Illinois State University Wind Symphony Premieres Omar Thomas’ Come Sunday, November 15
The Illinois State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music invite all to the third Wind Symphony Concert of the 2018-2019 season at 8 p.m. Thursday, November 15, in the Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $6 for students (with student ID) and seniors.
The concert will feature numerous guests including Angelo Favis, Illinois State University professor of guitar, and visiting composer-in-residence Omar Thomas, visiting professor of composition at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University.
The evening will open with Stephen Goss’ new work for guitar and winds titled A Concerto of Colours. Commissioned through a consortium of university band programs of which the Illinois State University program was a member, this piece is inspired by the vivid, resonant landscape of the American Southwest, and unfolds in five short and highly contrasting movements.
Percy Grainger’s Irish Tune from County Derry is a staple of the wind band literature. The work is based on a tune collected by Miss J. Ross of New Town, Limavady, County Derry, Ireland. Known to many as “Danny Boy,” this beautiful setting of the tune was completed by the composer in 1909 in memory of the great Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.
Originally written for string quartet and djembe (an hourglass-shaped drum), John Mackey’s Strange Humors is laced with both the sultry, modal melodies of middle Eastern music as well as the rhythmic drive of African dance. Zachary Taylor will guest conduct.
Hailed by Herbie Hancock as showing “great promise as a new voice in the further development of jazz in the future,” Omar Thomas has created music extensively in the contemporary jazz ensemble idiom. His music has been performed in concert halls and on stages across the country and internationally, and the 18-piece Omar Thomas Large Ensemble, formed in 2008, has released two acclaimed albums. Thomas was named the Boston Music Awards’ “Jazz Artist of the Year” in 2012 and in 2017 and was selected from an international pool of applicants to be an artist-in-residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. He has been awarded the Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from Harvard University three times, where he served as a teaching fellow for four years.
Assistant Professor and Director of Bands Anthony C. Marinello said, “We are excited to perform the world premiere of Omar Thomas’s Come Sunday. The title is a nod to the musical and historical legacy and significance of the great Duke Ellington and is based on the traditional role the organ has played in black church services throughout the 20th century into present day. The first movement “Testimony” will be slow, harmonically rich, and heavily rubato; and the second movement “Shout” will be a driving, virtuosic “molto perpetuo,” praise break-style musical experience.”
Conducted by Marinello, the Wind Symphony is the University’s premier wind band and features the finest wind and percussion musicians on campus. The Wind Symphony has a national and international reputation for exceptional artistic achievement.
For tickets or additional information, contact the College of Fine Arts Box Office, located in the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts, open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, at (309) 438-2535, or purchase tickets online at Ticketmaster.com. Performance parking is available for free in the School Street Parking Deck in spots 250 and above, 400 West Beaufort St., Normal.