For the love of Brassby Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
Rolf Smedvig wants you to instantly recognize his ensemble the first time you hear it. He spoke with classical music host Alison Young about Empire Brass, a group with a special sound molded through the discipline of the Boston Symphony and a youthful energy and excitement.
St. Paul, Minn. — Rolf Smedvig is the first trumpet of Empire Brass, an ensemble he helped found a couple decades ago.
He had already made it to the top of the heap. He was the principal trumpet of the Boston Symphony, the first musician Seiji Ozawa hired when he became music director of the legendary ensemble.
As wonderful as being in one of the greatest shows on earth, Smedvig wanted more. He was already establishing himself as a soloist and chamber musician. That type of performing was just more fun. So he followed his bliss.
In his new career, Smedvig travels the world, performing hundreds of concerts in 35 countries.
But he says that even with a jam-packed schedule and lots of hard work, he always remembers the important lesson Ozawa gave him in Boston -- never lose your child-like excitement about music.
Rolf Smedvig and the Empire Brass are in Minnesota performing a recital and giving classes for outstanding high school brass players at Concordia College.
He spoke with classical host Alison Young about the love of his art, what it takes to make a great brass ensemble, and the variety of music they perform.