The 5 Browns have changed the genre of classical music while they play it on five pianos.
The three sisters and two brothers, who all went to the Juilliard School, have topped the Billboard classical charts and brought a youthful energy to their genre, which they bring to Chandler Center for the Arts on March 2.
From Utah, The 5 Browns are separated by six and a half years. They each started learning piano at about age 3 and often would play four-handed music or duets together.
The five have performed together for 15 years. For the upcoming concert, they will bring a broad repertoire from their time together, including the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67,” George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee.”
During concerts, the siblings perform solos, duets and five-piano pieces.
Ryan Brown, the youngest of the group, said these arrangements allow listeners to learn about the musicians.
“People can get a chance to see our individual personalities and then they get to see how we mesh together as a family onstage and play these orchestral arrangements on five pianos,” he said. “I think people can see the differences in our styles and personalities in general.”
By the time they were teenagers, the Brown siblings had to make a decision about whether to pursue music as a career.
Gregory Brown, the middle child, said a music career comes with challenges, especially with traveling all the time, but he can’t imagine doing anything else.
“At the end of the day, I think about a life without music and what that would look like and what that would feel like, and I just can’t imagine my life without music in it. I think it would be far less rewarding and meaningful,” Gregory said.
The siblings have developed a rapport with each other onstage and often joke and banter. Gregory said they have a different dynamic because they know each other so well.
When the siblings know the music, they need only a day to rehearse before a tour. To learn new music, they set aside a week or two to work on the arrangements.
Gregory said they are much more organized than when they started. Over the years, the music has changed as they have grown as a group and as individuals.
“We’ve gotten better with our practicing, but just as musicians in general, I think we’ve matured a lot. I think the more life that you live, the more experiences you go through, the more joy you experience, the more pain you experience, the better you are at infusing that into the art of music making.”
Music has brought the Brown family closer through tough times, especially in the last few years. Recently, the family opened their lives to the public with a documentary, “Digging Through the Darkness: The 5 Browns Story.”
Ben Niles’ 2016 film delves into the Brown family’s history through videos of rehearsals, interviews, family archives and performance footage, sharing details of their musical journey as well as their personal lives.
In documentary, the three Brown sisters revealed that their father sexually abused them. By sharing their stories and starting a foundation for sexual abuse survivors, the sisters have impacted the lives of other women. The Chandler Center for the Arts will host a free screening of the documentary on Friday, Feb. 22.