“Velvet on Ivory” with Velvet Brown, tuba & Ellen Rowe, piano
Friday, March 25, 2022, 8 p.m.: BLU Jazz+, Akron
Saturday, March 26, 2022, 7:30 p.m.: Maltz Performing Arts Center
The CJO welcomes tubist Velvet Brown and composer/pianist Ellen Rowe to share an evening of music and memories. A new commission from Ellen Rowe will be premiered.
Velvet Brown is profoundly passionate about her career as a performer and educator. She is the David P. Stone Endowed Professor for the School of Music at Penn State and the Associate Director of the School of Music for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Brown is also Visiting Artist Faculty at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
Velvet Brown enjoys a career as professor, international soloist, composer/arranger, chamber ensemble performer, recording artist, conductor, and orchestral player. She has performed and taught in Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Finland, France, England, Hungary, Slovenia, Russia, Japan, Cuba, Canada and the United States. Ms. Brown is currently the principal tubist of the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra. Brown was honored to be principal tuba with the Hope and Harmony Ensemble which recorded a video of fanfares for the 2021 Presidential Inauguration conducted by Marin Alsop. She has served as principal tuba with the River City Brass band, guest principal with the Lahti Philharmonic in Finland, the Detroit Symphony, San Francisco Women’s Philharmonic Orchestra, and as substitute or additional tubist with the Saint Louis Symphony and Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Having performed and worked closely with jazz, commercial and classical artists regarded as some of the most influential musicians of all time, including Howard Johnson, Marie Speziale, Bob Stewart, Susan Slaughter and Doc Severinsen, she felt inspired to explore new territories in her music career. As a consequence, influenced also by some personal experiences, she decided to explore in music how life events shape one’s creativity and thus started a veritable music renaissance, which involves soul-searching musical patterns and a more profound relationship with the audience. She is the co- founder of MOJATUBA: Tuba and Dance Fusion Project, and is in her 16th year as lead tuba with Howard Johnson’s “Gravity” Tuba Jazz Ensemble.
Velvet Brown has been an invited solo artist or tuba solo artist adjudicator at the International Tuba and Euphonium Conferences since1998. She has also served as guest conductor for festivals in the United States in Maine, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania as well as abroad in Austria, Finland, Italy, Slovenia, Japan, and Canada. Prior to her tenure at Penn State, she also taught at Bowling Green State University (Ohio), Ball State University (Indiana), and served as an associate director of University Bands at Boston University.
Brown has garnered high praise as a founding and current member of Stiletto Brass Quintet, Monarch Brass Quintet and Brass Ensemble, the Quintet of Americas and the Pennsylvania Brassworks. Moreover, she is also a founding board member of the International Women’s Brass Conference. Velvet also serves as the Artistic Director of the Chromatic Brass Collective.
She has released five solo CDs, and has collaborated on several other recordings as a soloist and ensemble member, such as Stiletto Brass Quintet featuring Doc Severinsen, trumpet, on one of her original compositions, Testimony (Howard Johnson and Gravity) as lead tuba, and a solo tuba jazz recording with the Cleveland Jazz Ensemble. Many of her arrangements are published by Potenza Music. Velvet Brown is a Buffet/Crampon Performing Artist, performing on the MW 2250 and 2182 F tubas, and the MW 2000 and MW 3450 CC tubas. She is also a performing artist for Denis Wick mouthpieces, mutes, and accessories.
Ellen Rowe, jazz pianist and composer, is currently Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Rayburn Wright and Bill Dobbins. Prior to her appointment in Michigan, she served as Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Connecticut.
Ms. Rowe has performed at jazz clubs and on concert series throughout the U.S., as well as touring in Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, South Africa and Australia. CDs out under her own name include Sylvan Way, Wishing Well, Denali Pass, and Courage Music. Her latest project, Momentum – Portraits of Women In Motion, featuring Ingrid Jensen, Tia Fuller, Marion Hayden, and Allison Miller was released to widespread critical acclaim in January 2019. The “Momentum” band will be featured at the 2022 Jazz Education Network Conference. Also active as a clinician, she has given workshops and master classes at the Melbourne Conservatory, Hochshule fur Musik in Cologne, Grieg Academy in Bergen and the Royal Academy of Music in London, in addition to many appearances as a guest artist at festivals and Universities around the country.
When not leading her own trio, quartet or quintet, she is in demand as a sideman, having performed with a wide variety of jazz artists including Kenny Wheeler, Tim Ries, Tom Harrell, John Clayton, Ingrid Jensen and Steve Turre. She was also a guest on two installments of Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on National Public Radio.
Ms. Rowe’s compositions and arrangements have been performed and recorded by jazz ensembles and orchestras around the world, including the Village Vanguard Orchestra, BBC Jazz Orchestra, U.S. Navy Commodores, Berlin and NDR Radio Jazz Orchestras, London Symphony, DIVA and the Perth Jazz Orchestra. Many of these works can be heard on recordings including Leave It To DIVA, The Perth Jazz Orchestra, Bingo (The Bird of Paradise Orchestra) and I Believe In You (DIVA). She has recently been a composer-in-residence at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. A recipient of jazz ensemble commissions from the Minnesota Band Directors Association, Belleville (MI) High School, Illinois Music Educators and Lawrence University’s Fred Sturm Jazz Festival, her big band compositions are currently published by Sierra Music Publications, Doug Beach Music and Kendor Music.
Having been selected to conduct the NAfME All-Eastern and All-Northwest Jazz Ensembles as well as All-State jazz ensembles throughout the country, she has also been an invited clinician at the National Association for Music Education Eastern Division Convention, International Society for Jazz Composition and Arranging Symposium and Jazz Education Network conferences. She is on the Board of the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers and also serves as the Coordinator for the JEN Sisters In Jazz Collegiate Combo Competition. Her quintet has performed at the San Jose Jazz Festival, Jazz Education Network Conference, Michigan Jazz Festival, Detroit International Jazz Festival and in jazz clubs around the country. Other activities include serving as an adjudicator and mentor for the JEN Young Composers Showcase, adjudicating the 2019 Kimmel Center Jazz Residencies and Lincoln Center Ertegun Hall of Fame. She also serves on the faculty of the NJPAC All-Female Jazz Residency in Newark, NJ. In 2017 she was named a UCROSS Composer Fellow and awarded a residency at the Leighton Artist Colony at the Banff Centre for the Arts.
For ticketing info, head to: CJO2122SeasonMaltz
Or call: 216-368-6062