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The 5 Browns treat music students to rehearsal session

By Carole Mikita | Posted - Nov. 12, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY -- One family, five pianos, 50 fingers: that's the way the quintet of classical pianists broke onto the music scene and five years ago remain a collective phenomenon.

The siblings from Alpine, Utah, call themselves The 5 Browns. They're home for a concert and invited music students at the University of Utah to come to rehearsal Friday.

The 5 Browns, all Julliard and Manhattan School of Music graduates, broke down barriers in the world of classical music in 2005. Following international concerts, recordings and a book, their 2010 tour has brought them to Salt Lake City.

They held a master's class Friday, welcoming piano performance majors and their questions. The Utah siblings want to encourage students to pursue their dreams.

"When you have people tell you all the time, ‘you're not good enough' or that ‘maybe this isn't the right place for you' -- but if you really, really love it that much, and if you really want this, then you can make your own destiny," Gregory Brown said.

But the eldest Brown, Desirae, faces a huge health and career challenge. She has lost the sight in her left eye and wears sunglasses to protect the other. The chicken pox virus stayed in her body and returned, blinding her retina.

"She has been so amazingly strong and has been up on stage with us every night and playing her heart out, and it hasn't affected her music at all. She has to practice a lot harder these days," Gregory Brown said.

To music students, meeting the Browns is inspiring.

"As an aspiring pianist, I'm really impressed with the way they've been able to market themselves and develop their audiences," said Michael Stewart, piano performance major at the University of Utah.

The 5 Browns tell everyone they love making music and plan to stick together no matter what life brings.

The siblings' Salt Lake City performance takes place at Kingsbury Hall, Saturday night, Nov. 13, at 7:30 p.m.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com

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