“Their infectious enthusiasm for performing and impeccable playing should be heard around the world. Metales M5 models their shows on the successful formula of high entertainment coupled with extraordinary virtuosity. They created their own sound and identity… ”
Trumpet soloist, formerly member of the Canadian Brass
“M5 is the best thing to come out of Mexico since tequila! Their sense of style, showmanship, and virtuosity is a rare treat not to be missed.”
Horn Professor at Kansas City Conservatory of Music, former Principal Horn National Symphony Orchestra, Canadian Brass, Empire Brass
“This group of five very fine musicians have established themselves as the finest active Brass Ensemble in all of Mexico.”
FRED MILLS, Former member of the Canadian Brass
“…It’s hard to find a group of musicians with such musical bravura and refined technical ability, all bundled into one ensemble… Not only does METALES M5 produce a unique sound, but manage every time to engage audiences in programs displaying a sense of adventure…in my opinion, one of the best ensembles around today!”
JAVIER ALVAREZ FUENTES, Grammy- nominated composer
“Mexican Brass’ show is elegant, refined and very well interpreted. The sound, emotion and love of music that these 5 artists transmit, make Mexican Brass indispensable on the international stage.”
ROMAIN LELEU, international trumpet soloist, France
“M5 has been a consistent hit with our cultured and discerning audiences. A delightful blend of fine music, wry humor, great staging and a winning rapport with the audience makes M5 one of the hottest brass groups I have ever heard.”
New York recording artist and composer, Board Member of ProMusica SMA
“I found M5´s mix of quality music and innovative performance to be unique and engaging.” SANDRA LARONDE, Director Aboriginal Arts, THE BANFF CENTER, Canada
“Excellent and virtuosic – a Gran Fiesta de Música!”
ALEXANDR PASHKOV, Internationally acclaimed concert pianist“
Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra (China 2015):” An incredible success!”
Northeastern Illinois University (2017): “Their solid entrances, well-blended tones and virtuoso techniques all were furthered by their lovable personalities.”
Northshore Performing Arts Center Foundation, Bothell WA: “They were fantastic, what a talented group they are!”
KENNEDY-CENTER for PERFORMING ARTS, Washington D.C.:
McIntyre Hall Performing Arts and Conference Center, Mt. Vernon WA: “The concert and workshop were absolutely amazing! Our Mount Vernon High School students really connected with the musicians – they were SO impressed with the musicianship, program selections and the work done in the workshop.”
Tehama Concert Series, Red Bluff, CA: “Incredible – thank you – just wonderful! Great music & performers. One of our best ever!”
Music in the Morning, Vancouver BC: “It doesn’t get much better than this amazing group of guys.”
Meadowlark Music Festival, Nebraska: “They came and conquered Nebraska! I have never before seen a group so well received and with such joy as M5. This superb group was an absolute Grade A hit everywhere they appeared.”
New Mexico State University, Las Cruces: “They were amazing, easy to work with, and the audience loved them. A truly superb event!!! ”
Seacoast Entertainment, Florence, OR: “METALES M5’s theatrical show is a blend of great music, outstanding musicianship, profound interpretation, effortless virtuosity, humor, and a winning rapport with the audience. Whether playing Bach, Bernstein, Humperdinck or Piazzolla, Mexico’s leading Brass Quintet gets the audience up on its feet. “
The Sarah McLachlan School of Music, Vancouver, BC: “What an incredible event! We were all amazed, thank you so much for providing such a wonderful and inspirational experience to our school.
Dillon MT: Outstanding musicians and a wonderful stage presence
Carpenter Center at CSU Long Beach CA: WONDERFUL! The audience had a terrific time – standing ovation and lots of compliments! The high school workshops were brilliant – the students were riveted.
Flickinger Center, Alamogordo NM: They were great to work with and put on a tremendous show. The audience gave them four standing ovation encores and requests to “bring them back”.
Sandwich Opera House, Sandwich IL: “They have outstanding musicianship and are loads of fun. The high school students were spellbound. We love them to pieces.”
TERRIFIC BRASS at LAS CONDES – Stunning MEXICAN BRASS
“…extraordinary musical quality, which is simply astonishing. We have only heard such perfection in a wind ensemble just a few times. They really amaze because of the beauty of the sound, but also the exceptional speed and perfection…”
GILBERTO PONCE, VISIONESCRITICAS.CL, Santiago de Chile (2015)
Northeastern Illinois University (2017): ” With every set, the Mexican Brass Quintet amazed both in- and out- of music. Their solid entrances, well-blended tones and virtuoso techniques all were furthered by their lovable personalities. It was simply amazing seeing how little the members needed to speak to impress. They shined through their playfulness and recital…showed their musical weight in brass and flourished in every quality with their adoring brotherhood of performers.
“…brilliant, charming, extraordinary, funny, joyous, magical, spectacular, unique, wacky and wonderful…”
ATENCION SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, 2013
MERIDA INTERNATIONAL BRASS FESTIVAL 2014
“The iconic Jose Peon Contreras Theater presented the singular Metales M5 who did just what they do best: share their talents with the music of Bach, Humperdinck, John Williams, Astor Piazzolla and Leonard Bernstein. This was the beginning of a wonderful winter night. With M5 and Jens Lindemann sharing the stage, there was widespread evidence that magic also has a sound and could only be created and interpreted from deep knowledge of brass, these impetuous instruments, provocateurs of movement and action. A pleasant, very inspiring and enthusiastic experience.”
ENTRETANTO MAGAZINE, MERIDA 2015
“Combining high quality music with fun entertainment, Metales M5 Mexican Brass, maintained the enthusiasm of their audience at the Festival Cultural Sinaloa 2012. The five extraordinary musicians filled the large hall with their magnificent interpretations and showmanship, converting the event into a fiesta of talent and joy -with closed eyes they sound like a complete philharmonic orchestra.”
FESTIVAL CULTURAL SINALOA 2012
“What do you get when you mix the shenanigans of the Blues Brothers with the musical seriousness of the Canadian Brass? Metales M5! Mexico’s leading brass quintet, which opened this summer’s Meadowlark Music Festival, rarely takes itself seriously. They performed with real polish and panache – these five musicians are genuine virtuosos.”
JOHN PITCHER, OMAHA WORLD-HERALD 2008
“…the musicians have fun themselves on stage and do uncommon things, being contagious with their joy and happiness…in this concert, music was treated with all honors and dignity that it deserves. M5´s special ingredients are: changing costumes, illumination for a special touch on stage and certain elements like candles, in order to add design to the piece they are used for. The most interesting thing about METALES M5 is, that their spontaneity and entertaining attitude is always justified by interpretations that make us easily appreciate the high virtuosic level and musical sensitivity of its members. If one has such an outstanding ability on his instrument, if music is treated with such dignity, it’s possible to fill the stage with all kind of happenings, what could we say? Let’s applaud until hands are sore!”
HERALDO AGUASCALIENTES (2010)
“M5 brought laughter and smiles from the audience, listening to a brass quintet with such a wide range of sounds that it sounded like a complete orchestra, magically executed by each of the five members of the group. The musicians entered as medieval characters with enormous wigs, bantering with each other before playing. Each of the ensuing musical pieces required a specific costume, and the venue seemed to change with the varied lighting and clothing changes. Another exciting moment came when the ensemble divided up and began playing Michal Kamen’s “brass quintet” in the audience itself. M5 again showed the enormous possibilities of their sound variety in a tango by Astor Piazolla, giving this tango its appropriate colors, passion and depth.” LA JORNADA, AGUASCALIENTES (2010)
“Last night METALES M5, the resident brass quintet of the Conservatorio de las Rosas, but with clear international projection, presented a concert of unusual music from the XX and XXI century: All the pieces were originally composed for brass quintet, some of them exclusively for M5. Punctual and spectacular, the five men opened the extraordinary concert, standing and without music stands with Escape (2006) by Kevin McKee. As usual, applause started and continued to the end of the concert. The program continued with the spirit of M5´s typical audience interaction. They always have fun playing good music, charming, sparkling and educational. At the end they performed The Casbah of Tetuán (1993), a Moroccan tone poem by Kerry Turner. Brilliant, energetic and played with first quality, the concert was satisfying and full of dignity.”
CAMBIO DE MICHOACÁN ( 2009 )
MEXICAN BRASS QUINTET AND SYMPHONY: A JOYOUS COMBINATION “The Metales M5 brass quintet from Mexico and the Pueblo Symphony provided a joyous concert Saturday night…joyous- somewhere between inspiration, jollity and fanfare. Happily, the five brass players in Metales M5 fill the bill with a modicum of charm and some raucous humor as well. There were two encores and two standing ovations. Metales M5 was a big hit here in Pueblo.”
PIERRE KENYON, THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN, CO (2008)
“We could not believe the magnitude and beauty of the sound….it was infinite ecstasy that the group generated, especially the brilliance of the piccolo trumpets. With wisdom and freshness Alexander Freund led us through two hours of music history, expressed on the brass… It was notable how much they enjoyed themselves and the interest they showed in communicating with the public. They told stories, delighted with excellent interpretations, danced and had so much fun…“
CAMBIO DE MICHOACÁN 2008
M5 MEXICAN BRASS
Interview by Park Gordon, Craterian Performances Medford, OR (2015)
The dazzling uniqueness of a METALES M5 concert leaves critics scrambling for comparisons. Says one: “ It’s vaudeville and classical music enrolled into one.” Says another: “They combine the musical virtuosity of the Canadian Brass with the shenanigans of the Blues Brothers.” At least the critics can all agree on one thing: the group’s extraordinary combination of musicianship and showmanship sets them apart from other brass ensembles. METALES M5 are bravura entertainers as well as superlative, classically trained musicians, and are roundly praised for their charm, humor, and rapport with the audience. Besides their sumptuous music, the group offers innovative staging, multiple costume changes, playful history lessons, storytelling, and dance. “We are all about surprise,” says the group’s leader, Alexander Freund. “We like to shake things up, to do the unexpected. Classical music doesn’t have to be deadly serious. It can be fun. We figure if we have fun, the audience will too.”
Classical music, though, is actually only one of many musical styles that METALES M5 samples. Indeed, their joyfully eclectic repertoire, which encompasses opera, folk, jazz, blues, show music, and pop tunes, is another thing that sets them apart from conventional brass contingents. They even play Mariachi Music in anode to their cultural heritage.
On the subject of “cultural heritage”, anyone paying attention will have discerned that “Alexander Freund” is not a Mexican name. That’s because Freund is not Mexican but German, hailing from Weimar, a region rich in music of a classical, brassy bent. His parents were both professional musicians and encouraged him to follow suit. He picked up the trumpet at age 12 and knew he had found his ticket to musical fulfillment. The trumpet proved to be a “ticket” in another sense as Freund, an avid traveler, parlayed his musical prowess into extended excursions to India, Korea, and Brazil, where he played with various symphony orchestras and classical ensembles. His yen for adventure ultimately took him to Mexico, where he became the principal trumpet player for the Morelia Symphony Orchestra.
It was there that he met the four other musicians, all native Mexicans, who would join him to form METALES M5: Oscar Villegas Miranda (trumpet), Jose Lopez (tuba), Juan Carlos Quiterio (French horn) and Roberto Carlos Cruz (trombone). “It was amazing how well we hit it off,” Freund told interviewer Park Gordon. “Of course we clicked musically. That was a must. But we also became friends really fast – and that’s so important if you’re going to spend hundreds of hours together rehearsing, traveling, and performing.” Clearly, METALES M5 are a tight ensemble, in more ways than one.
Stunning MEXICAN BRASS
One of the most amazing ensembles we have encountered this year performed at the Teatro Municipal de Las Condes, presenting a brief run of 6 concerts; we’re speaking of M5 Mexican Brass, a brass quintet, whose members are Alexander Freund and Oscar Villegas Miranda, on trumpet; Juan Carlos Quiterio Miguel, French horn; Roberto Carlos Cruz, trombone and José López Juárez, tuba, directed by Alexander Freund.
We say this mostly because of their extraordinary musical quality, which is simply astonishing. We have only heard such perfection in a wind ensemble just a few times. The horn, tuba and trombone really amaze because of the beauty of the sound, but also the exceptional speed and perfection playing sixteenth notes. Saying this, we don’t intend to undermine the great quality of the two trumpet players (one being the director). Their background is regular work with Mexican Symphony Orchestras, where they read scores. But they play completely by memory in their program From Baroque to Bernstein, including Mexican Folksongs.
Their staging is designed with great efficiency, affection, and humor. They use precise lighting design, which enhances the audience’s pleasure from the very start with the overture Vuelta de Fuego by Kevin McKee, where they appear in silhouette, simulating an illuminated sculpture. They played the Hornpipe, from Handel’s Watermusic in the aisles out among the audience, working baroque bows to the audience into their exquisite interpretation. Already delighted with Handel, the third movement of Bach’s Third Brandenburg Concerto left the audience stunned by the precision, phrasing and articulation, knowing the original was written for strings.
The complex overture to La Boda de Luis Alonso by Gerónimo Jiménez, festive, with a Spanish touch, contrasted with the expressivity and subtle beauty of the Evening Prayer from the opera Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck. Latin charm returned with a powerful version of Libertango by Piazzolla.
The second half brought us more popular tunes, mixed with music of Leonard Bernstein, concluding with brilliant traditional Mexican pieces, which made the audience rave. We cannot leave unmentioned the only piece of the night they played from sheet music: a beautiful arrangement of Si vas para Chile by Chito Faró.
This visit, which will be remembered for a long time, is without doubt one of the best surprises of this musical year in Santiago.
Gilberto Ponce: VisionesCriticas.CL – December 8, 2015