Women’s History Month Profile: Velvet Brown

March feature! Each week I will profile a different woman or women in music who are particular heroes or inspiration for me.

This week, please welcome to the stage

MS VELVET BROWN!

Monarch-Brass-05[Velvet-Brown]

Velvet Brown is professor of tuba and euphonium at Penn State University. She also maintains an active schedule of performances, clinics, and master classes. In 2002 she appeared at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where a young yours-truly met her and followed her schedule religiously. As an icon for young women seeking professional careers as a soloist, teacher, composer, or recording artist in the brass world, she is inspirational.

In addition to collaborating with several prestigious performing groups she has recorded four of her own solo CDs and both commissioned and composed her own works.

She’s the tuba player for the Stiletto Brass Quintet, an all-female super group that’s been winning recognition around the world for their superior performances.

Check out her first album, Velvet, which has been a staple of my collection for a long time.

In the meantime, listen to Velvet Brown perform “How Beautiful” by Barbara York:

Women’s History Month Profile: Megumi Kanda

March feature! Each week I will profile a different woman or women in music who are particular heroes or inspiration for me.

This week, please welcome to the stage

MS MEGUMI KANDA!

Unknown

I wanted to be like those women, strong but elegant, and to make a path for other girl trombonists.

Tokyo native Megumi Kanda is one of the few women in the United States (or the world, for that matter!) to hold a trombone position in a major orchestra. She stole the scene at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 2002, winning the audition so resolutely the committee bypassed the trial period generally reserved for new musicians.

She began playing trombone at the age of 10 in Japan and moved to the United States to study at Cleveland Institute of Music with James DeSano. Prior to winning her MSO gig she played with the Rochester and Albany orchestras.

Most recently composer Amy Riebs Mills wrote a piece for her called “Red Dragonfly”, using thematic elements from one of Ms Kanda’s favorite Japanese songs. She premiered the work in 2013 at the International Trombone Festival in Columbus, Georgia.

She’s also performed as soloist in front of her own orchestra, and more information on that and her work so far can be found here: http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/arts/113082274.htmlmegum