Heavenly Music for Harp and Winds (five winds and harp; optional baritone voice). Your audience will be in heaven with the celestial sounds of the harp in music by Ravel and the Romantics, plus the virtuoso display of Handel’s harp concerto. An option for this program is the addition of baritone voice for the delightful Songs of Sundry Natures by the late English composer, Phyllis Tate.
Christmas Winds (five winds and harp; optional voices). A great alternative to the Nutcracker for holiday programming, this concert features inspiring Christmas music by Berlioz, Jolivet, and American composer Roland Leich, plus the Winds’ own exquisite carol arrangements featuring the harp. Hannukah music may be included upon request, with the title Holidays With Harp.
The Marriage Dialogues, with poetry by Samuel Hazo (three winds and two readers). A volume of poetry about marriage relations, alternating in mood between gentle, combative, serious, humorous, reflective, bawdy, and downright hilarious. The readings are woven together with 28 musical interludes by Winds composer R. James Whipple. After a short instrumental first half, the poetry piece runs about an hour without pause.
Façade, with poetry by Edith Sitwell (seven players and two readers) This classic of the twentieth century features the reading of Edith Sitwell’s strongly rhythmic poetry over a striking score by British composer William Walton, with a very unusual ensemble of flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, cello, and percussion. Sitwell’s great-nephew, a writer himself, has called the work “early white rap.” Façade sounds every bit as fresh, unusual, and entertaining today as it did in 1923! This program also has a short instrumental first half; Façade is the second half and runs about fifty minutes. PLEASE NOTE: an amplification system must be available for the poetry readers.
Women of Note(s) I and II (five winds and piano) Recent interest in women composers has unearthed a treasure chest of musical riches. These programs for winds and piano include Romantic gems by Cecile Chaminade, Louise Farrenc, and Amy Marcy Cheney Beach; authentic 1900-era ragtime; and 20th-century American pieces. Two completely different programs are available.
From Sea to Shining Sea (piano and five winds) The sweep of America’s spaces is made vivid in this program featuring the piano sextet of Roy Harris, a quintet on Native American themes by Cherokee-Quapaw Louis Ballard, the Piano Concerto of Wallingford Riegger, folk tunes from all the Americas by William Grant Still, and the Winds’ setting of America the Beautiful. “Interesting program… a rewarding lineup.” [PITTSBURGH PRESS]
Mix and Match (four winds and piano) Venezuelan pianist Rodrigo Ojeda joins the Winds in an eclectic mix of French classics and fresh American voices. The kaleidoscope of instrumental combinations varies from trios and a quartet to solo winds with piano, including a rare work of Roy Harris and one of the Winds’ most enduring commissions, Robert Washburn’s French Suite.
Music of Black Composers (quintet and piano) A treasure chest of wonderful music has been waiting its turn to be heard. Both solo piano and chamber music has flowed from the pens of prominent figures such as William Grant Still as well as still-unknown names.
Pianistic Pleasures (five winds and piano) A “sampler” program featuring classic piano quintets and sextets by Mozart, Poulenc, and Roussel.
Pipes, Reeds, and Horns (four woodwinds, trumpet and organ) Joyful Baroque music of Handel and Hertel plus a unique wedding march by the Winds’ resident composer. This concert MUST BE IN A CHURCH OR CONCERT HALL WITH A PIPE ORGAN. “Colorful… the selected program alternated between the turn of this century and the rich sonorities of the 18th, with very pleasing results.” [JAMESTOWN POST-JOURNAL]
(Eugene Perry, Demareus Cooper, Douglas Ahlstedt)
A Night at the Opera (quintet and baritone) Eugene Perry, with a busy international career on both sides of the Atlantic, sings popular operatic arias with chamber music accompaniment, plus a memorable song cycle by California composer Brian Holmes. A highlight of this program is a set of three songs by the pioneering African-American composer, Herbert Franklin Mells.
Whistle Stop (quintet, baritone, and harp) Eugene Perry sings major contemporary works by Phyllis Tate and William Winstead, rounded out with a Rossini overture and a Mozart aria. In good fun, the evening ends with some traditional railroad songs arranged by R. James Whipple.
Glorious Song (quintet and soprano) Demareus Cooper sings an operatic excerpt from Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutti, Romantic art songs by turn-of-the-century composer Harry T. Burleigh, the Winds’ own arrangements of traditional spirituals and hope songs, and modern classics by Pittsburgh songwriter Linda Marcus.
Tenor Expressions (wind quartet and tenor) Noted tenor Douglas Ahlstedt joins the ensemble for the Blake songs of Vaughan Williams and a wonderfully melodic commissioned work, Maroon Dreams, by Efraín Amaya. Instrumental music by Reicha and Graun complements the vocal works.
Americana (quintet and hammer dulcimer) A unique collaboration – hammer dulcimer with wind quintet! Bill Troxler of Chincoteague Island, Virginia, joins the ensemble for suites of Irish and American folk music. The Winds add to the festivity with American “classics” influenced by vernacular styles including the blues and ragtime.
WITH GUITAR (James Ferla)
Quiet Elegance (flute, oboe, bassoon, and classical guitar) The beauty and grace of the guitar brings 400 years of chamber music to life, from a Renaissance Romanesca and a Baroque sonata to a mellow contemporary work by Winds composer R. James Whipple that reflects on memories of 60s pop music.