ASU wind bands will take a trip around the world with exclusive works

The ASU Wind Ensemble and Wind Orchestra will be showcasing a multicultural concert at Gammage on Tuesday

The ASU Wind Ensemble and Wind Orchestra will be performing a diverse collection of music that will feature many countries from all over the globe on Tuesday. Both wind bands will be showcasing this multicultural concert with the help of two ASU conductors, Jason Caslor and Gary W. Hill.

Some of the pieces that will be performed throughout the night will be by well-known composers such as Milhaud, Wagner, Cable, Faulkner and Ito.

Hill, the Wind Orchestra’s conductor, professor of music and director of ASU bands, explained that they chose a global theme for the concert.

“My colleague and I decided on scenes for each concert," Hill said. "We decided it would be interesting to start the year with pieces from composers from all around the world.”

The Wind Orchestra is comprised of approximately 50 ASU students, mainly doctorate and master's degree students. They will be focusing their pieces more specifically from places such as Canada, Finland, Italy, France, Germany and the United States.

Hill said all of the composers of the pieces he will be conducting have already passed away. 

Milhaud, a French composer who passed away in 1974, wrote the piece "Suite Francaise," which will be performed by the talented group that make up the Wind Orchestra. The Italian music writer Wagner and his piece titled "Trauermusik" will be making its ASU debut as well.

The Associate Director of Bands and Orchestras at ASU Jason Caslor will be conducting the Wind Ensemble, which is made up of 72 students.

The Wind Ensemble will be featuring an ecclectic collection of works, Caslor said.

“We will be performing pieces from various places including Canada, Japan and Germany," he said. "Even one of the pieces will be featuring bag pipes. And two of our pieces will also be world premieres."

One of the world premiere composers is a more contemporary Canadian artist named Jordan Nobles. The other is Christopher Norby, a composer from Northern Ireland. The Ensemble group will showcase "Newfoundland Rhapsody" by Cable and "Bali" by Colgrass as well.

Student conductors will also be able to showcase their abilities throughout the performance. Bryan Raya, the student conductor for the Wind Ensemble, is currently a graduate student who is studying wind band conducting and works as a teaching assistant at ASU. 

The other student conductor position will be filled by Melanie Brooks, who will be conducting the Wind Orchestra.

Brooks graduated from St. Olaf University with a bachelor's of arts in music along with a teaching certificate to teach music at K-12 schools in Minnesota. She was granted the Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree at Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. Due to her year studying abroad, she fit perfectly as the conductor to lead Finish composer Kalevi Aho’s "Tristia," which was written in 1999.

Brooks said Aho was prominent in Finland and continues to impact the world of classical music.

“He is a really prolific composer," she said. "He has written a lot of pieces. He is still alive and is still composing. He is one of the most famous composers of contemporary music in Finland. And this is his only piece for wind band.”

Brooks said that the talent within the wind program was perfect to showcase such diverse music.

“The Arizona State Wind Orchestra is comprised of mostly doctorate and masters students and some very exceptional undergraduate musicians," she said. "They are just really outstanding players and they work hard, they respond really well to what you are doing.”

Brooks said one of the pieces the audience should look forward to is the opening performance of "Slipstream" by Rob Lord, who is from Coventry, United Kingdom. 

Lord wrote the song with the Gammage Auditorium in mind, according to Brooks. All the musicians will take different stances throughout the venue to give off a surround-sound effect.

Brooks said it will be a unique musical experience.

“The music itself is not the type of music where you need a conductor to show the time," she said. "It’s a little aleatoric and not regular band music. But it also has just a really cool sonic and spacial effect.”

The Around the World Concert that will be featuring some of the most talented musicians that ASU has to offer will be taking place at the Gammage Auditorium from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. on Sept. 27 and is free for all audiences. For more information, visit the ASU Events page.


Reach the reporter at mmbaiett@asu.edu or follow @marcellabaietto on Twitter.

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