KU Presents! To Bring All-Female Norwegian 10-Piece Brass Ensemble

tenThing Brass Ensemble

By Susan L. Peña

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – There are brass quintets and then there is tenThing, a brass band led by trumpet virtuoso Tine Thing Helseth. In 2007, Helseth, already an award-winning solo artist at age 20, decided to put together four trumpets, four trombones, a French horn and a tuba – played by a group of friends – and see what would happen. They will visit Kutztown University for their latest performance as part of the KU Presents! series 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, Schaeffer Auditorium.

Working with arranger/guitarist Jarle Storlokken to create arrangements specifically for tenThing (the name comes from Tine’s middle name, which also means “assembly” in Norwegian), the group quickly rose to stardom, performing at the 2011 Norwegian Grammys (Spellemannprisen). They performed at music festivals all over Europe, including twice at the BBC Proms in the UK and made their first American tour in 2017, followed by more in 2019, 2022 and this year.

Over the years, tenThing has performed repertoire that includes classical, modern and original works. Some of their “greatest hits” include a medley from “West Side Story,” a “Carmen” suite, excerpts from Kurt Weill’s “Threepenny Opera” and pieces by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. Their deep, warm brass sound and their exciting presentation have delighted audiences all over the world.

Helseth was born into a family steeped in the brass band tradition in Oslo, Norway. Her parents took her along to rehearsals from infancy and she soon began lessons on trumpet with Heidi Johanessen from the orchestra of the Norwegian National Opera Company. At 14, she studied with the renowned Arnulf Naur Nilsen from the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Norwegian Academy of Music.

Her solo career began quickly. In 2007, Helseth became the first classical artist to win Newcomer of the Year at the Spellemannprisen and was invited to play at the Nobel Prize opening concert that year. She signed with a small Norwegian label for her first two solo albums and then EMI signed her for her 2012 “Storyteller” album. In 2011, Helseth played for 300,000 people who had gathered to mourn the Norway Attacks, soon after they occurred. A year later, at the anniversary of the attacks, she played on the roof of the Oslo City Hall to open the memorial service.

Helseth has released eight albums, including “10” by tenThing in 2012, and her latest, “Seraph,” in 2022. In 2023 she became the artistic director of the Risor Chamber Music Festival, in Risor, Norway, held each June in Risor, a seaside resort on the Skaggerak.

In addition to her classical career, Helseth enjoys playing jazz at various Oslo clubs, as well as hosting TV and radio shows. She teaches trumpet at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Her husband, Sebastian Haukas, is also a trumpeter with a separate career; they also play as a duo.

Tickets for tenThing are $36; $32 for students and seniors and can be purchased at www.KutztownPresents.org or by calling the KU Presents! Box Office 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday at 610-683-4092. Established to be the center of cultural life at Kutztown University, KU Presents! serves the campus and community by bringing world-class live arts that entertain, educate and enrich.