Sinfonia Gulf Coast to perform ‘Brothers in Arts’ U.S. premiere, commemorating the 70th anniversary

Special to The Log

History and music create a cultural crescendo as Sinfonia Gulf Coast presents the U.S. premiere of “Brothers in Arts: 70 Years of Liberty,” a piece created by acclaimed composers Chris Brubeck and Guillaume Saint-James to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

“Brothers in Arts,” at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Emerald Coast Convention Center on Okaloosa Island, will feature a mixed-medium entertainment experience with jazz and orchestral music performed by Sinfonia Gulf Coast, with moving and iconic images from World War II displayed on a large screen above the orchestra, prefacing each movement.

The composition was born from a chance meeting, which inspired two acquaintances to commemorate a chapter in the world’s history that was pivotal to the struggle for freedom. Their piece also reflects a deeply personal connection for the composers.

Brubeck, an American, and Saint-James, a Frenchman, met in 2012 while performing in Rennes, France. They quickly learned their fathers, both also musicians, experienced firsthand the tragic events that lead to the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

Seven decades have passed since that storied day which brought with it the epic step in a tireless journey toward peace for a battered and embattled world. Yet, today, “Brother’s in Arts” builds a bridge across time with a moving score that is now being celebrated in worldwide performances and now for the first time in America by Sinfonia.

“The performance of any new work is exciting, but the ability to premiere a composition, co-composed by two brilliant musicians is extraordinary,” said Demetrius Fuller, Sinfonia music and artistic director. “’Brothers in Arts’ is a true testament to a monumental era in history and honors those who served their countries and the many among them who paid the ultimate price with their lives. Therefore, it is a great privilege that Chris Brubeck invited Sinfonia Gulf Coast to perform the premiere in our country.”

Following the premiere performance in France in June, Brubeck said, “Our piece touched the soul of the French who lived through the occupation, and their families who had heard the stories about those difficult days. Since this is the story of two fathers, American and French, we wanted U.S. orchestras to join us in this international partnership and help us tell the story to an American audience.” He added, “Sinfonia Gulf Coast, led by their dynamic and talented conductor, Demetrius Fuller, came to my mind as the kind of innovative American orchestra that would do a splendid job of presenting the American premiere of this inspirational orchestral work.”

The piece was commissioned by France’s Orchestre Symphonique of Bretagne, with additional support from the French Ministry of Culture, the U.S. State Department, along with co-commissions by Sinfonia Gulf Coast and the Oakland East Bay Symphony in California.

Sinfonia’s performance of “Brothers in Arts” was underwritten by a grant from the Dugas Family Foundation. It is the first concert of Sinfonia’s ninth season, titled Seeing is Believing. Presenting Sponsor for the season is Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Presenting Concerts Sponsor is La Florida Real Estate. 

Tickets can be purchased as part of a season package, or individually starting at $29.50 at SinfoniaGulfCoast.org or call 850-269-7129.