Who We Are
Calliope Brass is an innovative ensemble on a mission to bring stories to life through music.
New York City-based quintet Calliope Brass plays repertoire ranging from jazz to classical, pops to swing, and everything in between. Since our inception in 2015, the ensemble has been inspired by the power of storytelling through music.
Calliope Brass is currently focused on developing our educational initiative “What’s Your Story?”. The show is a cross-curricular interactive performance, reinforcing K-5 English and Language Arts core content while also teaching students about musical terms and concepts, and the instruments of the brass family. The show’s final form features an original modular score by Broadway composer and “Hamilton” national tour Associate Music Director, Kat Sherrell. This unique piece of music is designed to be played in any order to provide cinematic-like underscoring to stories so that we can customize each performance and perform stories written by students in the audience. Listening to their stories brought to life is an extremely affirming and exciting experience for students. Our narrator is "Calliope" the puppet, an original character played by all-star Sesame and Muppet puppeteer, Haley Jenkins. Calliope Brass worked with Haley and Sesame Street puppeteer Leslie Carrara-Rudolph (Abby Cadabby) to develop the puppet design and character. "Calliope" takes on the role of a childlike dragon-fairy who excitedly leads our young audience members through an exploration of the brass family of instruments, and how music can be used represent characters, emotions, and settings in a story.
Calliope Brass also develops larger projects combining original documentary film, live actors, guest artists, and original composer interviews to create an immersive storytelling experience. Combining the traditional brass quintet with a variety of guest performers, we present the narrative through a new medium by drawing upon personal experiences, traditional pieces, new commissions, and innovative arrangements to tell our stories in an exciting and engaging way. Our first project focused on storytelling through music is a multimedia experience entitled “Portraits of the Underdog”, which premiered in April 2015. For this production, Calliope partnered with composers David Maslanka, David Sampson and a professional video team to combine music and documentary film. We focused on telling little-known stories of the struggle against bias from a variety of unique perspectives in a moving and profound way. This presentation is geared towards older student and adult audiences.
In addition to our story-focused programs, Calliope Brass is also active in presenting recitals. In 2017, we received a seed money grant from New York Women Composers to program a recital of contemporary works, many of which were written by members of New York Women Composers group. This concert included the premiere of a 5-movement work for brass quintet by Faye-Ellen Silverman.
Calliope Brass is committed to excellence in performance and educational initiatives, in order to further the role of women brass musicians as both artists and teachers. Members are versatile musicians found playing in Broadway pits, major symphony orchestras, the Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle, mainstage acts including Adele, Pink Martini, and Andrea Bocelli, and sharing their artistry in schools nation-wide.