Imani Winds (USA)
Imani Winds (USA): A Woman’s Perspective
When flutist Valerie Coleman founded Imani Winds in 1997, her goals seemed, in some ways, revolutionary. Coleman hoped not only to expand the catalog of works for wind quintet and incorporate elements beyond traditional European classical tropes but also to change the look of the quintet itself, recruiting at least some musicians who were not white. In their two decades of exquisite playing, Imani Winds has done all of that and much more, commissioning works that meld jazz and Latin American influences and even recording a triumphant full-length ode to Josephine Baker. Although the demographics of the classical world have slowly started to shift, Imani Winds continues to demonstrate that a diversity of members and backgrounds is a definitive route to a world-class ensemble. It’s prescient that Crawford named Imani Winds for the Swahili word for “faith”—that’s what it took to spark this pathbreaking group.
Imani’s membership has evolved over time, but the mission of world-class musicians pushing the boundaries of repertoire remain fast. They have focused especially on commissioning the work of underrepresented composers (particularly women) in recent years, an aim captured in part by their new program, A Woman’s Perspective. Coleman—now one of the world’s most lauded composers—offers new work, as do emerging American violinist Ledah Finck and brilliant Indian-American composer Reena Esmail. They will also play a work by pioneering composer Ruth Crawford Seeger, a matriarch of modern musical exploration in the United States and a fitting testament to the spirit of Imani Winds.
“Dazzling ensemble playing and easy engagement.” —The Washington Post
Valerie Coleman: Afro Blue
Reena Esmail: The Light is the Same*
Elliot Carter: Quintet for Winds, dedicated to Nadia Boulanger
Ledah Finck: Fractured Fossil
Ruth Crawford Seeger: Suite for Wind Quintet
Valerie Coleman: Tzigane
*Commissioned by The Lied Center of Kansas