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Music Dept. to present ASU Wind Ensemble in Concert, Sept. 27


JONESBORO -- The Arkansas State University Wind Ensemble will open its 2012-2013 concert season on Thursday, Sept. 27, at Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Drive.  The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m., and admission is free.

The Wind Ensemble is conducted by Dr. Timothy Oliver, director of bands and coordinator of wind and percussion studies within the Department of Music.  Dr. Oliver will lead the musicians of the ASU Wind Ensemble in a concert titled “Bold and Borrowed” featuring works by Ron Nelson, Aaron Copland, Malcolm Arnold, Vincent Persichetti and Arturo Márquez.

The ASU Wind Ensemble is a group of woodwind, brass and percussion musicians selected from the finest instrumental students at ASU.  Students in this ensemble are from Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas and Nevada as well as from Southeast Asia.

The Wind Ensemble is different from other more traditional groups such as concert or marching bands, because in a wind ensemble usually only one or sometimes two musicians play each individual part written by the composer.  This defining characteristic makes the wind ensemble very flexible and ideal for exploring a wide variety of instrumental combinations and musical styles, according to Dr. Oliver.

The concert will begin with Ron Nelson’s classic work, “Rocky Point Holiday.”  Within this piece Nelson attempted to capture the feeling of excitement he experienced while visiting Rocky Point Amusement Park in Warrick, R.I.  Nelson composed the majority of the piece while vacationing there with his family.  Although it was composed in 1969, the choice of sounds and arrangement of melodies make the piece sound contemporary.

The second piece on the program was written by another American composer, Aaron Copland.  While many of his works are famous, “An Outdoor Overture” is an example of the evolution of Copland’s style from avant-garde to more folk song-like with open harmonies and less complex rhythms.  This overture starts boldly before featuring extended trumpet and clarinet solos.  Copland wrote this work so that it was both optimistic in tone, especially given the year it was composed, 1938, but also so that it would appeal to the adolescent youth of our nation.  

The third piece on the program is “English Dances” written by English composer Malcolm Arnold.  Originally composed in 1951, this set of four dances seems to be derived from folk songs, but each is an original melody.  The first movement depicts a soft, gentle breeze over lush, grassy fields while the second is more festive with bells.  The third is almost ominous and foreboding while the final movement is bombastic and full of energy.

The next work is also a four-movement masterpiece, Vincent Persichetti’s “Symphony No. 6  for Band.”  This American composer provided 14 works for wind bands; however, this symphony is generally regarded as his greatest work for band.  Persichetti thought about titling the work Symphony for Winds, but elected to substitute the word band because he felt that “bands” were high quality musical ensembles.  Each of the four movements is based on traditional classical music forms but with 20th century harmony and revisions.  The final chord of the symphony leads the audience to an ultimate aural cliffhanger with all 12 tones of the chromatic scale represented. 

The concert will conclude with a newer work called “Danzón No. 2” by Mexican composer Arturo Márquez.  It was written as a tribute to those in Mexico who practice and nourish this dance.  It is light, wild, slow and fast with lots of fun and frivolity leading to an exciting conclusion of the work and the concert.

The ASU Wind Ensemble will continue its 2012-2013 Concert Season on Nov. 15 when it presents a concert in conjunction with the ASU Conducting Colloquium, which will feature guest conductor Kevin Sedatole from Michigan State University.  

For more information about the concert, contact the Department of Music office at (870) 972-2094.

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