Meridian Arts Ensemble, a sextet comprised of five brass players and a percussionist, is America’s leading brass group exploring the music of today. Founded in 1987, with nine commercial CD releases, over fifty premieres, and performances on four continents and in forty-nine states, Meridian’s exciting and ambitious musical ap- proach has changed the face of classical music.
Now a faculty ensemble at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, the ensemble began its career looking away from academic music and toward the American vernacular. Meridian’s arrangements of the music of Frank Zappa brought critical and popular acclaim, interviews on NPR’s Weekend Edition, and performances in concert halls and rock clubs. Commissions from Milton Babbitt, Elliott Sharp, Tania Leon, Su Lian Tan, Mark Applebaum, Hermeto Pascoal, Nick Didkovsky, David Sanford, The Common Sense Composers’ Collective, Stephen Barber, John Halle, and Kirk Nurock have created a balanced and broad ranging repertoire for brass and percussion that peers into every corner of today’s musical experience.
Meridian’s catalog of nine CD’s on the Channel Classics label represents an equally broad look at the music of today. From an album of Baroque and Renaissance music to the latest release exploring the music of Central and South America, Meridian’s discs have garnered critical acclaim and a large and passionate popular following.
Meridian Arts Ensemble has succeeded in bringing classical music to popular audiences. Consistently attracting a diverse audience base, the ensemble has worked tirelessly to keep the traditions of classical music alive, to spread the appeal of these traditions, and to revisit these traditions from a contemporary sensibility.