Wind Symphony performs showcase of chamber music

EMU’s Wind Symphony, directed by Dr. Mary Schneider, performed at Pease Auditorium on Friday. Composers played included Antonin Dvorak and Alfred Uhl.

Members of the Eastern Michigan University Wind Symphony performed a collection of chamber music under the direction of Dr. Mary K. Schneider Friday at Pease Auditorium.

They performed Brian Balmages’ “Fanfare Canzoniques” (2002); Alfred Uhl’s “Divertimento” (1942); Karel Husa’s “Divertimento for Brass and Percussion” (1974); Roger Petersen’s “Chasing the Silence” (2009); Nebosja Jovan Zivkovic’s “Trio Per Uno” (1995) and Antonin Dvorak’s “Serenade in D Minor, Op. 44” (1878).

“My favorite piece would have to be the Dvorak, because it is one of the core repertoires for winds,” Schneider said. “I performed it in college as a horn player; it just has terrific horn parts.”

Chamber music was historically performed in smaller rooms, or chambers. Each chamber would house a different ensemble, usually performing vastly different music. Members of the Wind Symphony performed core pieces in smaller ensembles. The brass, clarinets, saxophones, percussion and woodwind sections played separate pieces, all accentuating their individual skills.

“Chasing the Silence,” was especially exciting to hear, because the composer, Roger Petersen, was present in the audience. He introduced the piece and gave some background about the song.

“They did a wonderful job with the piece,” Petersen said. “They performed it just as I intended it to sound. I was very impressed.”

Petersen played piano and guitar originally and then composed his first piece at the age of 21. He has written many other pieces including brass quintets, piano preludes and bassoon solos. His pieces are available for download on his Myspace page and on his Web site

The percussion trio was an interesting piece to hear, because many times the three unique parts were playing in unison, hence the title. At other times, the three were playing their own rudimental parts that fit extremely well together. The skilled performance from the three percussionists wowed the audience.

Nicholas Councilor, a fourth-year music education major, has been playing clarinet for three years and saxophone since sixth grade. He performed on “Divertimento” and “Serenade in D Minor,” both on clarinet. He plans to go on to grad school to study music performance, with the hopes of doing “anything music related.”

“My favorite piece was the brass and percussion ensemble,” Councilor said. “I like the big brass fanfare sound.”

The Wind Symphony is a group of 60-70 musicians who gained admission through auditions during the first week of the semester. They tour throughout Michigan each spring and rehearse three times a week in preparation for their performances.

This year, they will be touring six area high schools on March 24th and 25th.

Schneider serves as Director of Bands at EMU, directs the Wind Symphony, teaches conducting and music education courses and oversees all aspects of EMU’s band program.

Schneider holds a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She also earned degrees in horn performance and music education from the University of Connecticut and the New England Conservatory of Music.

The next Wind Symphony concert is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 11 in Pease. The EMU Symphonic Band, Wind Symphony and the Alumni Bands will be performing at this concert.

“The next concert should be fantastic,” Schneider said. “It really shows all the facets of the band program here.”

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