The young, fresh, and energetic ensemble, WindSync is thrilling audiences with their unique approach to classical music. The wind quintet specializes in creative, engaging, and interactive concerts that incorporate elements of theater to inspire audiences of all ages. With every new project, WindSync expands the woodwind quintet repertoire by commissioning new works and showcasing a wide array of classical masterworks. The ensemble is based in Houston where it has built a successful community engagement series for audiences in a variety of venues. Recipient of the 2012 Concert Artists Guild “Adventurous Artist Award,” WindSync returns as Ensemble in Residence to the 2013 Grand Teton Music Festival. The quintet makes its Twin Cities debut on Music in the Park Series.
WindSync, winner of the 2012 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition, thrills audiences nationwide with its fresh approach to classical music. Houston Public Radio’s HUHA-FM calls the ensemble “innovative…unconventional and exciting.” Playing exclusively from memory and creating dramatic musical interpretations with costumes, masks and choreography, the group brings its unique and infectious style to main-stage concerts and outreach performances with equal success.
With every new project, the Quintet expands the repertoire by commissioning new works and showcasing a wide array of original arrangements of classical masterworks. WindSync’s unique qualities were further recognized at the CAG Competition with the Sylvia Ann Hewlett Adventurous Artist Prize where members of CAG’s Performance Prize Presenter Network responded to its vibrancy by offering engagements in the 2013-14 season. This list features the Chautauqua Institution, the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University and Music For Youth (Southport, CT). Adding to the excitement of that season is the ensemble’s New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on the CAG Series.
The ensemble is based in Houston where it has built a hugely successful community engagement series and created audiences in conventional and unconventional spaces. It has performed in schools representing Da Camera of Houston and Young Audiences of Houston which jointly applaud WindSync for its “extraordinary ability to connect with students, educators, administrators and parents in a powerful and meaningful way.” Music for Autism named WindSync its 2012 Spotlight Artist following a season of outreach activities for the organization coast to coast. Master classes and lecture recitals have taken the group to Drexel University, CSU Long Beach, Stanford University and Idyllwild Arts Academy. The Academy praised WindSync as “one of the most talented groups of young musicians on the scene today.” Recent prominent outreach engagements include those with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Rockport Chamber Music Festival and a second summer in residence at the Grand Teton Music Festival. Currently being created by WindSync is a project focusing on teaching appreciation of differences through music education in schools.
In the late 18th century, there was quite a vogue for mechanical clocks that had organs built into them: a music box on the grandest scale. Often these gadgets could take up entire walls, but their most common manifestation was in the form of a large tabletop clock with a small pipe organ built in. They functioned very similarly to a hand-held music box and often played popular songs and dances, but a small number of them played pieces specially commissioned for them by composers such as Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven. Of these works for mechanical clock, Mozart’s Fantasia in F minor for Organ, K. 608 remains the most popular today. The piece opens with mechanical dotted rhythms and a small fugue in the French Overture style popularized in the 17th century. The middle section is a distant Adagio in A-flat Major that is beautifully paced, allowing the music to blossom in a spectacular triumph of the human spirit. The opening fanfare and fugal material returns almost as an interruption of the Adagio, this time with a more heightened sense of urgency, unraveling to a thrilling and exciting cadence.
Composed in 1927, Ottorino Respighi’s Trittico Botticelliano is a set of three pieces for small orchestra all inspired by paintings by notable early Rennaisance painter Sandro Botticelli (c. 1445-1510). The middle movement, L’adorazione dei Magi, is a musical depiction of the Botticelli painting in which the three Kings present their gifts to the baby Jesus (see below) and features the well-known Latin hymn “Veni, Veni Emmanuel.” In our arrangement, the movement begins with a bassoon solo, soon joined by the oboe and horn, evoking an exotic, quasi-Middle Eastern atmosphere. Respighi has a fascination with using bright, shimmering orchestral colors, and we feel that his work translates very well to the wind quintet due to the diverse color palette of our instrumentation.
American composer David Maslanka (b. 1943) is based in Missoula, Montana and is well-known for his compositions for wind instruments, both in large and small ensembles. The Quintet No. 3 for Winds was composed during a period in Maslanka’s life when Bach Chorales permeated his compositional output, and the chorale “Ihr Gestirn, irh hohlen Lüfte” (Your stars, your cavernous sky) opens the work. From there, it is deconstructed into a sharply contrasted first theme and a set of brief variations, concluding with the chorale “Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht” (Christ, you are day and light). The second movement opens with the chorale “Ermuntre dich, mein schwacher Geist” (Take courage, my weak spirit), and as the movement progresses, a long and impassioned flute soliloquy is interwoven with the chorale, finally concluding with a complete statement. The third movement, marked ‘Very Fast,’ places great demands on the players due to its large scope and very brisk tempo. Contrasting with the highly virtuosic opening, the familiar Dies Irae (day of the dead) theme appears and is then deconstructed as the movement progresses. The slower middle section wonderfully paces itself to a majestic and expansive climax, which is followed by a brief recapitulation and coda.
Premiered in 1928, Maurice Ravel’s Bolero is his most well-known orchestral work. While visiting a friend on vacation, Ravel went to the piano and played a melody with one finger remarking, “Don’t you think this theme has an insistent quality? I’m going to try and repeat it a number of times without any development, gradually increasing the orchestra as best I can.” Underneath this insistent theme and its subsequent eleven reiterations exists a constant ostinato rhythm in the snare drum and a short two-bar bass line. The idea of arranging Bolero for a woodwind quintet came to us out of a desire to create a visual spectacle that would enhance and bring a new listening experience to a ubiquitous piece from the classical music canon. As the Bolero theme travels between the eleven different instruments you will hear in this arrangement, each member of WindSync will take a turn at the snare drum, and perhaps even a saxophone or two.
Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) studied composition with both Alberto Ginastera in Buenos Aires and Nadia Boulanger in Paris. His mélange of compositional and geographical influences led to the creation of his distinctive brand of tango, known as nuevo tango. Marked by chromaticism, dissonance, elements of jazz, the genre was initially met with resistance, but was later credited with the renaissance of the tango in the 20th century. Histoire du Tango, written in 1986, was originally written for flute and guitar, but is often played by various combinations of instruments. The piece traces the evolution of the tango through the 20th century, presenting four different tangos in various eras. Presented in reverse order, the third movement Nightclub 1960 and the second movement, Cafe 1930 depict the expansion of the role of tango in society. Nightclub 1960 was described by the composer as “a time of rapidly expanding international exchange, and the tango evolves again as Brazil and Argentina come together in Buenos Aires. The bossa nova and the new tango are moving to the same beat. Audiences rush to the night clubs to listen earnestly to the new tango. This marks a revolution and a profound alteration in some of the original tango forms.” In regards to Café 1930, Piazzolla remarked: “people stopped dancing [the tango] as they did in 1900, preferring instead simply to listen to it. It became more musical, and more romantic. This tango has undergone total transformation: the movements are slower, with new and often melancholy harmonies.”
Program notes for Gallo Ciego will be delivered from the stage.
One of the hallmarks of WindSync’s artistic mission is to expand the wind quintet repertoire with our own arrangements. The Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein had been off our radar for a while as a viable piece to arrange for the ensemble. A recent listening to the original recording of the work with the composer conducting led us to have somewhat of a “duh” moment when we realized the work would be the perfect vehicle for us to capitalize on the energy and excitement we strive for as performers. A very fast four minutes, our version of the overture for wind quintet has quickly become one of our favorite works to play due the joy it brings out in us as musicians.
Program notes provided by provided by WindSync
Sunday, February 23, 2014, 4pm
Saint Anthony Park United Church of Christ
Click here for directions
Pre-concert Discussion • 3pm
Tickets – $25 – available at the door
Mozart – Fantasia in F minor for Organ, K. 608 arr. WindSync
Respighi – “L’Adorazioni del Magi” from “Trittico Botticelliano” arr. WindSync
Maslanka – Wind Quintet no. 3
Ravel – Bolero arr. WindSync
Piazzolla – Histoire du Tango (Nightclub 1960 and Café 1930) arr. WindSync
Augustin Bardi – Gallo Ciego
Bernstein – Candide Overture arr. WindSync
WindSync Woodwind Quintet
Garrett Hudson, flute
Erin Tsai, oboe
Jack Marquardt, clarinet
Tracy Jacobson, bassoon
Anni Hochhalter, horn
…revolutionary chamber musicians…The Houston Chronicle