Fortress Brass Returns to St. Petersburg

Well, here we are! Another year, another Fortress Brass tour! After a year off, we’ve come back to St. Petersburg, Russia as part of the Brass Autumn Music Festival.

  • First day in St. Petersburg, Russia. I am very tired from traveling, but had a good rehearsal with the orchestra.

It’s always so much fun to go on adventures, especially with this group. But, as enjoyable as a tour is, I always feel the hardest part is the initial journey to your destination. We flew for 24 hours, had two¬†connections, and had to eat airline food for multiple meals. And the hardest part is that after all of this, we had to get off the plane and go directly into a rehearsal with an orchestra. My piece, the Concerto in E-flat by Christoph Forster, is hard enough when you’re well rested, but after a long travel day…oy!

That’s when you have to rely on your preparation and trust your training!

This particular concert involved each of the five of us playing solos with the orchestra and then playing several brass quintets for a packed hall. Having been over here before, we learned that with as much as the Russian audiences appreciate good classical tunes, they really are into jazz music, especially Dixieland, which happens to be a staple of our repertoire. They clapped along with several of our tunes and demanded encores! It was so invigorating to feel such appreciation for what we do! Afterwards, we signed a lot of autographs, took lots of pictures, and visited for a long time. Music really is transcendent!

More on some of our other experiences soon! Stay tuned!

~ John McGuire
Assistant Professor of Horn


4 thoughts on “Fortress Brass Returns to St. Petersburg”

  1. Anni says:

    Congratulations , it was an honor to hear at the festival, thanks for your effort , passion and music .

    1. John McGuire says:

      How nice to hear from you, and thank you for remembering us at the festival. It was our pleasure to be invited back and to play there again. Thank you for reading the blog!

  2. Eric Johnson says:

    Sounds amazing! I’ve never been to St. Petersburg, but it looks like a beautiful city. How were you received by the Russians? I know they appreciate the music, just wondering about anti-American sentiment. Thanks!

    1. John McGuire says:

      Saint Petersburg is a beautiful city! It may be my favorite city anywhere! The Russian audiences are genuinely some of the warmest and most appreciative in the entire world. I’ve never played a performance there and not had rousing receptions. And they want to hang around after the concerts to meet and talk with you. They really make you feel loved! And in all the times I’ve been there, I’ve honestly never once experienced any anti-American sentiment. In fact, the exact opposite is true, whether it’s the audiences, Russian musicians, or Russian music teachers and students. They have always been so kind and eager to hear our playing, our styles, and our teaching approaches. It’s unfortunate that politics seemingly gives us such an inaccurate picture of what others in the world must think of us, but I assure you that the Russian people and audiences are a very special group. I encourage everyone to see for themselves, if you ever can have the chance! Thanks, John McGuire

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