EMPIRE BRASS -- CRITICAL ACCLAIM
"They simply have no competition when it comes to the beauty and clarity and accuracy and balance and interaction of their playing--the first phrase of any Empire Brass performance live or on recording sends a thrill of pleasure through your nervous system."
-- BOSTON GLOBE
"If there is a brass quintet that has more charisma, virtuosity and imagination than the Empire Brass, it hasn't yet played Chicago."
-- CHICAGO TRIBUNE
"Lavishly endowed in technique and musicianship. Individually and collectively they proved brilliantly virtuosic, with lips of steel and willing, musical spirit."
-- LOS ANGELES TIMES
"They exhibited virtuosity and versatility far beyond the normal call of concert duty. You have not often heard an ensemble that played with more gusto than this one."
-- THE NEW YORK TIMES
"They are first-rate virtuosos who--and this is rare--have not forgotten how to play."
-- MORGENPOST, BERLIN
"The players played and excited, no thrilled the silver-haired Brass buffs just as much as they did the droves of young teeny-boppers who packed Casals Hall. Even in such an outstanding group, the first trumpet was exceptional. Every brass player should try to imitate the beauty of his style -- the way his vibrato made the tone sing, and the extraordinarily sensitive way he shaped each note."
-- TOKYO JAPAN TIMES
"Their control of pitch and balance in addition to their musical understanding places them as one of the best brass quintets playing today."
-- HIGH FIDELITY/MUSICAL AMERICA
"The foremost of American brass ensembles."
-- PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE
"The Empire Brass played with striking beauty of tone and accuracy of intonation."
-- NEW YORK POST
"A virtuoso group which plays with the kind of ensemble closeness one expects only from very fine, long-established string quartets."
-- ATLANTA JOURNAL
"A remarkable ensemble that blends instrumental finesse and virtuosity with a disarming showmanship that P, T. Barnum and Florenz Ziegfield might have envied."
-- AKRON BEACON JOURNAL
"The renowned Empire Brass, whose articulation, perfect intonation, rhythmic verve, and seamless blending of tone should be the envy of many a world class string quarter...(gave) a performance both filled with wild abandon and letter perfect. Astonishing, entertaining, and above all, they made their audiences feel special."
"The Empire Brass has found a way to combine flash with impeccable musical attainment."
-- THE BOSTON HERALD
"Gem of quintet loud and clear...Being proper Bostonians, they do not, like the Canadians, risk banishment to Worcester by wearing white shoes with their tailcoats. There is less of show-business and more serious music-making in their approach to concert giving. They produced probably the loudest sounds yet heard in what their brilliant first trumpet identified as "a gem of a hall" and while doing so revealed themselves to be a gem of a brass quintet."
-- TORONTO STAR, CANADA
"An interesting repertoire, impeccable musicianship, breathtaking virtuosity and above all, the exhilerating joy of making music."
-- WINNIPEG, CANADA
"Their phenomenal blend is only one of the delights fo their playing. More important, while they are real virtuosi, they are musicians first."
-- OTTAWA, CANADA
"...astounding virtuosity, amazing agility, wonderful purity of tone."
-- THE NEW YORKER
"This week's Heinz Hall concerts featuring the Empire Brass are a triumph of virtuosity at the service of popular music...Not to be missed."
-- PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE
"The faces may change, but the virtuostic sound remains the same. The catalyst and one constant for the brilliant Empire Brass is lead trumpet Rolf Smedvig, the ensemble's founder. They don't come any better."
-- EL PASO HERALD-POST
"Their virtuoso rendering of this old modal material is nothing less than compelling, mind-blowing genius."
-- MIKE FALLARINO
"The Empire Brass take their audience into consideration when presenting their music. They have the courage to introduce music they wrote themselves. Original, dynamic, they teach while entertaining."
-- CHUCK RICKER, PRODUCER/DIRECTOR "FEATURE TIME" NY
"In the end, there seemed almost no piece of music that the Empire Brass couldn't make work for brass. Just before the concert closed, Smedvig joked with the audience, "now we'd like to play Mahler's Symphony No. 8." This listener wouldn't have been the least bit surprised if they did."
-- PALM BEACH POST
ROLF SMEDVIG -- SOLO REVIEWS
"Even in such an outstanding group, the first trumpet was exceptional. Every brass player should try to imitate the beauty of his style - the way his vibrato made the tone sing, and the extraordinary sensitive way he shaped the body and tail of each note."
-- Japan Times
"[Rolf] has the smoothness of line and softness of sound to make the slow movements really sing, and he has the assurance to make the big bravura moments shine."
-- Orlando Sentinel
"Smedvig is a commanding soloist who captivates the listener with expressive phrasing, delicate cantabile playing and bursts of exhilarating power when necessary."
-- Chattanooga Times
"This is an imposing solo debut, one that should propel Smedvig forward in that rarefied arena of the few brass players who can sustain a solo career."
-- The Seattle Times
"Smedvig's playing is absolutely spectacular, with hair-trigger control and high-wire acrobatics aplenty."
-- Fanfare Magazine
"Trumpeter Rolf Smedvig thrilled the audience with Haydn's Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major...This young man is definitely a world-class virtuoso and played with both elegance and power"
-- Thomasville Times
"His playing was polished and suave, and he spun out Hummel's solo part in tone that was gleaming and assertive..."
-- The Orlando Sentinel
"Smedvig is a silver-tongued virtuoso with a sweet, mellow tone..."
-- The Miami Herald
"[Rolf's] playing of Haydn's E-flat Trumpet Concerto couldn't have been more elegant, clean and clear, and pliant. It was multidimensional, sometimes wonderfully soft and inwardly drawn, sometimes almost like an echo, sometimes bright and bold and chilling."
-- Greenville News
"Smedvig has a pure, flexible tone and a superb technique to express it...[he] made every phrase meaningful."
"One of our finest trumpeters, capable of spinning a cantabile melodic line one moment and filling an auditorium with brilliant assertive blasts of pure sound the next. His concert was dazzling."
-- The New York Times
"Impressive musicianship, generous and smooth tone."
-- San Francisco Chronicle
"Smedvig is outstanding - sensitive, musicianly approach which serves the music well."
-- Pittsburgh Press
"His legato playing is like fine singing."
-- Boston Herald American
"Smedvig proved he was an exceptional musician - he utilized his instrument with true musicality and the purity and fullness of tone is remarkable."
-- Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Even, rich tone and amazingly secure line...rock-solid trumpet work."
-- Christian Science Monitor
"Smedvig's work was brilliant and clear, lifting the concert to a lofty level. He soared with exquisite control, coloring every nuance beautifully."
-- Newport Daily News
"Smedvig played with skill and artistry, producing a smooth, warm legato sound and crisp, accurate, rapid playing...assurance and fine musicianship...Smedvig was a knockout."
-- Seattle Times
"The fluent musicality and easy style of phrasing are what strike the ear first and his imaginative touches too...."
-- Grammophone Magazine
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