccata, Fugues & Other Diversions (1977) Umbrella Direct-to-Disk
  • Canadian Brass Encore (1977) CBC
  • Bells and Brass (1978) Independent – with carillonneur Gordon Slater
  • Mostly Fats; Fats Waller's Greatest Hits (1979) RCA Red Seal
  • Pachelbel Canon & Other Great Baroque Hits (1980) RCA Red Seal
  • Christmas with the Canadian Brass and the Great Organ of St. Patrick's Cathedral (1981) RCA Red Seal – with organist John Grady
  • The Village Band (1981) RCA Red Seal
  • Champions (1983) CBS
  • Canadian Brass Greatest Hits (1983) RCA Red Seal
  • High, Bright, Light and Clear (1983) RCA Red Seal
  • Ain't Misbehavin' and Other Fats Waller Hits (1984) RCA
  • Brass in Berlin (1984) CBS Masterworks – with Berlin Philharmonic brass
  • Canadian Brass Live! (1984) CBS Masterworks
  • A Canadian Brass Christmas (1985) CBS
  • Vivaldi: The Four Seasons (1986) CBS Masterworks
  • Basin Street (1987) CBS
  • Strike Up the Band – Canadian Brass Plays Gershwin (1987) RCA Red Seal
  • Bach: The Art of Fugue (1988) CBS Masterworks
  • The Mozart Album (1988) CBS Masterworks
  • Canadian Brass More Greatest Hits (1988) RCA Victor
  • Best of the Canadian Brass (1989) CBS
  • Gabrieli/Monteverdi: Antiphonal Music (1990) CBS Masterworks – with members of the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kazuyoshi Akiyama
  • English Renaissance Music (1990) CBS
  • The Christmas Album (1990) Philips - with Elmer Iseler Singers
  • Beethoven Fifth Symphony & Overtures (1991) Philips – with Boston Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic brass, conducted by Georg Tintner
  • Red, White & Brass: Made in the USA (1991) Philips – with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Lukas Foss
  • The Essential Canadian Brass (1991) Philips
  • Red Hot Jazz: The Dixieland Album (1992) Philips
  • Wagner for Brass (1992) Philips – with members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival, conducted by Edo de Waart
  • Rejoice! – Brass and Voice (1993) ODEG – with Indiannoplis Children's Choir
  • An Evening of Brass Theater (1994) ODEG
  • Brass on Broadway (1994) Philips – with Luther Henderson
  • Gabrieli for Brass (1994) Philips – with members of the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Elmer Iseler
  • Noel (1994) BMG – with James Galway, King's Singers, Angel Romero & others
  • Bolero & Other Great Melodies (1995) BMG
  • Brass Busters (1995) BMG – with New York Philharmonic & Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Fireworks: Baroque Brass Favorites (1995) BMG
  • Go for Baroque! (1995) BMG
  • Ragtime (1995) BMG
  • Renaissance Men (1995) BMG
  • Swingtime! (1995) BMG
  • Brass Theater II with Star of Indiana (1995) ODEG
  • Brass Theater III with Star of Indiana (1996) ODEG
  • Canadian Brass Plays Bernstein (1996) BMG
  • The Canadian Brass Live in Germany (1997) BMG
  • Christmas Experiment (1997) BMG
  • All You Need is Love (1998) BMG
  • A Christmas Gloria (1999) Telarc – with Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  • Take the "A" Train (1999) BMG
  • Celebration (1999) ODEG – with Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Super Hits (2000) Sony
  • Bach Goldberg Variations (2001) BMG
  • CBC Radio Years (2001) CBC
  • Holidays with Canadian Brass (2002) BMG
  • Sacred Brass (2002) BMG
  • Amazing Brass (2002) ODEG/LINUS
  • Sweet Songs of Christmas (2002) ODEG
  • A Holiday Tradition (2003) LINUS
  • Magic Horn (2004) ODEG
  • Joyful Sounds with organ and choir (2005) ODEG
  • High Society" (2006) ODEG
  • People of Faith (2006) ODEG – with Elmer Iseler Singers
  • Wedding Essentials (2006) ODEG
  • Concert Band Essentials (2007) ODEG
  • Christmas Tradition (2007) ODEG – with organist Eric Roberson
  • Bach (2008) ODEG
  • Legends (2008) ODEG
  • Jazz Roots (2008) ODEG
  • Manhattan Music (2008) ODEG – with the Eastman Wind Ensemble
  • Echo – Glory of Gabrieli (2009) ODEG
  • Swing That Music – A Tribute to Louis Armstrong (2010) ODEG
  • Stars & Stripes" – Canadian Brass Salute America (2010) ODEG - with members of NEXUS
  • Spirit Dance (2010) ODEG – with pianist David Braid
  • A Very Merry Christmas (2010) – with various artists
  • The Classics: From Pachelbel to Purcell (2011) ODEG
  • The Classics: Between Bach & Handel (2011) ODEG
  • The Classics: Mozart & More (2011) ODEG
  • Brahms on Brass (2011) ODEG
  • Takes Flight (2012) Steinway/ODEG
  • Carnaval: Music of Robert Schumann (2013) ODEG
  • Christmas Time Is Here (2013) Steinway/ODEG
  • Great Wall of China (2014) ODEG
  • Perfect Landing (2015) ODEG


  • Canadian Brass Live (1986)
  • The Canadian Brass Masterclass (1989)
  • The Canadian Brass Spectacular (1989)
  • On Stage at Wolftrap (1990)
  • Home Movies (1991)
  • Strings, Winds, and All That Brass (1992)
  • The Canadian Brass Live in Germany (1994)
  • Christmas Experiment (1998)
  • A Christmas Gloria (1999)
  • Bootleg Canadian Brass — Authorized Version (2002)
  • Three Nights with Canadian Brass (2003)
  • "KAMEN - QUINTET" (2005)
  • State Street Stomp (2006)
  • Brass Romance - Lady Gaga (2011)
  • Brahms' Chorale Prelude #10 (2011)
  • "Flight of the Bumblebee" (2012)
  • "Live from LPR New York" (2012)

Music videos[edit]

Year Video
1991 "Amazing Grace"
2006 "State Street Stomp"
2011 "Flight of the Bumblebee"
2012 "Bad Romance (Brass Romance)"


  1. ^ "Canadian Brass". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  2. ^ "Canadian Brass tubist and founder Charles Daellenbach - "Lifetime Achievement Award".:". Conn-Selmer. 2012-08-29. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  3. ^ "Loudoun County music students inspired by top brass". 
  4. ^ "Canadian Brass live musicians' dream". Associated Press. 26 August 1984. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "Chris Coletti's official website". Retrieved 2013-12-20. 

External links[edit]