Born: September 30, 1935, Prague, Czechoslovakia
Died: June 22, 1999, Prague
Duration: 7 minutes
Czech composer Luboš Fišer studied composition at the Prague Conservatory (1952-1956) and the Prague Academy of Music (1960). His output includes over 300 scores for movies and television productions, a chamber opera, symphonies, concertos for piano, two pianos, organ and violin, sonatas for piano and violin, various chamber ensembles and voice. Fišer wrote two pieces for wind orchestra: Report (1971) and Centaures (1983). Both of these works were commissioned by the American Wind Symphony Orchestra.
Robert Boudreau, conductor of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra, visited Fišer in his apartment in Czechoslovakia in the fall of 1970 to commission a new work for AWSO. Fišer agreed and submitted Report, which he composed amid the social and political turmoil of 1968 as the combined armies of the Warsaw Pact prepared to invade Prague. Report premiered in the summer of 1971, while Fišer served as the composer-in-residence with the AWSO.
“Composed for a large ensemble with specific instrumentation, Report basically consists of a rhapsodic preamble followed by three marches. Fišer used only seven of the usual twelve available pitches for the opening trumpet solo and the nine variations (three in each march). The multi-episode work may be labeled a “theme and variations” piece or, if the theme and subsequent variations are called “A” and the march segments “B,” the overall structure would be ABABAB. The two ideas are alternated, developed and finally combined in the third march, which features frenzied rhythms in the woodwinds, the original patriotic march tune in the trumpets, and a repetitive drum soli which suggests the events in Prague during August of 1968. Report ends with a series of seven tutti chords diminishing to silence.” (Quote from Program Notes for Band)
– Program note by Christine Higley
Trauermusik (Funeral Music)
Born: May 22, 1813, Leipzig, Germany
Died: February 13, 1883, Venice, Italy
arr. MICHAEL VOTTA/JOHN BOYD
Duration: 6 minutes
On December 14, 1844, the remains of Carl Maria von Weber were moved from London, where he had died, to Germany. Wagner composed Trauermusik for the torch light procession to Weber’s final resting place, the Catholic Cemetery in Friedrichstadt. As part of his musical remembrance, Wagner arranged several portions of Weber’s opera Euranthe for a large wind band of 75 players including 7 oboes, 10 bassoons, 25 clarinets and 14 horns, among others. 20 drums accompanied this wind band during the funeral procession.
The first part of Trauermusik is an arrangement of music from the overture to Euryanthe, which represents the vision of Emma’s spirit in the opera. The main section of the work is taken from the cavatina “Hier dicht am Quell,” the text of which contains numerous references to death. The coda comes from a passage in Act II that recalls the opening “spirit music.” Wagner amassed all of the military bands around Dresden for the occasion, and was gratified by the effect. He remained fond of the work throughout his life and in Mein Leben he wrote, “I had never before achieved anything that corresponded so perfectly to its purpose.”
– Program note by Michael Votta, Jr.
Born: July 8, 1882, Melbourne, Australia
Died: February 20, 1961, White Plains, New York
Duration: 17 minutes
Percy Aldridge Grainger (1882–1961) was an Australian born composer, pianist and saxophonist with an affinity for English folk music. Consequently, he was an avid seeker and collector of folksongs and many of his compositions were based on such tunes. Lincolnshire Posy, a cornerstone in wind band repertoire, is no exception. Composed in 1937, Lincolnshire Posy is a six-movement work for wind band with each movement based on an English folksong. Grainger collected the tunes he used from Lincolnshire England by recording singers with a phonograph.
Grainger describes his piece as a “bunch of musical wildflowers,” which inspired the title. His aim was to base each of the movements off of the individual singers who performed for him:
“Indeed, each number is intended to be a kind of musical portrait of the singer who sang its underlying melody–a musical portrait of the singer’s personality no less than of his habits of song–his regular or irregular wonts of rhythm, his preference for gaunt or ornately arabesque deliver his contrasts of legato and staccato, his tendency towards breadth or delicacy of tone.”
Lincolnshire Posy was commissioned by the American Bandmasters Association and premiered on March 7, 1937 at their convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by the Milwaukee Symphonic Band with Grainger conducting.
– Program note by Christine Higley with quotes by Grainger
Suite in B-flat, Op. 4
Born: June 11, 1864, Munich, Germany
Died: September 8, 1949, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Duration: 25 minutes
There is no particular reason why Richard Strauss should have ever composed any music for winds, even though his father, Franz Strauss, made his living as a hornist in the Bavarian Court Opera Orchestra and was renowned as one of the greatest wind players of his day. Nearly all of Richard’s early experiences with music were connected with the opera, its orchestra, and music-making within the extended family. By age ten, it was clear that the young Strauss was serious about composition, and so in 1875 he began a systematic study of composition (under Friedrich Wilhelm Meyer, an assistant conductor at the Court Opera), and over the next five years, Strauss produced hausmusik for family use and also a modest series of larger works for orchestra that may have been his composition assignments. After completing his formal studies, Strauss began work on his most ambitious composition to date, a Symphony in D-minor, which was immediately followed by a string quartet. Both premiered early the next year, and the quartet was quickly published. From all outward appearances, Strauss was embarking on a career as a serious composer of art music.
And then, with no signs of any music for winds in the more than 100 works drafted by Strauss up to that time, he composed the Serenade, Op. 7 in 1881. His father was an avowed anti-Wagnerian, who barely tolerated any composers much beyond Haydn, Mozart and early Beethoven, and thus the model for his son’s Serenade is Mozart’s seven-movement Serenade in B-flat, K. 361. Strauss’ ensemble does differ slightly from Mozart’s, who called for pairs of oboes, clarinets, basset-horns and bassoons, augmented by four horns and a double bass. In contrast, Strauss uses the standard four pairs of orchestral winds (flutes, oboes, clarinets and bassoons), along with four horns and “contrabassoon or tuba.” Hans von Bülow added the piece to the repertoire of the Meiningen Orchestra in the winter of 1883–84, and it was an immediate success. Although many years later, Strauss would describe the Serenade as “nothing more than the respectable work of a music student,” it gave him his first significant triumph, and thus it is not surprising that he sought to recapture that success almost immediately.
Within a few months after the Meiningen performances of the Serenade, Strauss had begun drafting a multi-movement work for the same thirteen instruments. Around that time, Bülow wrote to Strauss with a detailed plan for a multi-movement work for the same ensemble. Bülow’s advice arrived too late for Strauss to follow completely, but he did use some of those suggestions in the four-movement Suite, Op. 4, which Strauss gave to Bülow in the fall of 1884.
As a whole, Strauss’ compositional technique is secure in this work, and his handling of the instruments is nearly symphonic at times. Nevertheless, the Suite has been somewhat less successful than the Serenade, perhaps because the Serenade is much more tuneful—like Mozart’s music it is essentially operatic. The Suite, on the other hand, looks forward to Strauss’ symphonic works (which began immediately following it), and is more motivically dense and a study in compositional craftsmanship.
The opening “Präludium” is a straightforward sonata-allegro movement based on the short motive that opens the work. Although there is a contrasting second theme, there is little development. This is a similar design to the Serenade, and may have been a way for Strauss to confirm his handling of the ensemble before venturing into the more varied music of the other movements. The second movement is a “Romanze” of similar design. The most concertante of all the movements, it has a prominent role for the clarinet.
As the first two movements perhaps look backward to the Serenade, the final two seem to be moving forward to Strauss’ mature symphonic style. The third movement is labeled “Gavotte,” but the movement has little to do with the eighteenth-century French court dance implied by that title. Rather, its playfulness suggests the mood of a scherzo (but in duple meter). The basic idea is a simple three-note chromatic descent, introduced in whole notes. After it is repeated twice in diminution, Strauss decorates the first two notes with upper neighbors and the third note with a descending fourth. Finally, only the basic rhythm of the decorated version is reiterated by the horns. All of this deceptively simple development takes place in just four measures, and when played in Strauss’ colorful, soloistic scoring it provides more than enough material for the movement.
The finale, an “Introduction und Fuge,” is a compositional and instrumental tour-de-force. Strauss’ manipulation of his materials is impressive, and, with the benefit of hindsight, we can hear sounds that prefigure some of Strauss’ great orchestral wind writing.
– Program note by Michael Votta, Jr., (adapted from notes by Scott Warfield)
Born: April 10, 1926, Paris, France
Died: April 6, 2014, Dijon, France
French composer Jacques Castérède began his studies at the Paris Conservatory in 1944. His main focuses were piano, composition and analysis. While at the conservatory, he won prizes in piano, chamber music, analysis, composition and harmony. In 1960, he joined the faculty at the Paris Conservatory as a professor of solfège, but later held positions in piano studies, analysis and composition. Works composed by Castérède include symphonies, concertos, ballets, ensemble and chamber music.
Divertissement D'été (Summer Pastimes), was commissioned by the American Wind Symphony Orchestra (AWSO) and premiered in the summer of 1965. Robert Boudreau, conductor of the AWSO, described the piece in his book “The Messengers and the Music”:
“The first of three movements, ‘La Plage’ (the beach), evokes showers of water, divers, crowds and movement; the second, ‘Peche sous marine’ (fish underwater), brings a sense of mystery and slow movement of underwater sea life, using the low registers of bass clarinets and bassoons, percussion and piano; and the third, ‘Marche,’ constructed on two modal themes that alternate like the couplets of a song and build to a final fortissimo.”
–Program note by Christine Higley
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
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.
ROBERT AUSTIN BOUDREAU is the kind of man one is likely to meet only once in a lifetime. He is a man who makes impossible dreams come true; a man who has committed his life to the arts; a man who never loses sight of the way in which education can propel young people out of a life of poverty and into a life enriched and enhanced by music and art. Chances are he is also the only orchestra conductor in the world who also skippers a 195-foot barge!
Boudreau’s biography is a prime example of the way education changes lives. As the son of a chicken farmer-factory worker, Boudreau grew up in Massachusetts with little prospect of leaving his rural roots behind, until the day he picked up a trumpet and began to make music.
His talent soon took him to Juilliard, where he earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees, and then to Paris as a Fulbright Scholar at the Paris Conservatory. He also found time to earn a degree in English literature from Boston University.
Early in his career, Boudreau performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Edwin Franko Goldman Band. He taught music in various colleges before taking a position at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. His first sight of that city’s three mighty rivers—the Allegheny, the Monongahela and the Ohio—caused him to dream of a floating orchestra of woodwinds, brass and percussion playing free concerts aboard a barge, and traveling to riverfront cities and towns both near and far.
Aided by funding from the Pittsburgh-based H.J. Heinz Company, Duquesne University and others, Boudreau founded the American Wind Symphony Orchestra in 1957, and christened the barge that became his floating stage, Point Counterpoint.
Through the following two decades, Boudreau’s reputation and that of his orchestra grew to such an extent that a new vessel became necessary. Famed architect Louis I. Kahn designed a self-propelled work of art that was named Point Counterpoint II. Since its launching in 1976, the ship has sailed more than 500,000 miles, and the orchestra has enchanted audiences in America, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia and the Caribbean.
Taken alone, the travels of Robert Boudreau and his orchestra create an unparalleled saga of arts on the move. But, he has also commissioned an unprecedented 400 works of contemporary music by prominent composers worldwide. And more than 1,500 young musicians have successfully auditioned for the orchestra, many going on to outstanding performing or teaching careers.
Boudreau has formed offshoots of the orchestra into educational, community and school-based initiatives that give young people a chance to turn their lives around through the study of music. And, not least of all, he has been a champion of environmental protection, touring the world’s waterways and celebrating the natural beauty of the earth.
Often called the modern day “Music Man,” Boudreau has been knighted by the King of Sweden for his universal goodwill efforts. He and his orchestra were allowed into the closed society of Soviet Russia in 1989, and were given extraordinary leave to find housing in private Leningrad homes.
Time magazine once wrote, “It may be that there is no greater innovative force in American music than Robert Boudreau.”
ANDREA E. BROWN was appointed the associate director of bands at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2018. In this position, she conducts the University of Maryland Wind Ensemble (UMWE), serves as the director of athletic bands and teaches conducting. Brown is formerly a member of the conducting faculty at the University of Michigan, where she served as the assistant director of bands and was a faculty sponsor of a College of Engineering Multidisciplinary Design Project team that researched conducting pedagogy technology. She also served as the director of orchestra and assistant director of bands at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. She is a frequent guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator in the US, Europe and Asia.
Brown completed a D.M.A. in instrumental conducting at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), where she was a student of John Locke and Kevin Geraldi. While at UNCG, she was both guest conductor and principal horn on UNCG Wind Ensemble's “fireworks!” and “finish line!” CDs, both released on the Equilibrium label. Brown has also had several rehearsal guides published in the popular GIA Publications series "Teaching Music Through Performance in Band." She has presented at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago; Oxford Conducting Institute; Music For All Summer Symposium; the Yamaha Bläserklasse in Schlitz, Germany; the International Computer Music Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia; the College Music Society International Conference in Sydney, Australia; and the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) National Conference.
A proponent of inclusion and equity issues in the music profession, Brown is a frequent guest speaker on these topics. She currently serves on the CBDNA Diversity Committee and is a member of the Drum Corps International In Step Committee. Brown is the founder of Women Rising to the Podium, an online group of over 4,100 members supporting and celebrating women band directors. Additionally, she also serves as the chair of the Sigma Alpha Iota Women’s Music Fraternity Graduate Conducting Grant and as an advisor of the SAI chapter at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Brown previously served on the brass and conducting instructional staff of the DCI World Champion Phantom Regiment (2004–17). Other marching organizations she has instructed include the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band and Carolina Crown. Brown will serve as a music judge for Drum Corps International in the next active season, and she was nominated to become a member of the John Philip Sousa Foundation Sudler Shield Jury in 2021.
As a performer, Brown was a member of the AA Brass Quintet, which won the International Brass Quintet Competition hosted by Fred Mills at the University of Georgia. She performed with the horn sections of the Boston Brass All Stars Big Band, North Carolina Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony and the Brevard Music Center Orchestra. Brown has studied brass performance and pedagogy with Abigail Pack, J.D. Shaw, Jack Masarie, Freddy Martin, Dottie Bennett, Randy Kohlenberg, Richard Steffen and Ed Bach.
Originally from Milan, Tennessee, Brown is a graduate of Austin Peay State University and earned a Master of Music in horn performance and a Master of Music in music education with a cognate in instrumental conducting from UNCG. Prior to her positions at Maryland, Michigan and Georgia Tech, Brown was the assistant director of bands at Austin Peay State University and taught at public schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Dallas, Texas. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Kappa Lambda and CBDNA. She was awarded the Rose of Honor as a member of Sigma Alpha Iota Women's Music Fraternity, and is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma.
COLONEL JASON K. FETTIG M.M. ’05 is the 28th director of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. He joined in 1997 as a clarinetist and soon became a frequently featured soloist with both the band and the Marine Chamber Orchestra. After serving four years in the organization, he was selected as an assistant director, and he conducted his first concert with the Marine Band on Aug. 1, 2001. He was commissioned a first lieutenant in July 2002, promoted to captain in August 2003, and became the band’s Executive Officer the following year. He was promoted to major in August 2007 and to lieutenant colonel in July 2014, one week before assuming leadership of “The President’s Own.” He was promoted to his present rank in August 2017 in the Roosevelt Room by President Donald Trump. He is the third director of “The President’s Own” to be promoted to colonel in a White House ceremony.
As director, Col. Fettig is the music adviser to the White House and regularly conducts the Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra at the Executive Mansion. He led the musical program for the Inaugurations of President Donald Trump and President Joseph Biden and the State Funeral of George H.W. Bush. He also serves as music director of Washington, D.C.’s historic Gridiron Club, a position held by every Marine Band director since John Philip Sousa.
During his time as director, Col. Fettig has led the band for numerous major national events both at the White House and throughout the country. He conducted national broadcast performances for the 200th Anniversary of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Ft. McHenry in Baltimore, three Independence Day specials from the White House, a live Veterans Day performance with The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, and an appearance on the David Letterman Show at the invitation of Michelle Obama in New York. He has also conducted the Band and Chamber Orchestra live on NBC’s Today Show and on the PBS special “In Performance at the White House.” Fettig leads frequent concerts throughout the Washington, D.C., area and across the country during the band’s annual national tour. He has regularly collaborated in performance with world-class artists across a wide range of genres, from legendary journalist Jim Lehrer, to clarinetist Ricardo Morales and Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, to pop superstars Jordin Sparks and Lady Gaga. In May 2019, Col. Fettig led the Marine Band on its first international appearance since 2001 with multiple performances and broadcasts throughout Japan. Live performances by the Marine Band under his direction are often heard on National Public Radio and he has twice partnered with the National Symphony Orchestra and their Music Director Gianandrea Noseda for special joint performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Fettig has continued to bring renowned guest conductors to the podium of “The President’s Own,” including JoAnn Falletta, Bramwell Tovey and John Williams.
Throughout his career with the Marine Band, Col. Fettig has been deeply committed to music education and has taken an active role in the evolution and expansion of the many educational initiatives of “The President’s Own.” He began an interactive Young People’s Concert series in 2006 and authored, hosted and conducted this popular annual event until 2015. He has made a priority of maintaining a significant mentorship presence in schools during the band’s annual national concert tours, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, he spearheaded a remarkable virtual expansion of the band’s online educational resources, performances and productions, an effort that has directly reached over 100,000 students so far. Included in these innovative new programs is a video series entitled the “Digital Rehearsal Hall,” which provides viewers a behind-the-scenes view into the working rehearsal process of the Marine Band. Fettig has served as a clinician or guest conductor at over 40 universities and colleges. He often teaches at international conducting symposia, and he has appeared as conductor for numerous national honor band and All-State festivals around the country, leading both bands and orchestras.
Col. Fettig is a 1993 graduate of Manchester Central High School in New Hampshire and holds two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in both clarinet performance (1997) and music education (1998), and a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Maryland, College Park (2005). He studied clarinet with Michael Sussman and David Martins, and his principal conducting teachers were Malcolm W. Rowell and James Ross. Additionally, Col. Fettig received instruction from several other renowned conductors, including Osmo Vänskä and Otto Werner Mueller.
In 2014, he was elected as a member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association, and serves on the board of directors for several national organizations, including the John Philip Sousa Foundation and The National Band Association.
The Marine Band is America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization. Founded in 1798, the band has performed for every U.S. president since John Adams. Known as “The President’s Own” since the days of Thomas Jefferson, the Marine Band’s mission is to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.