The Classical Station’s interview with Dash Duo

Interview with Dash Duo’s Mary Elizabeth Bowden and David Dash
by Bethany Tillerson

Our guests on Preview! this week are Mary Elizabeth Bowden and David Dash, known collectively as the Dash Duo. They speak with Naomi Lambert about their upcoming concert, Trumpets and Grieg, at the Carolina Theater of Durham on May 14th at 3 p.m.

NAOMI: I’d like to welcome Mary Elizabeth Boden and David Dash to Preview today. We’re thrilled to have you on the show and let our listeners know a little bit more about you today. Could you introduce yourselves, please? 

BOWDEN: My name is Mary Elizabeth Bowden, and I am a trumpet soloist. I’m so excited to be performing with my husband, David Dash, for this upcoming concert. I also teach at Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia, and I’m also the founder of Seraph Brass, which is an all-female brass quintet that tours around the world. 

DASH: I teach at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, and I’m also the Acting Associate Principal Trumpet with the North Carolina Symphony in Raleigh. Mary and I have been performing as a duo for over ten years. We are thrilled to be premiering this piece by Tyson Davis with the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle. 

NAOMI: So could you tell me a little bit about that? I think I read that the two of you commissioned this work by Tyson, who seems to be a remarkable young man. He’s a senior at Juilliard and already has an impressive list of commissions in his history. Could you tell us how that came about? 

DASH: Tyson was a high school student at the University of North Carolina’s School of the Arts. I came to know of him just as he was leaving to go to Juilliard. And then I heard the work that he had written for the National Youth Orchestra called Delicate Tension. And his work was just incredible bombastic piece. Later, he had written another piece for Solo Trumpet that I was very impressed by. I reached out to Tyson to see if he would be interested in writing for our duo as soloists with a string orchestra. Later, I approached the Chamber Orchestra, the Triangle, Niccolo Muti, who is the music director, and asked them if they would be willing to premiere with us. So that’s how this all came about. 

NAOMI: How long have you had the score? How’s it going? 

DASH: We’ve had the score for a number of months already. The piece is really beautiful. This piece was inspired by a Whistler painting entitled Nocturne in Black and Red. This is a very dark and mysterious sort of painting, so the mood of the first part of the piece is also very murky and dark, and then the second half of the piece is very bright and energetic and rhythmic. I think it has a nice balance. 

NAOMI: Have you enjoyed learning the piece together? 

BOWDEN: I think it’s going to be really interesting because the way that Tyson has asked us to be staged is to be on either side of the conductor. 

DASH: It’s antiphonal, a very dorky way of saying it. It means that the sounds are echoing between the two trumpet soloists on either side of the stage and within the orchestra as well. 

BOWDEN: We’re often finishing each other’s phrases in the antiphonal way. I will also be picking up the piccolo trumpet and playing some very high notes as well, just to add more colors to the sound. 

NAOMI: We’ll be very fortunate to hear that. Thank you so much for speaking with us today. We’ll be airing this so that our audience can learn more about the piece. We’re excited to hear it in person. Thank you both.

Join us for Dash Duo’s interview at 7 PM on Sunday, May 7th! Download our app, stream online on, or turn your radio to 89.7 FM.