The Abilene Philharmonic’s first Masterworks program of the Lost Season will take place Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m., featuring the award-winning and internationally acclaimed Canadian Brass. Trombonist Achilles Liarmakopoulos and tubist Chuck Daellenbach generously took time to share their musicianship wisdom as well as several interesting facts about their group.
Q: You are all such proficient musicians on your instruments, could you share some insight into your early musicianship training that helped you reach where you are today?
A: Every day practice is key to improvement! Slow practice with the metronome until every note and phrase is clean and beautiful. Play for your friends and family, and make music with as many musicians you can: duets, trios, chamber, orchestra etc. Lastly, listen to tons of music for inspiration, watch videos of all the great artists, from different styles of music…and don’t forget to enjoy the experience of making music! When businesses first shut down due to the pandemic, the music world had to pivot creatively. Many musicians moved lessons, meetings and performances online. Abilene Philharmonic also created virtual entertainment called the Living Room Concert Series. We showcased small ensembles of musicians from the Philharmonic performing live from their homes.
Q: What did you do when the pandemic temporarily closed concert halls?
A: We all became proficient “sound engineers” so that we could continue recording unabated. As a result of our diligence in this sphere, we have a major release of “Canadiana” this month. We are well aware that this project will have to stand up to our many releases on Sony, RCA Red-Seal and Philips! This certainly filled in the time that might have been wasted on Netflix or video games …. Oh wait, we did that, too!
Q: Did you remain separated during this time or were you able to meet to work on new projects?
A: Although there were long stretches when we were not allowed to cross borders, we remained in very close contact. I can only imagine what would have happened if there had been a COVID-type outbreak in the days of dial phones.
Q: Was there ever a time when you were concerned about the prospect of no concerts for an unforeseen amount of time?
A: It is likely a continuing concern for many artists. We have been very lucky that we have concerts during this time, many Zoom workshops and the aforementioned recording.
Q: What would be your favorite city that you’ve travelled to and is there somewhere you haven’t yet had an opportunity to perform but would like to?
A: We will each have a different answer for this, but of course Abilene is at the top of the list. Next would be visiting China right after the end of the so-called “Cultural Revolution.” A couple years ago I posted a picture of me standing in front of the schedule screen in O’Hare Airport – looking at the hundreds of flights showing I realized Canadian Brass had played in every city on the board except Acapulco.
Q: What makes The Canadian Brass such a world-renowned performance ensemble?
A: Great audiences that have stayed with us since the beginning, sent their children to see and hear us, and now the grandchildren. Tickets are available for purchase at abilenephilharmonic.org.
Contributed By Sarah Figueroa/Abilene Philharmonic