Meeting the 5 Browns in Austin, Texas
~posted by Jules Brandon, KMFA announcer and host of Pianoforte, along with Sarah Addison, producer and creator of Pianoforte
On Wednesday the Five Browns arrived in Austin and their first stop was the Steinway Gallery on North Research Blvd. I had the pleasure of meeting them there and being part of the reception!
They played a few pieces and then answered some great questions from their young fans. About a hundred people attended the reception, including many young, aspiring pianists who wanted to know everything about the Juilliard-trained siblings: How many hours do you practice? Did you always had private coaching? How many performances have you played in total? Do you still get nervous on stage?
Deondra, Melody, Ryan and Gregory were happy to answer every single one and stuck around afterwards to sign autographs and talk one-on-one. (The fifth and oldest Brown, Desirae, is pregnant and wasn’t feeling well so she stayed behind to rest up for their performance at the Long Center the next day.)
Like Vladimir Ashkenazy and Alicia de Larrocha, The Five Browns are Steinway Artists. Each personally owns and has chosen to perform on the Steinway piano exclusively. While on tour, they travel with their own Steinways, which local tuners in each concert city keep tuned for them. As you can imagine, transporting five gorgeous Steinways can pose some challenges, especially when traveling to places like Asia, but they’ve figured out how to make it work.
It was so nice to meet such genuinely charming and talented young artists. Special thanks go out to Matthew Bird at the Steinway Gallery for hosting this reception, and for making it possible for their fans, young and old, to meet them in person. ~Jules
~posted by Sarah Addison, producer and creator of Pianoforte
Last night I had the great pleasure of seeing the Five Browns perform at the Long Center! They were super cute and nice when I met them backstage, waiting for Jules Brandon to introduce them at their performance. When they came out on stage, the first thing they played was an arrangement of Mozart’s Turkish Rondo for 5 pianos. They all looked like they were really having a good time, smiling and laughing as they were playing the piece.
The most memorable performance of the evening (for me) had to be when they played the first half of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. It was incredible! All of it was performed from memory, which is amazingly difficult, never mind performing without a conductor, too! They each came out and played a solo piece (with the exception of Deondra, who was taking it easy because she’s pregnant); my favorite was Greg’s performance of Scriabin’s Piano Sonata No. 4.
Before Melody and Desirae began to play an arrangement of the Swan from Carnival of the Animals, Melody slipped up accidentally introduced the piece by saying it was *by* Carnival of the Animals, instead of by Saint-Saens. Her sister, who was already seated at the piano, started laughing, and continued to laugh even after Melody sat down to start playing. After she took a minute to collect herself, they started playing, and it was of course beautiful.
It was great to see all the little kids at the concert getting some early exposure to classical music, and they all seemed to really be enjoying it. (The Browns each started to play the piano when they were three years old.) At the end of the concert the audience gave them a standing ovation and they came out an did an encore of Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King.
And as you can see, there was a long line at the meet and greet afterward! ~Sarah