“One of my missions in life is making sure that my father’s music is not forgotten and is always finding new ears,” says award-winning artist Chris Brubeck, son of legendary pianist and composer Dave Brubeck and one of the many shepherds of his father’s music in an upcoming live performance and studio album release.

Presented by Lago Vista Community Concerts Foundation, The Voice of Brubeck follows the recent centennial celebration of Brubeck’s life, with a goal of showcasing the artist’s classical explorations and introducing newer generations to his timeless works.

The program, to be performed in concert on June 1, 2024 at Rice University’s Alice Pratt Brown Hall and produced and released on PARMA Recordings’ GRAMMY® Award-winning Navona Records label, will feature an underrepresented cross section of the late musical legend’s oeuvre — a diverse offering of celebrated and previously-unrecorded choral and orchestral works that Brubeck regarded as some of his finest.

Spearheaded by producer and Rice University professor of composition Arthur Gottschalk, the program will feature the GRAMMY® Award-winning Houston Chamber Choir alongside a 19-piece orchestra and the Brubeck Brothers and Paul English Quartets. The following commercial album by PARMA Recordings and Navona Records is expected to release in late 2024.

“I’m trying to emphasize something that’s never been done,” added Brubeck. “For example, my father composed a piece called Two-Part Contention for which I am writing lyrics. It’s very Bach-like and it’s never been sung before.”

Chris Brubeck

Award-winning artist, son of Dave Brubeck

While revered for his works in the world of jazz, namely his groundbreaking Take Five, Blue Rondo a la Turk, and more, Brubeck’s early years were spent studying classical music with the likes of Darius Milhaud. A defining moment in his pursuit of the genre would come after serving in General Patton’s Army during World War II.

“As he witnessed what was over there, he kept telling himself, ‘If I survive, I’m going to try to write a great deal of serious music,’” said Brubeck.

Brubeck’s choral music, to be performed by the GRAMMY® Award-winning Houston Chamber Choir, was largely a collaborative product by himself and his wife Iola, who would source text from the bible for Brubeck’s big cantatas. The resulting works, they believed, were the strongest way to convey a message that people would recognize.

GRAMMY® Award-winning Houston Chamber Choir

“That’s the wonderful thing about music — it’s bringing all of these people together,” said Tish Brubeck, daughter-in-law to Dave Brubeck. “Everybody has this common cause and has put so much love, heart, and energy into making it happen.”

“Music was their way of expressing personal feelings, hopes for society, and the world as a whole,” added Robert Simpson, Founder and Artistic Director of the Houston Chamber Choir.

Robert Simpson

Founder and Artistic Director of the Houston Chamber Choir

Simpson first had the pleasure of collaborating with Brubeck on a concert of his choral music in 2006 with the HCC, a production that marked Brubeck’s first return to Houston in over 20 years.

Simpson expressed that as names begin to fade in music history, Brubeck’s is one that will stand the test of time. In his eyes, this presentation of Brubeck’s classical music creates a historical record for future generations.

“I really admire that he was a deep thinker,” added HCC Executive Director Brian Miller. “We hope that by presenting this music, Brubeck’s other voice can be heard and that audiences can expand their understanding of Dave as a great mind, a choral artist, and someone rooted in classical music beyond his contributions to the jazz world.”

As producer of the project and longtime friend of the Brubeck family, Gottschalk notes that the upcoming Navona Records release marks the first instance of the public having access to high quality performances of these works, presenting some of the very first arrangements of Dave Brubeck’s sacred vocal works and new takes on his jazz masterpieces.

“Brubeck was a huge influence on me and everybody else in my generation,” said Gottschalk. “This music is being presented by people that are experienced and have the same love and reverence for the music of Dave Brubeck that the rest of us do.”

Arthur Gottschalk

Producer, Rice University professor of composition

For pianist Paul English, it’s Brubeck’s “absolute fearlessness” in crossing through other genres that resonates the most, this program being a perfect testament to the late artist’s success in that vein.

“Nothing was off limits as long as it was musical, entertaining, and made you smile — that’s what excites me about his music,” said English. “With this program, I think people are going to be introduced to Dave Brubeck in a way that most of them have never heard before.”

Paul English

Pianist, Paul English Quartet

While comprised solely of music by Brubeck, saxophonist and musical arranger Horace Alexander Young emphasized the program’s broad spectrum of sound. With music for choir, orchestra, jazz ensemble, and more, the program has something for anyone who will lend their ear to Brubeck’s musical voice.

“The fact that we get to pull all of these things together to celebrate the legacy of what I feel is one of the most important American-born composers of the 20th century is something I’m really excited about,” said Young.

Horace Alexander Young

Saxophonist, Musical Arranger

Gottschalk, in collaboration with the Lago Vista Community Concerts Foundation and the Brubeck family, is hosting a fundraiser in Houston on March 19 that will feature a performance of works from the Great American Songbook by the Paul English Quartet.

For more information, visit voiceofbrubeck.com