Brass takes center stage at Strings in Steamboat |

Brass takes center stage at Strings in Steamboat

Michael Sachs, Strings Music Festival music director and nationally known trumpet player, will be the featured soloist this weekend at the inaugural "Brasstacular" event Saturday and Sunday at Strings Music Pavilion.
Courtesy photo
If you go: What: Steamboat Symphony Orchestra and Strings Music Festival present "Brasstacular" When: 7 p.m. Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4 Where: Strings Music Pavilion, 900 Strings Road Tickets: Tickets range from $10 to $65 and can be purchased at

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A celebration of brass, showcasing one of the nation’s top trumpet players, will come together this weekend as the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra and Strings Music Festival present “Brasstacular” on Saturday and Sunday night at Strings Music Pavilion.

The collaboration serves as the orchestra’s annual spring concert and will feature “Pines of Rome” by Resphigi with Michael Sachs as the featured soloist and the orchestra’s brass section highlighted in works by Wagner, Verdi and Shostakovitch. Other performers featured include Elissa Greene, Strings executive director in the cello section along with John Saint’ Ambrosio, former music director of Strings.

“Viscerally, you can feel the power of the music,” said Earnest Richardson, music director of the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra. “It signals big things happening. The brass section dramatizes the impact of the whole orchestra, which is a technique today’s movie composers borrow from.”

The brass section of the orchestra adds a wide variety of color to the orchestral texture, really everything from the most tender lyricism to playing with lots of power and impact,” said Sachs. “In this concert in particular, there are many moments throughout that showcase this large palette of possibilities.”

Sachs, who has served as the Strings Music Festival music director for the last four years, has performed with orchestras, jazz bands, marching bands and rock bands and also presents master classes and workshops at conservatories, universities and top orchestral festivals around the world.

He has been the principal trumpet for the Cleveland Orchestra for the last 30 years and before that, played with the Houston Orchestra. Sachs is also the author of seven books on the trumpet and has been involved in the acoustic design and testing for the creation of a new line of Bach Stradivarius trumpets.

“Anytime one breaks out of their traditional boundaries, they always gain new information and knowledge,” Sachs said. “When I immerse myself a few layers deeper than I normally would into a topic, it gives me a deeper perspective somehow — maybe a new historical context. I feel like the people I’ve admired the most are always eternal students. I look to seek new knowledge, more information and use that to create something new.”

Richardson said Respighi’s “Pines of Rome” piece could be a score from a dramatic film while the Arutunian concerto Sach will be playing reflects reflects the color and styles represented by the brass section. Both agree the program will bring with it hints of the coming season — spring.

“What is brilliant about Respighi is his ability to evoke pictorial music,” Richardson said. “In the first movement, it is easy to imagine children playing in the streets of Rome. Excitement builds during the entire number, and in the final movement, you feel the excitement as the brass heralds the arrival of the victors.”

“My ultimate goal is to create an energized, fun, positive experience for the audience as well as the people on stage,” Sachs added. “The upcoming concert is a wonderful opportunity to create something new for all involved.”

Both weekend performances begin at 7 p.m.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.


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