Sibling piano quintet coming to town

Published 11:41 am Saturday, April 3, 2010

COURTLAND—They’re good-looking, outgoing and friendly, but when this quintet of talented young classical pianists starts playing, they’re serious and can be described only as awesome!

They are The 5 Browns, all siblings, who will take center stage at the Southampton High School Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 13, as part of the Franklin-Southampton Concert Association series.

“We were so very fortunate to book them,” said Nancy Rowe, president of the Concert Association. “They’ve performed all over the world and usually don’t perform in towns as small as Courtland.”

The group – Melody, Deondra, Desirae, Gregory and Ryan – was born and raised in Utah, all attended New York’s Julliard School of Music and were, in fact, the only family of five to be accepted simultaneously.

After college, when the Browns decided to join forces, they quickly took the classical world by storm. Their first wave of attention came in 2002, when People magazine dubbed them the “Fab Five.” About the same time they were featured on “Oprah” and “60 Minutes.”

Since then they have received extensive coverage from TV shows such as “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Good Morning America,” “Today,” “The View” and the “Martha Stewart Show.”

In addition, they’ve been covered by The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Sunday London Telegraph and Entertainment Weekly, which called them “five young Mormons who all play scorching piano.”

“Thundering down on five Steinways together, they’re button-down cute and somewhat otherworldly,” the magazine continued.

They all began playing when they were about 3, Gregory said in a recent phone interview with the group.

“Initially our mom, who was the musical one in the family, just wanted to give us something constructive to do,” he said. “But we all liked it and continued our studies.”

Today, the 5 Browns are known around the world and have performed in Korea, Mexico, South America, Canada and Germany. They also performed in the Grand National Theater in China and Suntory Hall in Japan, as well as the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Symphony Hall in Chicago and Alice Tully Hall in New York.

They have released three CDs, all of which have gone to No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s Classical Album chart – in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

“Our newest one, “The 5 Browns in Hollywood,” will be released on April 6,” said Desirae. “It is a little different from our previous albums.”

It is different in that it meshes the worlds of classical music and cinema with arrangements representing a diverse collection of world famous films.

“We’re really excited about this album because we’ve always been film fanatics,” said Desirae.

Melody agreed. “The reason this album is so fun to listen to is because you’ve heard the film music so often, but now it is being performed in a totally new way.

“I mean, when have you ever heard it done on 5 different pianos?”

Although the 5 Browns tour extensively and have found time to record four albums, they are also published writers. Their book, “Life Between the Keys,” was published in 2009.

Gregory said he and his siblings have been trying to reach younger people with their music. “Classical music is not just for adults. It is for everyone – kids too.”

Tickets for the April 13 performance will be available at the door for $25 for adults and $10 for students. For information, call Rowe at 653-2498 or Beth Ellington at 562-2881.