Derek Maseloff (b. 1995)
Joseph Schwanter (b. 1943)
Konshens (b. 1985)
arr. Natalie Groom
Konshens (b. 1985)
"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny." A beautiful phrase, but all too often our actions and lived experiences do not embrace the wisdom of Dr. King’s words.
Tonight, we try to put Dr. King’s words into musical reality, embracing both the risks and rewards of combining diverse musical genres. We invite you to join us as we attempt to bring the world a little closer together. And we hope to inspire you to leave here and do the same in whatever ways you can.
Tonight’s program opens with the full ensemble and Konshens the MC performing “Dreams,” an original composition by Derek Maseloff. This introspective piece asks listeners to reflect on their dreams and aspirations–for themselves and for the world.
“Dreams” leads into a short ensemble improvisation and a reading of Carol Adler’s poem “Arioso.” This poem is the inspiration for Joseph Schwantner’s “…and the mountains rising nowhere…,” one of the landmark works in the wind ensemble repertoire. The poem and the music are reflections on being trapped and trying to break free.
“Mountains” is linked to Konshens’s “My Pi-Poh” by another short improvisation. “My Pih-Poh”’s improvisatory accompaniment creates a stream-of-consciousness effect as Konshens poetry confronts us with the challenges of being black in America.
UMD Alumnus Brandon J. Felder presents a piece from his upcoming recording project “Mosaic Intersections of Sound.” “An Invitation to Come” provides a reflective setting of the well known Hymn Tune "Come thou Fount of Every Blessing" and invites listeners to a refreshing fountain of hope. This “Sermonic Songversation” between piano and wind orchestra tells the story of what broke us, but the reformation and modulation tells the story of what made us whole. Much like the Japanese practice of kintsukuroi, this sermonic songversation holds us together - making us more beautiful than we were.
The text of “Militant” confronts racial stereotypes and our broken justice system. Optimism returns in “God I Pray” as listeners are invited to give thanks for each day and contemplate how they can help make the world a better place.
Julius Eastman’s “Stay On It” is introduced by Konshens poetry and a short improvisation, followed by a wind instrument performance of Eastman’s groundbreaking minimalist work. In this piece, the ensemble repeats various “cells” of musical ideas. Eastman’s music is enjoying a rebirth, garnering performances worldwide after being nearly lost during his lifetime. It is a unique voice from a gay, black composer who struggled personally and artistically through the 1960’s and 70’s.
We close with “I’m So DC,” a go-go tune that celebrates the birthplace of the genre, and the city that many of us call home. Featuring lots of percussion, brass choirs, and woodwind consorts, it’s an uplifting conclusion that will hopefully leave you inspired to change our world for the better. We are indeed “caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”
MICHAEL VOTTA, JR., has been hailed by critics as “a conductor with the drive and ability to fully relay artistic thoughts” and praised for his “interpretations of definition, precision and most importantly, unmitigated joy.” Ensembles under his direction have received critical acclaim in the United States, Europe and Asia for their “exceptional spirit, verve and precision,” their “sterling examples of innovative programming” and “the kind of artistry that is often thought to be the exclusive purview of top symphonic ensembles.”
He currently serves as director of bands at the University of Maryland School of Music where he holds the rank of professor. Under his leadership, the UMD Wind Orchestra (UMWO) has been invited to perform at the international conference of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles as well as multiple national and divisional conferences of the College Band Directors National Association. UMWO has also performed with major ensembles such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Eighth Blackbird and the Imani Winds. UMWO has commissioned and premiered works by Stephen Jaffe, Andre Previn, Steven Mackey, Alvin Singleton, James Syler and numerous others.
Votta has taught conducting seminars in the US, Israel and Canada, and has guest conducted and lectured throughout the world with organizations including the Beijing Wind Orchestra, the Prague Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the National Arts Camp at Interlochen, the Midwest Clinic and the Conductors Guild.
His performances have been heard in broadcasts throughout the US, on Austrian National Radio (ÖRF) and Southwest German Television, and have been released internationally on the Primavera label. Numerous major composers including George Crumb, Christopher Rouse, Louis Andriessen, Karel Husa, Olly Wilson, Barbara Kolb and Warren Benson have praised his performances of their works.
His arrangements and editions for winds have been performed and recorded by university and professional wind ensembles in the US, Europe and Japan. He is also the author and editor of books and articles on wind literature and conducting.
He is currently vice president of the College Band Directors National Association. He has served as president of the Big Ten Band Directors Association and editor of the CBDNA Journal, and has been a member of the boards of the International Society for the Investigation of Wind Music (IGEB) and the Conductors Guild.
Before his appointment at Maryland, Votta held conducting positions at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Duke University, Ithaca College, the University of South Florida, Miami University (Ohio) and Hope College.
As a clarinetist, Votta has performed as a soloist throughout the US and Europe. His solo and chamber music recordings are available on the Partridge and Albany labels.
TARIK “KONSHENS THE MC” (pronounced “Conscience”) DAVIS is an International hip-hop artist, songwriter, Global Arts educator, Youth advocate & Inspirational Speaker from Washington D.C. He is Founder & CEO of Edutainment Unlimited LLC (Arts Education/Entertainment Co.) former Governor on the Grammy Chapter Board, current Voting Member of the Grammy Recording Academy, Grammy Museum Artist Educator, UNCCD Land Ambassador and U.S Cultural Ambassador (State Department). He is also the MC and founder of ‘Classically Dope', a classical, hip-hop group which merges hip-hop lyrics with original classical arrangements. Being featured at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and has been highlighted performer on Fox, ABC and CBS networks, the Washingtonian Magazine and more. As an artist and innovator, Konshens The MC stands at the forefront of the evolution of hip-hop.
Konshens The MC is also planning to release an inspirational book, followed by his 4th independent album release. Konshens The MC views life as a constant evolution and is a firm believer in the famous quote by Frederick Douglass that “without struggle, there is no progress.”
A horn player, organist, and composer, DEREK MASELOFF is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland School of Music. From 2017-2019 Derek was a member of the graduate fellowship quintet Wavelength Winds, where he joined forces with Konshens on the “Classically Dope” project.
In 2019, Derek’s composition “Witch Hunt!” won first prize at the Ithaca New Music Collective Call for Scores Competition. His works for Classically Dope have been performed at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and alongside the National Symphony at The Anthem. In addition to composing for Classically Dope, he is an active composer and arranger at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Great Falls, VA, where he is currently Director of Music.
Derek is a passionate advocate for young artists and a believer in the transformative experience of touring. For the past three years, Derek served as Director of Artistic Planning for the National Youth Orchestra of China, presenting dozens of concerts on three continents with highlights at the Berlin Konzerthaus and Carnegie Hall. He recently began a new position as Festival Manager for the Prague Summer Nights Young Artist Music Festival.
He earned a B.M. degree from Cornell University in China and Asian-Studies (CAPS) and a M.M. in horn performance from the University of Maryland. In his free time, Derek subjects himself to Philadelphia sports and enjoys spending time outdoors in his garden in Greenbelt, MD.
BRANDON FELDER is a multifaceted music director, pianist, composer, arts advocate, and teaching artist with earned degrees from Howard University (Bachelor Music Education-Magna Cum Laude) & University of MD College Park( Master of Music Education with Published Research on Music Technology) with over 20 years’ experience while claiming only to be 25 years old! Felder actively serves within the community providing music experience at all levels (public, parochial school, and collegiate settings) consistently producing award winning distinctions for his programs ranging from NAMM Music Merit Awards (2017-2021), Billboard Music Charts (2017), and GRAMMY® Recording Academy Signature Schools (2015-2017) as well as Maryland Arts and Humanities and Arts Education Grants (2020-2021). Felder serves as a Governor on the GRAMMY Recording Academy Washington DC Chapter Board and is currently the GRAMMY Board DC Education Committee Chairperson providing outreach, scholarship and assistance to students, educators, schools and institutions within Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Felder is also a 2022 recipient of YAMAHA Music Educators 40 under 40 national recognition.
Mr. Felder serves as Fine Arts Co-Director at the SHABACH! K-8 Christian Academy (Landover MD) teaching Choir, Keyboard, General Music, Drama and Bible studies. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, creativity has not been canceled. ’In fact, SHABACH’s fine arts program provided music virtual programming (solo, ensemble, talent show) that was featured in the Maryland State Department of Education 2021 Virtual Arts Festival and is currently filming a Cinematic Christian Version of The Wiz adapted, written and conceived by Felder.
Felder is also the Music Director of the Georgetown University Gospel Choir (Washington DC), overseeing talented student singers who celebrate their spirituality through song and supports Protestant Ministry services and special campus events while singing diverse music from gospel, traditional hymns and modern Christian selections.
Felder previously served as Performing Arts Department Chair at Largo High School where the program earned distinctions such as 2015 GRAMMY® Signature School Award Semifinalist, 2016 GRAMMY® Grant Recipient, and 2017 NAMM® Music Merit School Awardee. Felder was also executive producer for the Largo High School Choir album project "Rejoice!" (November 2017) and made history as the first high school to reach #7 on Billboard Gospel Music Charts and presented a CD release concert at the Kennedy Center for 1150 attendees (December 2017).
Felder actively serves within the community
, through his private piano instructional studio. He has also served the sacred music community holding posts at various Washington Metropolitan Area Church and community organizations. Felder also served as the Artistic Associate Director and Musical Director for the Washington Performing Arts Society (Men, Women, and Children of the Gospel Division) for numerous years. Felder has been afforded the opportunity to perform with the National Symphony Orchestra, Shania Twain, the late Marvin Hamlisch, Richard Smallwood, Walter and Edwin Hawkins, Stephen Hurd, Kurt Carr, Donald Lawrence, and many others. Felder performed for President Barack Obama, President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Ambassador Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, and Oprah Winfrey. He served as musical director for the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia for Black History Month (February 2013). Felder’s newest curated recording “Mosaic Intersections of Sound” Volume 1 “Be Myself” is slated for release on June 1st which also features Classically Dope and Konshens the MC.
Brandon is constantly seeking to lead young people (and the young at heart) to experience music in a way they never have before and eat the greatest food in the world. Brandon is the devoted husband of LaTanya, and they are the proud parents of two daughters Cadence and Olivia and son Jaxon.
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND WIND ORCHESTRA
Michael Votta, Jr.
Isaac Vallecillo Rangel
Antony Huth Eleftheriou