Cleveland (Chamber) Winds @ Maltz Performing Arts Center - March 21, 2021

The Cleveland Winds is a professional-quality wind ensemble based at Cleveland State University. The ensemble roster includes many of the best musicians in the Cleveland area, including professional performers, music educators, and exceptional amateur musicians. The Cleveland Winds is dedicated to excellence in wind band performance and repertoire.

The Cleveland Winds is the winner for the American Prize in Band/Wind Ensemble Performance—Community and School Division and performed at Severance Hall at the Northeast Ohio Band Invitational, sponsored by the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony, at Severance Hall in January 2018.

The musicians of the Cleveland Winds are pleased to perform in the Maltz Performing Arts Center as a part of the Silver Hall Concert Series.


Brass Choir

Duke of Marlborough Fanfare - Percy Grianger

Nimrod from Enigma Variations - Edward Elgar / Arranged by David Borsvold

Sonata Octavi Toni from Sacrae Symphoniae - Giovanni Gabrieli / Arranged by Jc Sherman

Meredith Evans
Chip Lavek
Nathanael Minor
Adam Pelkey

Lauren Hinkle
Scott McKee
Stephen Stavnicky
Matt Wirfel

Sean Bessette
Ty Deane
Ben Larson
Vincent Tapia

Bernie Williams

Ekklésia Reed Quintet

Small Chorale
Colin Holter (b. 1983)

Marc Mellits (b. 1966)
I. Scarlet Oak
III. Linden
IV. Black Ash
V. Cherry
VI. River Birch
VIII. Red Pine

Sue Keserich (oboe)
Willow DiGiacomo (clarinet)
Thomas Lempner (saxophone)
Keith Peterson (bassoon)
Travis Hogue-Smith (bass clarinet)

Neo-Tessares Saxophone Quartet

Diffusion - Gordon Goodwin (b.1954)
II. Waltz
IV. Hip Hop

Children's Songs - Chick Corea (1941-2021)
No. 3
No. 4

John Perrine - Soprano Saxophone
Josh Fern - Alto Saxophone
Allie Denham - Tenor Saxophone
Tom Lempner - Baritone Saxophone

Chamber Winds

  1. Largo - Allegro molto
  2. Menuetto - Trio I-II
  3. Adagio
  4. Menuetto (Allegretto)
  5. Romanze (Adagio - Allegretto - Adagio
  6. Theme with Variations (Andante)
  7. Finale (Molto allegro)

Stefanie Cohn
Scott Little

Bobby Davis
Jacey Kepich

Basset Horns
Willow DiGiacomo
Emilio Rosario

Ian Morin
Brendon Sill

Meredith Evans
Chip Lavek
Nathanael Minor
Adam Pelkey

String Bass
Chris Vance

Program Notes

Percy Grainger dedicated his Duke of Marlborough Fanfare to two people who greatly influenced his life. One was the great Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, who recognized Grainger’s talents and enthusiastically supported him, and the other was Miss Lucy E. Broadwood “who first revealed to me the charm of the living English folksong.” Grainger wrote this about the piece:

“My fanfare (written on March 5-6, 1939 at Coral Gables, Florida) is based on the English folksong, “The Duke of Marlborough” as collected from the singing of Mr. Henry Burstow (of Horsham, Sussex, England) one of the very finest of all English folksingers. In my setting, the tune is heard twice. The first time, it typifies the memories of long past wars, vague, far off, poetic. The second time it typifies a war in the present, fast-moving, close at hand, debonair, drastic.”

The opening French horn solo is heard again in the French horns in the Lisbon Bay movement of Grainger’s Lincolnshire Posy.

- Program Note from Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music

At the heart of Elgar’s Enigma Variations, Variation 9 to be precise, lies one of the most moving passages in all of Western Classical music. It’s a portrait of his friend, A.E. Jaeger. It’s not called ‘A.E.J’, as you might expect, but rather ‘Nimrod’. Jaeger worked for the publishing house of Novello, and was a staunch friend to the composer, in good times and in challenging ones. Elgar mentioned that the variation was a portrait of a long summer evening talk, “when my friend discoursed eloquently on the slow movements of Beethoven”. But why ‘Nimrod’? Because ‘Jaeger’ was German, and in German ‘Jaeger’ means ‘hunter’. Nimrod was the ‘mighty hunter’ mentioned in the Bible (Genesis: 10).

The 'Nimrod" variation is often performed by musical ensembles in remembrance of colleagues who have died. Today, we remember the victims of the current pandemic.

Brass players of a 'certain age' grew up on the recordings of Giovanni Gabrieli's music by the combined forces of the brass ensembles from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, and Chicago Symphony. The Sacrae Symphoniae (1597) is a collection of 63 motets, canzonas, and sonatas for various sized ensembles. While Gabrieli was not the first composer to write for antiphonal choirs, he did take complete advantage of the two opposing choir lofts in San Marco church in Venice. He pioneered the use of tiered dynamics and orchestrations for specific instruments and voices. This particular setting, by Cleveland Winds performer Jc Sherman, will take full advantage of the resonance in the Maltz Center.

Formed in 2019, ERQ became the first professional reed quintet in Ohio. Though strongly influenced by classical traditions, the quintet is open to the influence of world music, jazz, and improvisation. ERQ has premiered new works for reed quintet by local composers Buck McDaniel, Stephen Stanziano, and Jack Ballard. They are also working with composers Geoffrey Peterson, Jack Ballard, Matthew Saunders, Mark Russo, and Chris Auerbach-Brown to premiere additional new works this year.

ERQ has been featured on the cover of Ideastream’s Program Guide, WCLV 104.9FM “First Fridays” Concert Series, WRUW 91.1FM, and has performed on various university campuses, Heights Arts Gallery Concert Series, ORMACO Concert Series, and kicked off the MCAC Arts Week Virtual Concert Series.

Small Chorale was composed by Oberlin-based composer Colin Holter. Originally composed for midi, Holter arranged it for Ekklésia Reed Quintet for a more humanistic expression. According to Holter, "Small Chorale was composed by an algorithm I wrote in 2019 or 2020. Through a stroke of online luck it happened to be heard by Tom Lempner, who very generously invited me to transcribe it for saxophone quartet and reed quartet. When I think about the piece now, it's as a little emblem of the good that can—with luck—be scraped from a sobering and difficult time."

Splinter was composed by Chicago-based composer Marc Mellits. The composer writes, “I composed Splinter in 2014 for the quintet Splinter Reeds. The unique combination of this relatively new ensemble formation provided me with a wonderful palette of instruments. I was able to create sounds by using a fusion of instruments that often play together to form lines of sound within their combinations. The differing lines of the instruments fit like pieces of a puzzle and form the overall tapestry of sound—each supplying a branch or leaf to form a musical tree. Splinter is in eight short movements that work together much like a Baroque suite. Trees can be magical to me: each movement, or ‘splinter,’ can be seen coming from or inspired by a different type of tree. ‘Weeping Willow,’ for example, bends and sways in the wind, while ‘Black Ash,’ one of the first trees to lose its leaves in the fall, musically wilts.”

Children's Songs by jazz pianist Chick Corea was originally composed for keyboard for a solo keyboard album of the same name. The collection mainly consists of short songs with simple themes that resemble the miniatures of Bela Bartok in his collection of piano pieces called Mikrokosmos. There is little development in the pieces, which capture a variety of melodies and moods. Corea began writing the first song in 1971. In the preface of the annotated version Corea stated that he aimed "to convey simplicity as beauty, as represented in the Spirit of a child". The version for saxophone quartet was arranged by Rob Buckland of the Apollo Saxophone Quartet. Although there are 20 songs in the original collection, we are presenting a set of three.

Gordon L. Goodwin is an American pianist, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and conductor. He is the leader of Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band. He has won four Grammy Awards and two Daytime Emmy Awards and has received over twenty Grammy nominations for his compositions and arrangements. Goodwin composed Diffusion in four movements. The first two are classical in nature and the last two jazz-oriented and contain improvised sections. We are presenting movements two and four.

The Neo-Tessares Saxophone Quartet is currently comprised of John Perrine, Josh Fern, Allie Denham, and Tom Lempner. The quartet has been performing in the Cleveland area for over a decade. The group members are dedicated to bringing their music to traditional and untraditional spaces in order to reach a broad audience. Performances include such diverse repertoire as traditional jazz favorites, 18th-century dance music, English baroque, newly commissioned works, and more.

Even as Mozart's Serenade No. 10 in B-flat Major is his most famous work for wind ensemble, We will likely never know the exact date of composition for this serenade. Scholars have examined a wide variety of sources: Mozart’s manuscripts, the type of paper he used, his thematic catalog, works composed at the same time, correspondence between other musicians -- nothing is conclusive. We know Mozart was in his late twenties and that the piece, or part of it, may have been premiered in Vienna on March 23, 1784, given this newspaper clipping:

Today Herr Stadler senior, at present in the service of his Majesty the Emperor, will give a musical academy for his benefit in the Imperial Royal National Court Theatre, at which, among other well-chosen pieces, a large wind work of a very special kind composed by Herr Mozart will be performed.

Serenades were intended as “consumable” -- light-hearted background music quickly written with the purpose of entertainment during social events. Mozart’s serenades were obviously written with more in mind. He uses musical features more indicative of a symphony or opera. Whether Serenade in Bb premiered at the National Court Theatre or not, Mozart felt this work should not simply accompany dinner; it is deserving in its own right. Although he himself never named the work Gran Partita, that title is appropriate for this monumental composition, both in the genre of serenades and as a work strictly for winds.

Seven movements use traditional forms, interspersed with some unusual elements.

  1. Largo-Molto Allergo - A slow introduction is followed by sonata form. Main themes are introduced, developed, and then return before a concluding coda.
  2. Menuetto - The first minuet (dance in three-quarter time) has not one but two contrasting trio sections.
  3. Adagio - This lovely tune is a conversation between three soloist friends: oboe, clarinet, and bassetthorn.
  4. Menuetto - The second minuet is shorter but still with two contrasting trios. Mozart may have engaged in a playful musical pun. The second trio, like the Adagio before, uses a trio of instruments. Oboe, bassetthorn, and bassoon move in constant eighth notes, like a carousel waltz before the final stately return of the minuet.
  5. Romance - There is a fantasy-like quality to this movement. A brief adagio is interrupted by a faster and darker contrasting middle, before reflectively concluding where it began.
  6. Tema con Variazioni - The primary theme is supremely “singable.” Appearing in the clarinet (a Mozart signature), it feels very much like something from one of his symphonies. Six variations follow. The sixth moves away from the woodwind melismas of previous variations, offering a lively concluding waltz.
  7. Finale - Enjoy this happy rondo. Each time the main theme returns, it seems fuller, bolstered by the development of the contrasting section before. A coda brings a rousing end to the work.

    - Program Note by David Stanley for the University of Georgia's Hodgson Wind Ensemble concert program, 25 February 2020

Music Director

Dr. Birch Browning is Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Cleveland State University, and Music Director of the Cleveland Winds, a professional wind band based at CSU. He taught high school band and orchestra in Florida prior to earning a Ph.D. in Music Education at Florida State University. A member of the faculty at CSU since 2002, he previously taught music education courses at Stetson University and FSU.

Dr. Browning is a member of the College Band Director’s National Association Research Committee. He has presented his research findings at numerous state and national conferences, and recently presented his research on critical thinking by ensemble performers at the International Society for Music Education International Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, and the College Band Directors National Association Regional Conference. His first book, Becoming a Musician-Educator: An Orientation to Musical Pedagogy, was published by Oxford University Press in March 2017. The Cleveland Winds and ensembles from Cleveland State University can be heard on Tim Reynish's International Repertoire Recordings No. 12, available on Spotify, Apple Music, and other musical outlets.