About Us


Welcome to Bionic Brass

We formed BB as a family company in December 2014 to cater to the brass instrument needs of the South African and international communities.

Our formation was a natural extension of many decades in the professional orchestral and tertiary education arenas of South Africa and the United States.

My father, Sean Kierman, has been a central figure in the development of international quality brass musicians in South Africa, having played professionally as French Hornist himself, as well as holding the position of Head of Brass at various Universities. The most current one having been the University of Cape Town.

Myself and my brothers all play professionally in the Cape Town orchestral scene which involves the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, the University of Stellenbosch Orchestra (USSO), the UCT Symphony Orchestra (UCTSO), Camerata Tinta Barocca, The South African Film Orchestra, The KZN Philharmonic and many other ad hoc ensembles.

The name Bionic Brass was chosen because we as brass players use 'machines' as extensions of our own physical and musical selves. One could consider the brass instrument a natural mechanical extension of the musicians body, being that it is integrated with the most intimate processes of breathing, thinking, feeling and singing to name but a few.

Our aim is to provide the best quality instruments to our local instrumentalists and to the immediate international community at the best possible prices.

To begin with we have won distribution with a new and exciting horn manufacturer named BRIZ who are making extremely well crafted instruments.

They are the first specifically french horn building company in China to make a horn that is regarded as truly competitive with European and Japanese manufacturers.

There has been an explosion of accolades as their horns have appeared in shops in the US. Specifically, Ion Balu, a well known instrument and mute maker has put his name behind their flagship model, the BRIZ A2000.

Frank Pope too has put his name and stamp behind the brand.

Perhaps most important is Paxman's endorsement of Briz's manufacturing expertise.

We have in the Briz A2000, an instrument that people are claiming to prefer over their high end Yamaha’s and Rauch’s. The added benefit to the local South African market and for some of us internationally is that the price is right. These horns are selling for about half of what you’d pay for a good horn by any established name brand.

About Sean Kierman

Sean Kierman and his wife, Pamela, have been driving forces in professional music and music education in South Africa. They are active in the South African Horn Society (SAHS), as founders and currently as sponsors and members of the Board of Directors, and they, along with other members of the society, were responsible for organizing the International Horn Symposium in Cape Town in 2006. Dr. Paul Loeb van Zuilenburg refers to Sean as the father of university concert bands in South Africa.

Sean was born in Portland OR and educated in China, Pakistan, India, and the US as the son of a diplomatic family. He studied at Antioch University (OH), then did postgraduate studies at Wits University (University of Witwatersrand) while playing horn with the SABC Symphony Orchestra. He played in the Durban Symphony Orchestra, then studied politics and psychology at the University of the Free State.

Sean established the Free State Instrumental Program and the OFS Symphony Orchestra. In 1979, he started the brass studies program at the University of Port Elizabeth, and in 1987 he moved to Cape Town, where he is head of brass studies at the South African College of Music (UCT) and coordinates the course in musical acoustics at the University of Cape Town.

Sean was honored with the Punto Award at the 2006 International Horn Workshop in recognition of his leadership in South Africa. An important aspect of the symposium was sponsorship of instruments for SAHS and Navy Outreach programs and a tour for symposium attendees to visit students participating in the outreach programs.

Link to International Horn Society.

About Gene Kierman

Gene is professional horn player and teacher based in Cape Town South Africa. He teaches during the day and gigs at night.

He’s being playing horn since he was 9 years old. Some of his ports of call in the US were the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and some years at the  Interlochen Arts Academy.

He’s been playing professionally in Cape Town since 2006.

 

ABOUT OUR INSTRUMENTS

BRIZ French Horns are hand crafted by expert horn makers based in Tianjin China. Yuling Feng and her husband Tangpei have received many endorsements by major players in the Horn Manufacturing world, not the least of which is by Paxman who sell Briz horns on their site while Briz sell Paxman in Asia.

* Please see letter below by John Rogers from Paxman French Horns 

In the US, Briz horns have been heralded by Ion Balu, Ken Pope and various others in commercial and tertiary positions making comparisons between Briz horns and other major brand names. It has been said that people are selling their custom instruments in favour of the Briz horns.

For horn players across the world, BRIZ is a game changer because we are able to get our hands on quality instruments at a VERY reasonable price.

The cost of the Yamaha 667VS has doubled in the last 5 years peaking at a price of over R100 000  ( $8000 ) that is simply beyond the financial reach of most of the South African horn community, not to mention many others across the globe.

The Briz A2000 is said to be of similar quality to the 667VS if not better. Meaning this is a horn of the HIGHEST possible calibre. The horn is free blowing, clean and clear sounding, responsive, accurate, in tune, and of the highest grade in materials. The A2000 is their flagship model that is Geyer style instrument. It comes in Gold Brass as well as the more standard Yellow Brass.The Gold brass is more warm sounding, the Yellow Brass more clear and cutting. I personally have a naturally dark sound so I’ll be going with the Yellow Brass option so I can project more in the orchestral context. BRIZ also make a Nickel plated Kruspe style instrument ( 1000N ) with optional screw off bell. Similarly in the Kruspe style is the 980G which is finished in Gold Brass. All their horns have screw off bells and come with good quality compact gig bag.

Please check http://www.ringbrass.com/tag/briz/ for articles and additional opinion on the BRIZ instruments.

Here is a great video of China’s number one horn player showing off on a Briz horn. 

BRIZ法國號的性能到哪裡呢?請見全中國法國號第一首席朱昆強測試BRIZ 2000黃銅的短片Crazy Horn所展現樂器高低音域、點音、滑音以及快速音群樂器所能反映出演奏者細微變化的精準程度,無怪乎Paxman樂器可以如此信任由BRIZ代工其法國號,現在台灣售價不到英國paxman店內賣價的1/2,歡迎到師大店內練功喔!

Posted by BRIZ & Paxman French Horn / Taiwan on Thursday, August 21, 2014

 

John Rogers在华典时空开业典礼上的致辞
发布时间:2010-8-22
  A short presentation for the opening of the new shop. I would like to welcome you here to celebrate the opening of this specialist French horn shop in Tianjin. I would like to give you some background.
My name is John Rogers and I am the operations director of Paxman Musical instruments. The company is owned by me, Robert Paxman and Tim Jones. Bob Paxman is still actively involved with the company after more than 60 years and continues to be in charge of product developments at the company. Tim Jones is the principal horn player in the London Symphony orchestra and is therefore uniquely positioned to give us a valuable insight into what a player in one of the top orchestras in the world needs from his instruments.
My background is in brass instrument manufacture and marketing in the UK with companies such as Boosey and Hawkes and Besson. Paxman was established at the turn of the century by Harry Paxman, but did not start production of horns until 1945, when no more than twelve instruments a year were made. 1950 saw the arrival in England of Richard Merewether, a professional horn player whose career had started with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. As his career in this country progressed, he found himself specialising more and more in the high register of the instrument. He had been working on ideas of horn design for a number of years and had researched areas of physics which he thought to be fundamental to the successful design and manufacture of such instruments.He approached Robert Paxman with these ideas, and persuaded him to build horns incorporating his ideas.
These instruments were so successful that Merewether and Paxman continued their association and went on to develop a range of over 50 models. They became a unique duo, known to players all over the world as the figureheads of a highly skilled team. Fifty years of research and development have produced the instruments that put Paxman at the forefront of horn manufacture. Instruments that are much sought after by players world-wide.
Paxman do not take their position as one of the world's leading horn makers lightly, and are constantly making great efforts to maintain their innovative role. Players' comments and opinions are actively sought, and there is continuous research and incorporation of advantageous modifications. Special requests are always undertaken where technically possible. Each horn is carefully assembled and meticulously checked after manufacture to ensure that it meets the high standards expected of a Paxman instrument.
I first met Yuling and Tangpei in 2005, Paxman had for years had products made to fit the student and intermediate markets by European makers but the development of musical instrument manufacture in lower cost production areas and the pace of the growth in those areas made it necessary for us to find other partners to work with. Our concerns had been that some of the products being imported were likely to be detrimental to the long-term development of new and improving horn students. We were determined to find sources of high quality manufacture, and with our design input to develop instruments that were made to a high build and playing quality requirement and not down to a price. I met Yuling and Tangpei and we started to work together at that point. We provided the specification of the horns incorporating designs that had been developed over many years and they supplied the manufacturing expertise. It seemed to be a logical move that as Yuling and Tangpei had good contact with the professors at the colleges and universities as well as the professional players in your country to appoint them as our distributor of Paxman horns into your country
We hope that the new shop becomes a centre of excellence for horn players of all levels as our shop in London has become over the years. In closing I would like to inform you that I will be here for this weeknd and if you have any question please come and see me afterwards and I will be pleased to meet you. In the meantime am sure you would all like to join me in Yuling and Tangpei every success with the new shop and continued success in horn manufacture.                                           
Craftsmen at the BRIZ factory

Some of the great horn playing in China around the Olympics