Box Office Supervisor, former Concert Series Coordinator
My introduction to the Imani Winds took place during my undergraduate study at Lawrence University. They came to campus to perform a recital, and the day before, I had the opportunity to play for them in a master class. I went into the class expecting to be encouraged to adopt the stereotypical wind quintet performance practice: calm, refined playing of the European tradition, men in suits and women in floor-length dresses playing in parlors of the gentry.
I was highly mistaken.
The piece we had chosen to play was Janacek's Mladi, or "Youth". Just take a listen to the first minute or so of this video (it's a long, four-movement work).
In one particular passage, my horn part had a very low solo, and while I do specialize in the low register and felt very comfortable playing the solo, the group's horn player Jeff Scott encouraged me to try to do more. He told me to think of the solo as the temper-tantrum phase of Youth. That instantly drew an image in my head of screaming children in grocery stores, being dragged along by a parent. I tried the solo a few times with that image in mind, and after I played it the final time, I noticed that the audience was smiling and clapping for me! Our group had started the hour playing quite tentatively, and to the audience, we hadn't conveyed our personalities or any of the music's personality. The members of Imani Winds helped us discover meaning in the music that we could then share with the audience, and make the performance much more enjoyable and exciting for everyone in the room.
I was so excited last year to be part of the committee that is bringing Imani Winds to the Union Theater's series. Don't hesitate - buy a ticket TODAY, and give America's Premier Wind Quintet a chance to change your perceptions of chamber music, just as they did for me. They'll perform this Friday at Mills Hall, in the Humanities Building at 455 N Park St, at 8:00pm. You can also check out their FREE master class on Thursday night at 7:00pm, also in Mills Hall. And bring your friends! You won't be disappointed.