UNO Brass Ensemble’s semester concert showcases students’ learning


By Kaitlyn Hayes, Contributor


The UNO Brass Ensemble concert on Tuesday, Nov. 6 brought a variety of deep brass and jazz sounds to the Strauss Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall. The evening included performances by the Low Down Brass Ensemble (trombones and tubas) and the Trumpet Ensemble.

The evening began with the Low Down Brass Ensemble, directed by Pete Madsen, Ph.D. The group performed pieces they learned this semester, including two traditional somber pieces and a jazz tune. The Trumpet Ensemble, led by director Jason Johnson, played two pieces after the Low Down Brass Ensemble completed their set. The first was a traditional concerto, followed by a more contemporary piece that included a jazzy student solo and the accompaniment of a three-person jazz band.

Madsen has been teaching at the UNO School of Music for 13 years. This type of concert, held once a semester, is performed by music students as part of their brass curriculum, he said.. Each student receives private lessons. The students get together once a week to explore and practice various brass music topics and techniques. The concert is an offshoot of the work the students do together in the group format. The best part about the ensemble is the learning that takes place as a result of working on the music Madsen said. 

“It’s really just as much about the learning process as the final product,” he said.

The Brass Ensemble concert was one of at least a dozen concerts the UNO School of Music is hosting this semester. One upcoming concert is the Jazz Ensemble Concert featuring Peter Erskine tonight at 7 p.m. at the Strauss Performing Arts Center Recital Hall.        Erskine is one of the top drummers in the world and a Grammy Award winner. UNO ensemble concerts and faculty recitals are $5 for general admission, $4 for students and seniors, and free for UNO students, faculty and staff.