Tour de Brass! at the Commonwealth Games

New Music Biennial  a weekend of free music

Onyx performs “Bronze and Iron” in front of the Yellow Staircase as part of the Southbank Centre Festival.

Since March, when we kicked off our Tour de Brass! by giving the world première of David Sawer’s Bronze and Iron on the steps of the Royal Concert Halls in Glasgow, Onyx has been having a fantastic time reaching new audiences and thrilling our fans by taking our music out of the concert hall and into community spaces. Our tour of the UK’s top bandstands coincides with a renaissance of bandstands that was featured in BBC Music Magazine in April. In addition to the great reviews these free outdoor performances have been getting, our formal concerts on this tour are likewise being hailed, with Jane Shuttleworth of Bachtrack praising Onyx’s ability to show off “the mellow warmth that brass instruments produce so beautifully” and describing our Durham performance of Copland’s Hoedown from Rodeo as  “like a party I really wanted to go to.”

On July 5th, at one of the biggest stops yet of the Tour de Brass!, Onyx gave four performances over an action-packed first day of the New Music Biennial Weekend at the Southbank Centre in London. After ringing in the start of the weekend with fanfares, we gave a full performance in the Love Shack, a temporary installation for the Festival of Love, managing to escape the rain that put pay to our original plans of playing in the Jubilee Gardens in front of the London Eye. Once the weather cleared up a bit, we set up elsewhere on the riverside and performed the centrepiece of the tour, Bronze and Iron, — twice! — with some public discussion of the piece in between. As with the rest of the tour, it was great that people who were just wandering by joined festival-goers in listening to the music, and we really enjoyed interacting with everyone between the performances.

With this big project having gone so well so far, we’re particularly looking forward to returning to Glasgow on August 2nd, during the Commonwealth Games. We’ll be performing Bronze and Iron again, this time both inside and outside the Royal Concert Hall! Joining us are 19 other participants in the PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Biennial showcase of all the commissioned works. Both Onyx’s 1:15pm outdoor performance and the 2:30pm Lomond Foyer concert will not be ticketed and will be free to attend, as will the other performances of the showcase, so come by and hear some exciting new music. For more details on all the concerts, see the PRS for Music Foundation’s website.

In September, we continue with the Tour by heading to Liverpool, Widnes, Chester, and Colchester. You can read exactly where and when to catch us by checking out our tour schedule page.

New Music Biennial  a weekend of free music

Some young members of the public are really taking advantage of the ability to hear brass music up close on the Tour de Brass.

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