Close your eyes: A Mozart piano sonata is being performed live some feet in front of you on stage. Impeccably, the music swells and soars in one measure and whispers in the next.
Now, open your eyes to a disarming sight: There are no strings, no woodwinds, no piano. Just 10 Scandinavian women with four trumpets, a french horn, four trombones and a tuba, creatively interpreting the music of an entire orchestra.
This is tenThing.
On any thoughtful list of the world’s greatest trumpet players, you’ll find the old standards: Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis. One could argue for the addition of Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, Wynton Marsalis and Arturo Sandoval.
But one thing you may have never seen among the top five, 10 or 30 ranked “greatest trumpet players in the world” is a woman. There are also very few Norwegians on the list. Oslo native Tine Thing Helseth, 31, is changing all that.
Helseth debuted her classical music talents as a trumpet soloist in 2013, in a performance with the BBC Scottish Symphony. Since, she has traveled the world many times over, playing in chamber orchestras from Philadelphia to Warsaw, Poland, philharmonics from Helsinki to Hong Kong, and symphonies from Baltimore to Singapore. Her brass ensemble of talented friends, tenThing, broke out after a BBC performance in London around the same time, and by spring of 2017, the group with Helseth at the helm had embarked on their first American tour.
This spring, tenThing tours North America, the U.K. and Germany. At 11 a.m. April 11 and 12 at Trinity United Methodist Church, the Savannah Music Festival will host their glimmering, brassy-in-a-good-way, mixed-genre program, which includes performances of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Rondo alla Turca” Sonata No. 11, as well as a season of Antonio Vivaldi’s, an opus by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, a suite from Georges Bizet “Carmen” and a “West Side Story” medley.
Savannah’s audience can also look forward to classical favorites perhaps lesser known in the American South, such as “Kjempeviseslotten” (“Ballad of Revolt”) from Norwegian neoclassical composer Harald Sigurd Johan Sæverud’s “Slåtter og Stev fra Siljustøl.” No need to be intimidated by the song titles — here, an appreciation for exceptional instrumental music is the only language requirement.