In April 2009, John Oswald assembled eight Toronto brass musicians to perform live music along with his own recorded soundtrack for Radiant, a choreography by Holly Small, at the Betty Oliphant Theatre in Toronto. The players enjoyed the experience so much that some of them started to write new music and seek new performance contexts for the group, which was dubbed “The Radiant Brass Ensemble.”** In particular, the members recognized the potential that was introduced with the group’s role in Radiant, in which the players moved through space as they played or performed from the balconies in a way that emphasized spatial relationships. Given its origins and history, it makes sense that the group specializes in site-specific, mobile, and unconventional performance contexts.
In addition to my compositions for Radiant Brass Ensemble, each with a link to its own description below, the group has performed music by John Oswald and by its members:
- Playing and moving through the Edward Day Gallery, Toronto, as part of an exhibition of visual art by John Oswald, May 2010
- Playing with the Coleman-Lemieux Dance Company as part of a site-specific performance to open a new street in Regent Park, Toronto, part of the Luminato Festival, June 2010
- Playing and moving through the Carlu, Toronto, as part of John Oswald’s Verisimile, as part of the Canadian Art Association’s annual Art Hop, September 2010
The Radiant Brass Ensemble, for any performance or project, tends to comprise about eight players, and the following musicians have filled those roles on different occasions: Lina Allemano (trumpet), Nicolas Buligan (trumpet & flügelhorn), Dan Gooch (trumpet), Rebecca Hennessy (trumpet), Jim Lewis (trumpet & flügelhorn), Nicole Rampersaud (trumpet), Tom Richards (trombone), Heather Saumer (trombone), Scott Thomson (trombone), Doug Tielli (trombone) & Steve Ward (trombone).
My own compositions for the Radiant Brass Ensemble are as follows:
In addition, my 2016 site-specific piece, Parcours parcuivres, co-composed with John Oswald for an ad hoc brass tentet in Montréal in Parc Lafontaine, is directly related to the Radiant Brass Ensemble project.
** Early on, once we had started performing apart from the Radiant show, I casually agitated that the group be called “The Radiation Brass Band,” but it did not catch on as much as “The Radiant Brass Ensemble” did. However, this alternate name still comes up in conversation on occasion.