This month, the Eastman Wind Ensemble will connect its rich traditional past and exciting future with a performance at Carnegie Hall. This performance is part of the four-day 2005 College Band Directors National Association Convention.
This year, New York City will host the convention. CBDNA alternates regional and national conventions every year. This year, regional members of CBDNA will join the national level members to attend concerts and workshops at various locations throughout New York City, including Carnegie Hall, Hunter College and New York University.
Selected as one of nine collegiate groups to perform at the convention, the Eastman Wind Ensemble will be performing at Carnegie Hall on Feb. 26 at 8:30 p.m. The program will feature works by Karel Husa, David Maslanka and a Robert Sierra work transcribed for wind ensemble by Eastman Wind Ensemble conductor Mark Scatterday.
Eastman Professor Mark Kellogg will solo with the wind ensemble in the premiere of Jeff Tyzik’s “Concerto for Trombone.” Kellogg is the principal trombonist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and Tyzik – also a member of the Eastman faculty – is the RPO’s principal pops conductor.
In addition to these works, the wind ensemble will begin its performance with a tribute to its founder, the late Frederick Fennell. Fennell, who founded the Eastman Wind Ensemble in 1952, passed away on Dec. 7, 2004 and will be honored by the wind ensemble at the opening of their CBDNA performance.
Scatterday, current conductor of the wind ensemble – who recognized an arrangement of J.S. Bach’s “Komm Ssser Tod” [Come Sweet Death] by Erik Leidzen as one of Fennell’s favorite pieces for wind band – has chosen this piece to open the wind ensemble’s performance. Staying true to Fennell’s interpretation of the piece, Scatterday retrieved the Leidzen edition of this piece – complete with Fennell’s pencil-marked edits – and then produced a new version using the Sibelius music software program.
After listening to Fennell’s recording of the piece with the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra, Scatterday was also able to include precise interpretive measures of musical elements in the piece that are not conducted. The piece will be performed without a conductor, to highlight the work, contributions and memory of its founding father.
Scatterday realizes that the particular group of students performing at Carnegie Hall is distinct in many ways. Wind and percussion students at Eastman are regularly rotated into the wind ensemble during their collegiate careers, yet students who will be performing at the Carnegie Hall concert were selected from auditions that took place last October.
Scatterday mentioned that this particular ensemble of students is “the Eastman Wind Ensemble that people will recognize from the recordings,” and that the performance will “change students’ musical careers, especially when they look back on it in 20 years.”
This select ensemble treated the Eastman community to a wonderful performance last Wednesday night, proving that they have the skill, energy and musicianship required to deliver a spectacular performance at Carnegie Hall.
On Jan. 26, the wind ensemble delivered a high caliber performance of works by Strauss, Vaughan Williams, Maslanka, Mackey and Ginastera.
With such diverse repertoire, including both lyrical and fast-paced rousing works, the wind ensemble demonstrated the strengths of each of its sections. The brass players were crisply majestic in a Strauss fanfare, and the smooth melodic playing of the upper woodwinds was featured in the Vaughan Williams piece “Variations for Wind Band.” The Mackey selection, titled “Redline Tango,” demonstrated dynamic technical playing, especially in the percussion and low reed sections.
Closing the concert, Alberto Ginastera’s “Danza Final” allowed the wind ensemble an opportunity to display their complete virtuosity and strong cohesiveness as an ensemble in the driving tutti sections.
In addition to the wind ensemble’s performance at CBDNA, members of the Eastman community will be involved in lectures and events during the conference weekend. On Feb. 24, Music Education Department Chair Richard Grunow will present a lecture on instrumental music pedagogy, followed the next day by a session of lectures chaired by Professor Emeritus Donald Hunsberger, who conducted the Eastman Wind Ensemble from 1965 to 2002.
Alumni have been invited to attend an additional event on Feb. 27, and the Office of Public Relations has been busy with advanced publicity.
“[We] help shine the spotlight on the Eastman community in all of its facets,” Eastman Director of Public Relations Martial Bednar said.
With a blend of the extraordinary performance capabilities of the Eastman Wind Ensemble and strong knowledge and expertise of our faculty and staff, the Eastman Community will be well-represented at this national conference.
If you missed the Eastman Wind Ensemble last Wednesday and are interested in a preview of their Carnegie Hall performance, the wind ensemble will present a “send-off” concert of their CBDNA repertoire on Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. in the Eastman Theatre.
For those interested in attending the Feb. 26 CBDNA conference performance, tickets range from $20 to $40 and can be purchased by calling CarnegieCharge at (212) 247-7800 or by visiting their Web site http://www.carnegie.org.
Weissman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.