The Canadian Brass is a brass quintet founded by Charles Daellenbach and Gene Watts in 1970. In addition to maintaining a heavy international touring schedule, the Canadian Brass have recorded over eighty CDs and DVDs. They have commissioned, performed, and recorded hundreds of transcriptions and original works for brass quintet. Named the "world's leading brass ensemble" by ''The Washington Post'' and credited as "the men who put brass music on the map", they are best known for their ability to seamlessly cross between classical and jazz styles. This very success forms the basis for dismissing the brass quintet as a "serious" chamber music ensemble; the world's best string quartets, for example, have been able to gain an audience while playing original literature for their combination, rather than transcriptions of classical music's "greatest hits" warhorses and arrangements of pop, jazz, and Broadway material.
The Canadian Brass (known for their unique performance attire of black suits and white athletic shoes) made its American debut at Washington's Kennedy Center in 1975. They were put on the international map in 1977 when they were sent to Mainland China in a cultural exchange between Canada and China. Being the first Western musicians allowed into China after the "Cultural Revolution" had totally subverted Western art music, they are credited with the restart of China's incredible arts involvement.
In 1979 Canadian Brass again revolutionized so-called chamber music by being the first chamber ensemble to solo the main stage at Carnegie Hall. As the New York Times reported, their sold-out performance "clearly establishes the Canadian Brass as a main-stage production." While dominating the concert scene for over thirty years, the Canadian Brass has also dominated the recording scene for brass players—they have been on the Billboard charts in each decade of their existence, recording with the majors RCA, BMG, CBS, Sony, Phillips and Decca, occupying virtually all the spots open to brass players.
There is virtually no major concert hall in the world that the Canadian Brass has not played.
The current members are: Dr. Charles "Chuck" Daellenbach (tuba), Keith Dyrda (trombone), Jeff Nelsen (horn), Chris Coletti and Brandon Ridenour (trumpet) as well as the "Trumpet Dream Team" to often fill the two trumpet positions on rotating basis. Dream Team members are: Ryan Anthony, Brandon Ridenour, Jeroen Berwaerts, Manon Lafrance, Josef "Joe" Burgstaller.
Past members include: Stuart Laughton (1970-1971, 2003-2005), Josef Burgstaller (2001-present), Jeff Nelsen (2000-2004, 2007-present), Ryan Anthony (2000-2003), Fred Mills (1972-1996), Ronald Romm (1971-2000), David Ohanian (1986-1998), Martin Hackleman (1983-1986), Christopher Cooper (1998-2000), Graeme Page (1970-1983), Bernhard Scully (2004-2007), and Eugene "Gene" Watts (1970-2010).
Canadian Brass recordings are released by Toronto-based Opening Day Entertainment Group.