Echoes of the Past: Ignis Graduate Fellowship Woodwind Quintet

Echoes of the Past

Ignis Graduate Fellowship Woodwind Quintet
Sunday, December 5, 2021 . 2PM EST
Photo by Patrick Lill
Principal People: 

Danielle Kim, flute
Nathaniel Wolff, oboe
Christian Whitacre, bassoon
Zachary Miller, horn
Kyle Glasgow, clarinet

Special Announcement: 

Please note: The livestream for this event will be available to view only during the performance. The video will not be available to view after the concert.

Event Attributes

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Accessibility: 

For more information regarding accessible accommodations, please click here.

Attend in person at Tawes Hall or watch the livestream from the comfort of your home.

Out with the old, in with the new? Why not both? Experience Ignis perform a varied and musically diverse program featuring Maslanka's introspective Wind Quintet No. 3, the contemporary grooves of Valerie Coleman's Afro-Cuban Concerto and a riveting transcription of the Ravel String Quartet in F Major.

Concessions:
The Clarice lobby concession bar Encore will not be open for food and beverage sales during this event.

Health & Safety for In-Person Attendance:
There may be COVID-19 safety policies in place, such as mask requirements. While this event takes place at Tawes Hall, The Clarice's health and safety guidelines still apply. Please see the health and safety page for the most up-to-date information about attendance for this event.

PROGRAM MENU: PROGRAM · PROGRAM NOTES · ABOUT THE ARTISTS

PROGRAM

 
Quintet for Winds No. 3
David Maslanka (1943–2017)
  1. Slow, Moderate
  2. Moderate
  3. Very Fast
INTERMISSION
 
String Quartet in F Major
Maurice Ravel (1875–1937)
Transcribed by Mark A. Popkins
 
II. Assez-vif - très rythmé
 
Afro-Cuban Concerto
Valerie Coleman (b. 1970)
  1. Afro
  2. Vocalise
  3. Danza

PROGRAM NOTES
 

Quintet for Winds No. 3
David Maslanka (1943–2017)
 
Known for his output of wind repertoire in the community, Maslanka is well known for his works for wind instruments. Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Maslanka studied at Oberlin under Joseph Wood and at Michigan State University under H. Owen Reed. After graduating, Maslanka devoted himself purely to education, teaching at schools like Sarah Lawrence College and New York University. After teaching for 20 years, Maslanka then devoted himself to composing full time. Maslanka has written more than 150 works: 50 of which are for wind ensemble, eight symphonies, 17 concertos, four wind quintets, five saxophone quartets and many more concert pieces for solo instruments and piano. After solidifying his career as a composer, Maslanka served on the faculty of several schools including State University of New York at Geneseo, Kinsborough Community College of the City of New York, as well as his previous institutions Sarah Lawrence College and New York University. Maslanka continued being a freelance composer in 1990 until his death in 2017. Maslanka’s Quintet for Winds No. 3 was commissioned by the Missouri Quintet with a grant from the University of Missouri Research Board.
 
Maslanka’s Quintet for Winds No. 3 is well known in the repertoire for its soaring melodies and driving rhythms. Heavily inspired by Bach chorales, Maslanka has included many throughout the work to either start or end movements. The first movement starts with the chorale “Your Stars, Your Cavernous Sky.” It continues into two original themes; one is a simple yet beautiful oboe solo that works itself into a faster tempo with variations emerging from both of the original themes. This movement is exciting due to its sixteenth note runs that pass throughout the instruments, and its percussive accents onto the driving tempo. The movement ends with another chorale, “Christ, you are Day and Light.”
 
The second movement also starts with a chorale, “Take Courage, my Weak Spirit.” Much slower, this movement features a lengthy flute solo that is always answered with chords by the rest of the ensemble. A very intimate movement due to its separation of flute solo and ensemble, the movement ends with another statement of the chorale.
 
The third movement is the most demanding yet exciting movement of the piece. The only movement not started with a chorale, it starts with an exciting rhythmic theme that changes as the piece moves on. Featuring fast runs that are either passed around or in unison, the movement keeps high energy as it cycles through the opening theme until it slows into a new solo theme introduced by the oboe. Using similar chord structures to a Bach chorale, it is a very simple yet effective melody that later doubles in the French horn and flute parts. Being in sonata form, the movement finishes with a partial recap of the opening and extends into a coda section that ends in a flurry.
 
— Program Note by Christian Whitacre
 
Afro-Cuban Concerto
Valerie Coleman (b. 1970)
 
As the name suggests, this piece is centered around Afro-Cuban rhythms and features the virtuosity of the five instruments in a woodwind quintet: flute, oboe, bassoon, French horn and clarinet. Flutist and composer Valerie Coleman composed this for the woodwind quintet she co-founded, “Imani Winds.”
 
The first movement is titled “Afro,” and starts with a call to prayer that represents worshippers of the Santeria religion. An abrupt change hits, phasing out of the call to prayer and swiftly into the 6/8 clave, a traditional Afro-Cuban rhythm set. This contagious dance-like rhythm carries throughout the entire movement as different instruments take turns having solo sections in which Coleman herself encourages incorporating improvisation. The second movement, titled “Vocalise,” also begins with a sort of call to prayer, but maintains slow and soulful melodies for the rest of the movement as well. This movement features the Cuban style of habanera and repeats a three-note motif multiple times throughout. The third and final movement is titled “Danza” and feels like a crazy dance. It just keeps getting faster and faster until the quintet plays a frenzied vamp at the end leading to a final burst of energy! The entire movement is incredibly percussive as the instruments pass around a central rhythmic rhumba that drives the music forward.
 
This piece truly is a mini concerto for all five members of the quintet, showcasing the virtuosic capabilities of each respective instrument throughout the three movements. The Imani Winds, of which the composer was a founding member, has the most popular recording of this piece, but there are still a growing number of recording contributions of this piece, as it has been gaining notable popularity over the years.
 
— Program Note by Danielle Kim and Nathaniel Wolff
 
String Quartet in F Major
Maurice Ravel (1875–1937)
Transcribed by Mark A. Popkins
 
Maurice Ravel is best known as a brilliant composer in two media: the orchestra and the piano (for one, two, four and even five hands). He was amazingly adept at transcribing music from one medium to the other, yielding two versions of the same music, one with immense space and color, the other with a finely etched clarity and intimacy, both with the same essential musical character. It seems only natural that he would combine his fine sensibilities for color and texture in a small ensemble. Indeed, Ravel wrote a small number of equally phenomenal if lesser known chamber works: a string quartet, a piano trio, a violin sonata, a duo for violin and cello, among others. Key aspects of his style make his music uniquely accessible and enduring for a 20th century composer: a classical sense of form, a vocabulary of melody and harmony that is modern yet tonal, and a rhythmic motion full of vitality and subtlety.
 
The second movement of his sole String Quartet in F Major is a lively scherzo in a triple meter with a contrasting trio section. The dominant use of pizzicato perfectly punctuates a delightful rhythmic complexity based on the syncopated cross-rhythms of playing 6/8 and 3/4 in alternating measures as well as simultaneously in different instruments. Further subdivisions of the beat overlay this Iberian dance rhythm with triplets (three to a beat) in the main theme and thirty-second notes (four to a beat) in the middle parts. Combining displaced accents, trills, the shivering rasp of rapid tremolo and swiftly changing dynamics, the scherzo dazzles with the precise choreography of its interlocking parts. The trio slows into languid repose with an elegant melody in the lower strings tinged with still more Spanish perfume. But unlike most trios, this one is essentially a reconfiguration of the scherzo, made of the same musical materials: one of the two scherzo themes can be heard in nearly every measure of the trio, transformed by the slow tempo, fragmented, and shifted into the background. Most trios finish with a definite closure; in a single clear gesture, they return to the beginning of scherzo thereby emphasizing a strongly sectional form. Ravel has his scherzo gently creep back in, overlapping with the trio to create a smooth continuity that is subtle and expertly crafted. Unique in the literature, it is characteristic of Ravel's mature style.
 
Performing an arrangement of this piece for wind quintet created many issues of practicality as far as emulating the same textures from a tonally homogenous group like the string quartet. Double stops, pizzicatos and fast running arpeggios all become extremely clunky for wind instruments, and many passages do not have any ideal places to breathe. These performance hurdles force the wind musician to adapt and play flexibly.
 
— Program Note by Kyle Glasgow
 
 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

 

Graduate Fellowship Ensemble: Ignis

Ignis is the newest premier fellowship woodwind quintet of the University of Maryland School of Music. They are dedicated to creating electrifying performances to amplify the voices of underrepresented composers in the western music world. Through collaborative efforts in community engagement and outreach, recording, premiering new works and utilizing modern technology in tandem with traditional performance principles, Ignis aims to push the boundaries of chamber music beyond the standard classical canon. Its members hold degrees from top universities and conservatories in America such as the University of Maryland, University of Michigan, New England Conservatory and Shenandoah Conservatory. Ignis’ members are devoted to bringing the highest standards of musical excellence to the DC metropolitan area and beyond. Learn more about Ignis in their announcement on the School of Music website.

Danielle Kim is a flutist from Virginia who began her flute studies while she was living in India. She has primarily studied with Jihoon Shin of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and Leah Arsenault of the National Symphony Orchestra. Kim earned her Bachelor of Music degree in flute performance from the University of Michigan under the tutelage of the distinguished Amy Porter, where she graduated with high honors. Kim has participated in the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and the National Youth Orchestra of the USA. She has placed in various competitions including the Flute Society of Washington, the Central Ohio Flute Association, the National YoungArts Foundation and the Glenn Miller Foundation. Currently, Kim is pursuing her Master of Music degree in flute performance with Associate Professor Sarah Frisof at the University of Maryland.

Nathaniel Wolff is a versatile oboist and educator based in College Park, Maryland. He is pursuing a master’s degree in oboe performance with Professor Mark Hill at the University of Maryland. Prior to attending Maryland, Wolff earned a bachelor’s degree in oboe performance studying with Nancy Ambrose King at the University of Michigan, where he graduated summa cum laude. He has received additional instruction from Eric Ohlssohn, Emily Brebach, Jamie Roberts, Robert Stephenson, Elizabeth Koch Tiscione and Kim Lorch. In masterclass settings, he has performed for Andrew Parker, Katherine Needleman, Anna Hendrickson, Aaron Hill and Christian Schmitt. As an advocate for new music, Wolff has participated in several world premieres at venues like the Brevard Music Center and the Midwest Composer’s Symposium. As an educator, he has experience teaching privately and as a tutor in the MStars music tutoring program sponsored by the University of Michigan to provide music education to underserved middle school students. In past summers, Wolff has studied at the Brevard Music Center, the National Symphony’s Summer Music Institute and Sewanee Summer Music Festival.

Christian Whitacre is a DC-based musician and the bassoonist of Ignis. Starting his chamber career in high school, he performed with the Paramount Wind Quintet, a professional nonprofit group touring venues in Northern Virginia. As an orchestral player, Whitacre has performed at Chicago Symphony Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Adrienne Arsht Center and the Blossom Music Center. Whitacre has appeared with the Atlantic Symphony and Philharmonia Boston, and has also toured the Dominican Republic with the MIT Wind Ensemble. In a masterclass setting, Whitacre has performed for Frank Morelli, George Sakakeeny, Christopher Weait and Ryan Romine. In the past, he has attended the Miami Music Festival, where he was an opera fellow. He has also been a young artist at the Kent Blossom Music Festival, where he performed side-by-side with the Cleveland Orchestra. Passionate about modern music and pushing the boundaries of the classical music world, Whitacre has attended the inaugural year of the Mostly Modern Festival, playing principal with the American Modern Orchestra where he was a soloist in the North American continental premiere of Mirror II by Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen. He has also performed the world premiere of Ready Five for bassoon and electronics. Whitacre currently is a student at the University of Maryland under the tutelage of Lecturer Joseph Grimmer. Holding a degree from the New England Conservatory, Whitacre studied under principal bassoonist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Richard Svoboda. Additionally, his teachers include William Winstead, Barrick Stees and Charles McCracken.

Zachary Miller earned his bachelor's degree in horn performance while studying under Geoffrey Pilkington. During his time at Shenandoah, Miller performed with several student led chamber ensembles. As an orchestral horn player, he has performed with groups such as the NOVA Annandale Symphony, Shenandoah Symphony, Shenandoah Wind Ensemble, Fairfax Wind Symphony and the New Orchestra of Washington DC as a part of their NOWthis apprenticeship program. He has also had the opportunity to work with and collaborate with other notable horn players such as Amy Horn, Rodger Whitworth and James Nickel. Music has always been a fundamental aspect of Miller’s life. One of his main aspirations is to make music available to more people by participating in community outreach programs for the arts. Coming from a family of educators, Miller is a strong advocate for music and arts programs in education. At the University of Maryland, he is studying under Professor Gregory Miller (no relation) while pursuing his master’s in horn performance.

Kyle Glasgow is back at the University of Maryland for a master's degree in clarinet performance, having just earned his bachelor's from the same institution. Along with serving as the clarinetist of Ignis, Glasgow aims to continue premiering new music with the goal of amplifying the voices of underrepresented composers in the western classical music world. He has a particular interest in modern recording and audio engineering/production as well as deep-dive studies into musical interpretation. Through collaborative efforts in community engagement and outreach, recording and utilizing modern technology in tandem with traditional performance principles, Glasgow aims to push both the boundaries of chamber music and classical clarinet beyond the standard classical canon. He has a multifaceted musical skill set with additional skills in clarinet repair, reed making, conducting and aural skills. Specializing in the E-flat clarinet, he is an experienced auxiliary clarinetist and can be heard on several reference recordings for the Naxos musical database. Glasgow has performed in clinics and masterclasses around the world including the Princess of Asturias program in Spain, ClarinetFest in Ostend Belgium and the Interlochen Center for the Arts. He teaches a private studio of clarinetists of all ages in the DMV area, and he serves as the co-conductor of the New Horizons Clarinet Choir and as a clarinetist for the Polka Terps. He continues to study with Professor Robert DiLutis at the University of Maryland as well as with several other clarinetists in the region