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ASU Wind Ensemble to open 2010-11 season with concert Sept. 28

September 21, 2010 --The Arkansas State University Wind Ensemble will open its 2010-2011 concert season on Tuesday, Sept. 28, in Fowler Center’s Riceland Hall, 201 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro.  Dr. Timothy Oliver, director of bands and coordinator of wind and percussion studies within the Department of Music, will lead the musicians of the ASU Wind Ensemble in a concert titled, “Impressions and Expressions.”  In addition, the concert will feature guest saxophone artist Dr. John Bleuel. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m., and admission is free.

The ASU Wind Ensemble
is a group of woodwind, brasswind, and percussion musicians who are among the finest instrumentalists at ASU. Students in this ensemble hail from not only Arkansas, but also Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Florida, Nevada, and New York. 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.

The concert will begin with a fanfare by one of America’s foremost composers writing for wind ensembles, David Maslanka. His fanfare, “Mother Earth,” is a fast, energetic piece based on a fairly simple but incessant 3-note musical idea. Maslanka’s inspiration for this piece comes from a stanza of St. Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of the Sun.

The next piece will feature Dr. John Bleuel. Dr. Bleuel is professor of music at the University of West Georgia and is also a Yamaha Performing Artist.  As part of his artist-in-residency, Dr. Bleuel will be performing “Diary of Changes,” a piece for alto saxophone and wind ensemble commissioned by the University of Michigan Youth Band in 1978.  At the University of West Georgia, Dr. Bleuel teaches saxophone, conducting, and ear training, and he also conducts the University of West Georgia Saxophone Ensemble. As a Fulbright Lecturer in Taiwan he served as resident guest conductor of the Taipei National University of the Arts Wind Ensemble and visiting artist/lecturer at National Chengchi University during the fall 2008 semester.  Dr. Bleuel has performed on the Bridge New Music Series at Lincoln Center; the World Saxophone Congresses; the College Music Society; the North American Saxophone Alliance; and the Festival of Women Composers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bleuel has served on the faculties of the Britt Institute's Siskiyou Saxophone Workshop in Oregon and the University of Georgia Saxophone Workshop, and has been guest professor at three music schools in China: Shanxxi Normal University (conducting), the Central Conservatory of Beijing (saxophone), and the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu (saxophone). He has contributed teacher resource guides to three volumes of GIA Publications' “Teaching Music through Performance in Band” series, has written articles for the Yamaha Educator Series and the North American Saxophone Alliance Update. 

Following this work, the group will perform “Chorale and Alleluia” written in 1954 by Howard Hanson. In addition to being a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Hanson is also known for serving as the director of the Eastman School of Music and is acknowledged for transforming the school into one of the most prestigious music schools in America during his 40-year tenure.  Hanson described the musical effects within this piece as cathedral bells with exaltation, solemnity, and dignity.

In contrast is a recent piece for wind ensemble written in 2003 by David Sampson, “Moving Parts.” This is a modern work of great complexity, which, as the names suggests, sounds mechanistic. In fact, David Sampson’s son is credited with giving the piece its title, saying that when he heard it, it reminded him of a bunch of moving parts, like a machine.

The concert will conclude with a landmark piece represent a New York City landmark, “George Washington Bridge.” At the time of its opening in 1931, the bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world, a title not broken until the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It remains an icon of New York City. Schuman’s experiences observing the bridge in various conditions became the inspiration for this piece, completed in 1950 and subtitled, “An Impression for Band.” This is a standard work of the wind ensemble repertoire that represents not only an impression but an opportunity for great artistic expression.

The ASU Wind Ensemble will continue its 2010-2011 Concert Season Thursday, Nov. 4, when they present a concert in conjunction with the ASU Conducting Colloquium.  

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

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