The Hope College Great Performance Series will open its season with Burning River Brass on Tuesday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

The unusual ensemble is composed of 12 of the finest brass and percussion players in the country, having played with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, among others.

"These musicians are virtuosos," declared the "Cleveland Plain Dealer" following a performance.

While performing throughout the country, the ensemble has also completed several recordings. The group's first recording, "Of Knights and Castles," quickly established the ensemble as a strong force. "A thrilling disc with one majestic piece after another," said the "American Record Guide."

A new recording featuring Spanish music, titled "Romanza Espana," will be released in October. The Hope College concert will include music from that recording, including selections from Manuel de Falla's "The Three-Cornered Hat" and a selection from Jeronimo Gimenez. The concert will also feature works by Johann Sebastian Bach and Johannes Brahms, and more recent music by Anthony DiLorenzo.

One aspect of the ensemble that makes it unique is its size. While many brass groups perform in smaller ensembles, Burning River Brass uses its expanded instrumentation to provide a broad palette of colors not only for brass pieces, but new arrangements of classic pieces.

In addition, the combination of brass and percussion makes for a full, powerful performance. "The overall blend was remarkable, with no voice popping out of the texture... It was a most satisfying concert," reviewed WCLV Radio in Cleveland.

Tickets for the performance will be available in advance on Tuesday-Friday, Sept. 9-12, and Monday-Tuesday, Sept. 15-16, in the theatre lobby box office in the DeWitt Center. The box office will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and can be called at (616) 395- 7890. Tickets are $14 for regular admission, $12 for senior citizens, and $5 for Hope students and children under 18. Tickets will be sold at the door if available.

Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located on College Avenue at 12th Street. The DeWitt Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.Great Performance Series subscriptions are also available for all six shows in the 2003-04 season at $55 for regular admission, $45 for senior citizens, and $115 for a family membership. Additional information about the season and links to the performers' Web pages may be obtained on-line through