Keith Brion Biography: Sousa and orchestral pops concerts
Keith Brion has led his popular " Sousa at the Symphony" performances with nearly all of America's major and regional orchestras and in countless repeat performances. In addition he has led numerous general pops programs. He also tours nationally with his own New Sousa Band.
The authentic Sousa programs are a fulfillment of his long-standing ambition to take a fresh look at America's musical traditions. These modern recreations have proved to be as alive today as they were over a century ago. Building on Sousa’s own considerable background as a violinist and orchestral composer, they are the result of research in libraries, newspapers, museums, interviews with former Sousa band members, and the study of old recordings. Mr. Brion has given special attention to reviving Sousa's appealing and durable programming skills, and to adapting the original techniques of Sousa's Band to his modern performances. His concerts are authorized by John Philip Sousa Inc., John Sousa IV, President.
Keith Brion's "portrayal" includes Sousa's conducting mannerisms and stage appearance from the 1920's, replicas of his baton, uniform and white gloves. His investigation of the Sousa Band's period performance technique has led to numerous modern editions of Sousa's orchestral and band music.
Mr. Brion’s general pops performances are modeled on Sousa’s timeless concert formula allowing a wide variety of theme programs, including Patriotic Pops, Christmas shows, Leroy Anderson, Valentine’s etc. He is a past pops conductor of the Harrisburg Symphony and of Palo Alto’s Summer Symphony series.
He has numerous recordings. In May of 1986, he led a PBS-TV special, "The New Sousa Band on Stage at Wolf Trap." He also appeared in the PBS-TV special "If You Knew Sousa" and for the BBC Open University. He has recorded Sousa with his own New Sousa Band, The Slovak Radio Orchestra and the Rochester Philharmonic. Three volumes of Sousa's orchestral music have been recorded on the Naxos label with the Slovak Radio Orchestra as well as three recordings of Victor Herbert and one of Percy Grainger's orchestral music. He has also recorded the music of Sousa, Percy Grainger and Alan Hovhaness for Delos and Naxos. He is currently undertaking the recording of Sousa's "Complete Wind Works" for Naxos, a sixteen CD series with London's Royal Artillery Band. Ten volumes have been completed.
Mr. Brion is a former director of the Yale University Band, which he led at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. At Yale, in the spring of 1978, he conceived a re-creation of the historical sounds and sights of John Philip Sousa and his band. The concerts met with instant popular and critical acclaim, and were later taped for PBS and National Public Radio.