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Department of Music to present Wind Ensemble in Concert Nov. 4

October 29, 2010 -- The Arkansas State University Wind Ensemble will present its second concert of the 2010-2011 season on Thursday, Nov. 4,  in Riceland Hall, Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro. 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 featuring the music of Vincent Persichetti, David Gillingham, and Percy Grainger.

The concert will begin with “Divertimento for Band, Op. 42” by Persichetti. The six short movements of this work portray a wide variety of instrumental sounds available in the wind ensemble and feature solo lines for combinations of instruments not often experienced in the wind ensemble repertoire. David Gillingham composed the next piece on the program, “Heroes, Lost and Fallen.” Written in 1989, this is a very powerful and emotional work. Gillingham loosely based this composition on the Vietnam War. The piece begins very mysteriously and with interspersed trumpet calls and quotes from the “Star-Spangled Banner” and the Vietnamese National Anthem.  The piece continues to build with a slow “march to war” before yielding to the inevitability of the war. The middle section of the piece is marked by intense musical conflict before resolving and concluding with slower, more restful chorale sections. However, as the piece concludes with short percussion interjections, Gillingham says the drums remind us that “the threat of war will always be present.”

The second half of the program begins with a trio of works written by master composer and arranger Percy Grainger. Grainger was an eccentric Australian-born composer and pianist who pioneered many compositional techniques of twentieth-century music. One of Percy Grainger’s most important contributions to music was his collection of recordings and transcriptions of folk songs.  He was one of the first “ethnomusicologists” to utilize the wax cylinder phonograph to capture this music performed by indigenous people. Grainger paid very close attention to the style and rhythmic variations used in these folk melodies and attempted to accurately portray these observations in his music.

The first Grainger work on the concert is “Handel in the Strand.” Grainger indicated this piece was originally supposed to be titled “Clog Dance.” However, a friend of Grainger’s suggested a different title, since he felt the piece reflected the music of composer George Fredric Handel, as well as the Strand which is a street in London known for its musical comedies. In contrast, the next work, “Walking Tune,” according to Grainger, was inspired by a “whistling accompaniment to my tramping feet while on a three days’ walk in Western Argyleshire (Scottish Highlands) in the summer of 1900.”  The arrangement features the solo oboe prominently to capture this Celtic mood. The guest conductor for these two Grainger works will be Professor Dan Peterson, director of bands at Truman State University.

Dan Peterson is in his 33rd year as director of bands at Truman State University. His duties include artistic musical director of the two wind symphony bands, concert band, chamber ensembles and principal conductor of Wind Symphony I. He teaches graduate music education classes, graduate conducting, and undergraduate marching band techniques. Mr. Peterson is the director of the 120-member “Statesmen” Marching Band. Other duties include guidance of the basketball bands, chairman of the winds and percussion committee, and coordinator of instrumental recruiting. Prior to coming to Truman, Mr. Peterson taught in Iowa public schools.

Truman Bands under his baton have performed at National MENC and National CBDNA conference 3 times, and regional CBDNA conferences 3 times. They have also performed at the Missouri Music Educators conference nine times. Nineteen of Mr. Peterson’s former graduate assistants and band students are now college directors of bands, director of athletic bands, jazz studies directors, or percussion professors across the nation. Dan Peterson was elected to the Missouri Bandmasters Association “Hall of Fame” in the summer of 2008. In addition to guest conducting the ASU Wind Ensemble, Prof. Peterson will be serving as the guest clinician for the 2010 ASU Conducting Colloquium on November 5-6, 2010.

The final work of this concert will be Grainger’s most important work for wind ensemble, and one of the most significant pieces in the entire wind ensemble repertoire, “Lincolnshire Posy.” This work is a masterful example of Grainger’s use of folk music to inspire his compositions. Each of the six movements are based on the folk songs he recorded while in Lincolnshire, England. Grainger considered this work to be a bunch of “musical wildflowers” which inspired the work’s title. He dedicated the work to all of the folksingers who sang for him, and each movement is intended to be a portrait of the singer, not necessarily of the lyrics themselves. This masterwork for wind ensemble brings this concert to an exciting conclusion.

For more information about the concert or ASU music, contact the music office at (870) 972-2094. 

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