GORHAM, Maine — When Grammy Award winning Lewiston native Andrew Pelletier returns to Maine for a Friday night concert, he’s not as eager to visit the coast or take to the woods for some solitude as one might think. Instead, he’s all about the Moxie.
“[I’m here to] share and help the current students [and] drink as much Moxie as possible,” he said.
The French horn player is returning to his alma mater Friday night for the Maine-ly British Brass concert featuring USM faculty and alumni.
This tribute to the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and the London Brass is a high-octane show with a high-caliber performer. Pelletier, who grew up in Lewiston, has amassed a slew of awards. He won a Grammy in 2005 as part of the Southwest Chamber Music ensemble, playing the music of Carlos Chavez, a Mexican composer and conductor. Pelletier was featured in the piece “Sonata for Four Horns.”
Living in Los Angeles as a freelance musician, he developed a reputation as the go-to guy for film and TV studios.
“It was by word of mouth. They find out about you and if you do well,” you are on Hollywood’s radar, said the soloist who has played on soundtracks for “The X-Men” and “Lethal Weapon 4,” among others.
This is the 40-year-old’s first concert in Maine in years. Before showtime he is working with students, giving private and master lessons.
“It’s a nice way to give back to this school that’s done so much for me,” said Pelletier.
Friday night he’ll share the stage with a dozen performers for this brass blast from the past. The show, which was postponed in February because of a snowstorm, brings together four trumpets, four trombones, one horn and a tuba.
“It’s a wonderful sound. It features brass instruments in a way that people are not used to hearing,” said Betty Rines, a trumpeter and faculty artist who calls the chamber concert “a string quartet for brass.”
Including arrangements of pieces from the Baroque and Renaissance periods, to contemporary works, “you will hear things from brass players that you didn’t know was possible,” said Rines.
Pelletier, who has recorded his own horn album and is fresh off performances at the Detroit Jazz Festival, is one of many successful students to graduate from USM, but one of few Grammy winners. He became smitten with the French horn at an early age and never looked back.
“I fell in love with the horn at first sight, it’s round and the sound is gorgeous,” he said.
Pelletier, now associate professor of horn at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, credits USM for putting him on an equal playing field among world musicians.
“The school of music there is second to none. I’m convinced that its the best music school north of Boston,” said the 1995 USM grad.
The brass concert that kicks off the school’s faculty concert series is open to all.
Maine-ly British Brass: A Tribute to the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and the London Brass kicks off the school’s faculty concert series at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at Corthell Concert Hall, USM Gorham Campus. Tickets are $15, general public; $10, seniors, USM employees and alumni; $5, students. To reserve tickets, visit http://usm.maine.edu/music/boxoffice or call the USM Music Box Office at 780-5555.