The 5 Browns are siblings, the children of Keith and Lisa Brown, formerly of Utah. Prior to her marriage, Lisa Brown had studied voice and encouraged her children to take up the piano as a way of getting music into their lives. Rather than some children taking the study to heart and others falling by the wayside, as is the case in most typical families, all five kids -- Desirae, Deondra, Gregory, Melody, and Ryan -- took to the piano well enough that the whole brood was accepted into the Juilliard School of Music over time.
Faced with the proposition of how to inject five young talents into traditional concert careers, the 5 Browns' parents and manager Joel Diamond devised a show in which all five were able to participate and show their stuff as a group. While multiple piano acts are not common, they are not unprecedented -- take for example Louis Moreau Gottschalk's "monster concerts" of the 1860s and the new music ensemble Piano Circus. What was novel about the 5 Browns is the immediate and positive response to their programs from young people, the vast majority of whom have never seen the inside of a concert hall. Their first RCA release, simply titled The 5 Browns, was an immediate hit and was listed in second place on Billboard's classical charts overall in 2005.
Although the 5 Browns do perform 10-handed arrangements together, in the course of a live recital Desirae and Deondra also work in tandem, whereas Gregory, Melody, and Ryan take solo turns. Jaded classical critics usually turn up their noses at this sort of thing, but so far, the 5 Browns have not fared too badly with the critics. There is real musicality, and individuality, found among all five, and the fact that the 5 Browns pack concert venues with enthusiastic young kids can do nothing but good for the future of classical music.