The Cleveland Connection

Join us for a concert of wind band music with a Cleveland Connection on Sunday, April 22 at 7 pm in Waetjen Auditorium. The centerpiece of the concert will be Dr. Andrew Rindfleisch's Three Lyric Songs for Solo Clarinet and Wind Ensemble with guest artist Garrick Zoeter from the Shenandoah University Conservatory.

The rest of the concert repertoire will include Aaron Copland's El Salon Mexico, transcribed by Mark Hindsley; Clare Grundman's Second American Folk Rhapsody; Clint Needham's Legacies; and Sousa's Black Horse Troop.

Dan Rager will provide the historical context and Cleveland Connection for each piece.

While we hope you will join us for the live performance, the concert will also be available online on Livestream.

Program Commentary by Dan Rager

Good evening and welcome to our ‘Home grown’ Cleveland musical connection concert. Tonight’s performance is a Potpourri of sounds and styles that have their origins in Cleveland.

Beginning with our own Cleveland Winds and their musical director Dr. Birch Browning, tonight’s spotlight will shine in all directions.

El Salon Mexico

No better place to begin our journey than with the great American composer Aaron Copland and his composition El Salon Mexico. Copland first heard this melody in a dance hall while visiting Mexico City and was so excited about it that he wrote a large orchestral composition based upon what he had heard and experienced.

His purpose was not merely to quote literally, but to heighten without falsifying the natural simplicity of the Mexican tunes. The music allows the various instruments to appear, dance-band like, in quasi-soloistic roles while the percussion includes various Latin-American instruments that add local color. The work has become standard repertoire in the symphonic orchestra medium.

Decades later, this work would become a major force in a new medium for the symphonic wind-band. This would not have been possible if it weren’t for a tremendously talented composer, arranger and conductor name Mark Hindsley. Dr. Hindsley wrote this transcription of Copland’s El Salon Mexico during the period he was Director of Instrumental Music, conductor of bands in the Cleveland Heights school system between 1929 and 1934. This wind version you are about to hear becomes the third part of our Global Instrumental Dissemination, with the original work coming from the folk music of Mexico followed by Copland’s orchestral version. This is the Cleveland Winds performing Hindsley’s wind rendition of El Salon Mexico.

Second American Folk Songs Rhapsody, Grundman

Keeping with our theme ‘Made in America’ – ‘Made in Cleveland’ connection, this next work can be traced to the founding of our country. Countless composers over the years have written music based upon old American folk songs.

Again, the music and composer are forever bound to Cleveland. Clare Grundman was born in Cleveland and graduated from Shaw High School in East Cleveland in 1930.

He composed scores for film, radio, and television, as well as orchestrations for Broadway musicals. He also wrote a few works for various chamber ensembles and for full orchestra. However, he is best known for his many compositions and arrangements for symphonic band.

At an early age, Grundman took a special interest in composing for school bands and has over 70 published wind-band compositions to his credit. Some of his notable works include his Fantasy on American Sailing Songs, Tuba Rhapsody, An Irish Rhapsody and a four-part series of American Folk Rhapsody. Today, you will hear his Second American Folk Rhapsody, which combines the tunes Billy Boy, Skip to My Lou and Shenandoah.

Grundman’s compositional style is easy to recognize. While he does not use a formula when writing, many of his works reflect his early style which include, changing or shifting meters, modulations or key changes when introducing new themes, and percussive syncopation to name a few.

The opposite from our last work which had roots in Mexico and was originally written for orchestra, this music was written for band and later had arrangements written for orchestra.

This is the original work by Clare Grundman for symphonic band titled: Second American Folk Songs Rhapsody.

Three Lyric Songs for Solo Clarinet and Wind Ensemble, Rindfleisch

Our next selection ‘Three Lyric Songs’ for clarinet and wind ensemble was composed by Dr. Andrew Rindfleisch who currently heads the music composition program at Cleveland State University. His catalog of work is vast and reflects an array of styles written for solo, chamber, vocal, orchestral, brass, wind, and choral music to name a few.

Tonight’s clarinet soloist, performing Dr. Rindfleishe’s concerto, is Garrick Zoeter. A committed teacher as well as performer, Zoeter serves as the Anna Lee Van Buren Chair in Clarinet, Coordinator of Winds and Percussion and is Associate Professor of Clarinet at Shenandoah Conservatory. We are delighted to have him perform with us this evening on this special occasion.

Three Lyric Songs was written for professor Zoeter and is a set of three expressive, yet contrasting ballads. Resisting the common approach of a technical tour de force concerto, Three Lyric Songs presents the soloist as an expressive, sometimes lonely lyricist, often winding in and out of the overall instrumental colors and timbres. "Openings" begins with the soloist alone, slowly moving into the piece, the ensemble eventually, little by little joining in, as the music eventually opens up the instrumental color that will be explored as the piece unfolds. "In-between Song" is a reference, not only to its in- between placement as the middle movement, but to the soloist's use of quarter tones ("in-between" the notes) as the expressive and timbral focus of the movement, here against a backdrop of a more transparent instrumental texture that also features the vibraphone and alto flute. Finally,"Vesper Voices" is based on an earlier chamber orchestra piece of the same title. Here, a reverent night music of quiet color, contrapuntal lines, and distant bell-like textures dominate, before the piece, led by the soloist, slowly fades away and disappears.

Please welcome our featured clarinet soloist Garrick Zoeter performing Three Lyric Songs conducted by the composer, Andrew Rindfleisch.

Continuing our theme of wind music and Cleveland identity, a short explanation will illuminate your concert experience in this medium. In the wind-band field from which we are listening to tonight, the music comes from an array of styles, backgrounds and history that in some cases, were a part of another culture and performed in a very different medium than you are experiencing tonight.

To better understand the music these musicians are going to perform, it is helpful to know some of the background history and origin.

Before we had a Cleveland musical connection, some of today’s music has had a transformation that in some cases, has come from cultures far removed from our own.

I want to begin with something I call, Global Instrumental Dissemination. This term can be defined as a reflection of musical relationships between cultures. This connection bonds the wind-band, its instruments, music and musicians together in ways no other social medium, dogmatic practice or human characteristic has done. Making music is the final means to an end.

Dissemination can be divided into three categories. Firstly, the wind-ensemble before you needs to have music written for it by composers who know the genre (instrumentation) of a particular culture. Secondly, it requires instruments from the brass, woodwind and percussion families that have often originated in geographic locations and cultures far removed from the current location of use. It, thirdly, requires people, who learn to perform on instruments for which the music was written. This final act defines and unites the social interaction of people whether they are professional or community musicians. Each culture brings to the music its own interpretation, thus melding traditional techniques, instruments and music with originality. All of these elements make the wind-band unique among the world’s art. It clearly defines it as an integral part and reflection of culture that intertwines man’s need for music.

Legacies, Clint Needham

Clint Needham was a student at the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory and wrote a work titled Legacies, which was in effect, a sentimental thought of what he might contribute to the school and leave behind, ‘his Legacy’.

The work was written for and premiered by the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory Wind Ensemble in 2003.The New York Times describes Needhams music as engaging, exhilarating and ‘wildly entertaining’.

His music has been recognized with numerous awards including the International Barlow Prize, the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, a First Prize in the International Ticheli Composition Contest, and was the recipient of a 2014 Cleveland Creative Workforce Fellowship to name a few.

He is currently Composer in residence at Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory.

Legacies is taking on a legacy of its own. It not only is performed nationally, Needham has created an orchestral version that is gaining notoriety around the country.

We are going to hear his original, for wind ensemble. This is, Clint Needham’s, ‘Legacies’.

Black Horse Troop, Sousa/Fennell

The final work on today’s program has many historical ties that represent Cleveland’s history.

To help protect the Western Reserve and Cleveland vicinity, a military guard unit was established in the mid 19th century that became known as 1st City Troop, or Troop A. The unit was stationed just down the street from here on Bolivar Rd., adjacent to Progressive Field in a large stone castle known as Gray’s Armory. Troop ‘A’ patrolled the city on big beautiful black stallion horses. The troop was placed on alert many times during the decades and protected the Cleveland shore line. The unit was officially deactivated in 1993.

What does any of this have to do with Sousa? An avid horsemen himself, John Philip Sousa loved horse riding and had connections with Troop A, and so for the units 48th anniversary celebration, Sousa wrote a march he titled The Black Horse Troop. Sousa’s band premiered the work to an overflow crowd on October 17, 1925 in Cleveland’s Public Auditorium.

Mr. Sousa was always looking to-up the ante on his premieres and this Cleveland premiere was going to be one for the ages.

While the history leading up to this march is intriguing, this is only half of the story.

The world famous conductor Frederick Fennell was in attendance on that premiere day and told of his experience. You see, the 11 year old Freddy Fennell was born in Cleveland and went to John Adam’s high school, right down the street from here. He heard a radio commercial about the upcoming concert and asked his father to take him. When they arrived, the only place remaining was standing room only near the back of the hall. During the concert, young Frederick worked his way up to the front of the stage to watch Sousa’s band perform. Little did he know, this concert would make a profound change on his life.

As the band began to perform the new march, ‘Troop A’ marched down the aisles of the auditorium and onto the stage behind the band, and marched in place while the music played. This experience brought down the house and Dr. Fennell told me years later that at that moment, he knew he too wanted to be a conductor.

This is John Philip Sousa’s ‘Black Horse Troop’ (March), edited by Frederick Fennell and performed without the black stallion horses by the Cleveland Winds, under the baton of Dr. Birch Browning.


Dan Rager is an international award-winning composer and conductor in the field of wind and orchestral music whose published work exceeds 250 compositions, recordings and books which are used in over 180 countries. He is in demand as a composer who annually conducts and provides master classes in Europe, Russia and Latin America. His accolades include awards from The American Composers Forum, The Continental Harmony Project, ASCAP, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Target Foundation, The Foundation Orchestra Association (FOA) and, the Arthur M. Kaplan Award to name a few.

His compositions have been performed and recorded by the Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Frederick Fennell Symphonic Winds, Washington Winds, Keith Brion and the New Sousa Band, Apollo String Quartet, Brandt Brass and Saratov Philharmonic Orchestra (RU), State Radio & Television Orchestra of Moscow, Omsk Academic Symphony Orchestra of Siberia, Fox Valley Symphony (WI), Volga Wind Orchestra of Saratov (RU), Amsterdam Windorchestra (NL), Marine Band of the Royal Navy (NL), Band of Buenos Aires Penitentiary Service (AR), Norway Marine Home Guard Band (NOR), Conservatory of Music Gilardo Gilardi Winds (AR) and countless ensembles world-wide. In addition, many of his compositions are on state required school contest lists’ around the United States.

Dr. Rager earned his bachelor’s & master’s degrees in theory - composition from Cleveland State University and Doctorial credentials from Boston University. In 2000, he was the first American conductor from Ohio invited to work in Russia with professional wind-bands, military and conservatory groups. In 2013, the Buenos Aires Cultural Education Association and La Association de Amigos del Conservatory de Music Gilardo Gilardi awarded him an Honorary Doctorate for his work in the field of wind-bands.

Composer Andrew Rindfleisch has enjoyed a career in music that has also included professional activity as a conductor, pianist, vocalist, record producer, radio show host, and educator. As a composer, his catalog includes over 80 works for the concert hall, including solo, chamber, vocal, orchestral, brass, wind, and choral music. His committed interest in other forms of music-making have also led him to the composition and performance of jazz and related forms of improvisation. As a conductor and producer, Mr. Rindfleisch’s commitment to contemporary music culture has brought into performance and recording over 500 works by living composers over the past 20 years. He is currently heads the music composition program at Cleveland State.

Mr. Rindfleisch is the recipient of the Rome Prize, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Aaron Copland Award, and the Koussevitzky Foundation Fellowship from the Library of Congress. Over forty other prizes and awards have followed honoring his music. He has participated in dozens of renowned music festivals and has received residency fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation (Italy), the Czech-American Institute in Prague, the Charles Ives Center for American Music,b.b and the Pierre Boulez Conductor’s Workshop at Carnegie Hall. He holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (Bachelor of Music), the New England Conservatory of Music (Master of Music), and Harvard University (PhD).

American clarinetist Garrick Zoeter’s passionate and exciting way with the clarinet has been acknowledged around the world. The Clarinet recently described his playing as, “remarkable, his tone is beautiful and he shows complete mastery of all the technical demands and effects that are required of this piece, his artistry and virtuosity are compelling. This is one of the finest clarinet performances I have reviewed.” The Washington Post recently described a performance of his with Antares as, “an utterly commanding performance, technically superb and radiant with otherworldly majesty all played with exceptional insight.”

A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Zoeter’s first serious clarinet studies were with Kenneth Lee and National Symphony Orchestra clarinetist William Wright. He received his bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School as a student of Charles Neidich and his master’s degree from Yale University as a student of David Shifrin. He made his solo debut at the age of seventeen in Weber’s Concerto No. 1 with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He has won numerous competitions including first prize in the 2002 Concert Artists Guild Competition and the 1991 International Clarinet Society International Clarinet Competition, as well as the silver medal in the 1997 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition.
A committed teacher as well as performer, Zoeter serves as theAnna Lee Van Buren Chair in Clarinet, Coordinator of Winds and Percussion and Associate Professor of Clarinet at Shenandoah Conservatory. His students include numerous competition winners and can be found performing throughout the world. While at Shenandoah he has been featured in concerto performances with the Wind Ensemble in Michael Daugherty’s “Brooklyn Bridge” and Rossini’s Introduction, Theme and Variations, and with the Symphony Orchestra in Debussy’s “Premiere Rhapsody,” Strauss’ Duet Concertino, the Copland Concerto, and the Clarinet Concerto by William Bolcom. He also performs frequently with the faculty Van Buren Wind Quintet. He formally served on the clarinet and chamber music faculty of Wesleyan University (2002 to 2007) and from 1997 to 2003 was the clarinet professor at the Festival Eleazar de Carvalho during the month of July in the city of Fortaleza, Brasil. Zoeter has recorded for the CRI, Newport Classics, Bridge, Innova, Naxos, MSR Classics, and New Focus Recordings CD labels.

Dr. Birch Browning is Associate Professor of Music Education and Director of Bands at Cleveland State University, and Music Director of the Cleveland Winds, a professional wind band based at CSU. The Cleveland Winds is the winner of The American Prize in the Band/Wind Ensemble Performance—community & school division. 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 serves as Associate Editor of OMEA’s research journal, Contributions to Music Education, and 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 Glagow, Scotland and will present additional findings at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago the coming December. His first book, Becoming a Musician-Educator: An Orientation to Musical Pedagogy, was published by Oxford University Press in March 2017.

Cleveland Winds Personnel


Jennifer Germaine-Anderson, piccolo*
Stephanie DeLine
Alicia Galluci
Erin Latham*
Chelsea McCallum*


Katie Fling*
Sue Keserich*


Ian Morin*
Phil Kish*
Evan Schultz


Jonathan Augustine*
Robert Bethea
Liz Carney
Erika Cikraji
Willow DiGiacomo
Travis Hogue, Bass Clarinet
Jacey Kepich*
Gayle Kish
Michael Komperda
Sara Marganski
Kyra Mihalski
Emilio Rosario, e-flat


Allie Denham, Tenor
John Griffin, Bari
Tom Lempner, Alto*
John Perrine, Alto*


Luke Hamilton
Scott McKee
Mary Kate McNally
Steve Stavnicky*
Jay Wardeska
Matt Wirfel*

French Horn

Meredith Evans*
Kelsey Giotta
Chip Lavek*
Ben Washburn


Ben DeLong
Dan Di Marino*
Jeff Sharoff*
Jacob Small
Bo Violette


Dennis Giotta*
Jc Sherman


Ben Helton
Bernie Williams*

String Bass

Chris Vance*


Darren Allen
Sebastian Araya
Matt Boze
David Luidens*
Luke Rinderknetch*


Eli Manos

  • Performing on Rindfleisch