Wind Ensemble to feature new faculty at concert

By Connor Yearsley


Monday’s Wind Ensemble concert will help prepare the ensemble for its upcoming tour as well as feature a new faculty member, Dr. Jun Qian, on clarinet.

The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Jones Concert Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building. Dr. Eric Wilson, director of bands, said he’s excited about the concert.

He said he enjoys going through a breadth of repertoire over the course of the semester, which ensures both students and audiences will experience a diversity of wind music.

“I have had some students tell me they particularly enjoy this program,” Wilson said. “There’s a lot of eclecticism.” He said the program includes some colorful, provocative pieces that explore vast soundscapes and is bookended by two more traditional pieces.

The six-piece program will begin with Yo Gotoh’s arrangement of French Romantic composer Hector Berlioz’s “Marche Hongroise” from “La Damnation de Faust.”

The concert’s program notes describe the march, composed in 1846, as “a spectacular and brilliant composition ideally suited to the medium of the wind band.”

American composer Christopher Theofanidis’ “I wander the world in a dream of my own making,” composed in 2005, will be performed next.

Theofanidis has said, “The feeling that pervades the work is one of a sense of mystery, and this sentiment is primarily conveyed through the harmonies and orchestration.” Garland senior Austin Aeschbacher said he likes this piece the best.

“The piece is full of beautiful textures and sounds the audience can easily understand,” he said.

American composer Morton Gould’s three-movement “Derivations for Clarinet and Band,” from 1955, will then shine the spotlight on Qian, assistant professor of clarinet.

The piece was written as a tribute to famous bandleader and clarinetist Benny Goodman. Wilson said it has a dance band and swing-based feel.

Aeschbacher said he thinks people will be pleasantly surprised by the piece. The world premiere of Dr. Scott McAllister’s “Gone,” from 2012, is also on the program. McAllister is professor of composition at Baylor.

“Gone” is a wind band transcription of one movement from McAllister’s clarinet concerto. It was written after a car accident ended his performing career.

He said the piece requires utmost control from the ensemble due to its quiet and introspective nature. It deals with love taken away and offers a cathartic approach to dealing with loss. Aeschbacher agreed that the piece demands a considerable amount of refinement. Wilson said it’s poignant and somber at times but suggests there’s a reason to move on and that there is a bright future. The Texas premiere of American composer Paul Dooley’s “Point Blank,” from 2012, will be next.

“We’re really excited about this piece,” Wilson said. “It’s contemporary in nature, intricate, high energy.” Wilson also described the piece as colorful, frenetic at times and palatable from an audience’s perspective. He said he thinks people will be intrigued by it.

“I think the students have enjoyed doing a piece that requires of them nontraditional techniques of playing,” he said. Wilson said “Point Blank” is challenging because it’s fast and has lots of musical changes that require the ensemble to respond quickly.

Dooley will be on campus today to offer the ensemble feedback and explain the mind behind the notes. Last on the program will be American composer William Schuman’s “Chester,” composed in 1956.

The piece is based on an anthem by William Billings, which was sung by the Continental Army during the American Revolution. The program notes attribute the piece’s longevity to its “freshness and exuberance.”

Wilson said this concert might be sentimental for the 10 ensemble members who will be student-teaching in the spring and, therefore, will be performing in their last Wind Ensemble concert.

They will be recognized from the stage.

Aeschbacher is one of those ten. Aeschbacher said he has mixed emotions about the concert.

“For me, it’s bittersweet because it’s my last concert,” he said. “But I know the group will continue to grow without me and the other student-teachers who will be leaving at the semester.”

Aeschbacher and the other nine will not be a part of the Wind Ensemble’s March tour of the South, which will end in Greensboro, North Carolina, at the 2013 College Band Directors National Association’s National Conference.

“I think the Waco society and the Baylor community need to support the musical outlets the School of Music has to offer,” he said. “It’s always exciting for the performers to play for a crowd of people.” Wilson said he hopes people come to see why the ensemble has been nationally recognized.

The concert is free and open to the public.